Londoners will go to the polls next month with housing seen as the biggest issue amongst many voters.
Property finance experts have called on the next mayor of London to put more pragmatic solutions forward as they attempt to tackle the capital’s housing crisis.
Zac Goldsmith has revealed he wants to build 50,000 London homes a year while Sadiq Khan wants to put an end to what he called the ‘Tory housing crisis’ and build more affordable homes for Londoners.
Bob Sturges, Head of PR and Communications at Fortwell Capital, said that both Goldsmith and Khan were saying good things but there were flaws in their plans.
“Goldsmith is big on defending the Green Belt - which is vital - and believes regeneration is the way forward, but his comments regarding diverting cash from overseas investors into house building could deter incoming investment if handled clumsily.
"Khan is staking his campaign on a pledge to 'put Londoners first' by building more affordable housing while giving locals first call ahead of foreign investors.
“Fine, but who's going to build the massive amount of 'affordable housing' necessary to meet his plans?
"Whoever is elected, they need to drop the rhetoric and take decisive steps.
“This requires sensible co-operation between all agencies involved and the establishment of a fast-moving executive to get things done.”
Ashley Ilsen, Head of Lending at Regentsmead, felt that neither of Khan or Goldsmith’s policies were going to make any significant headway.
“More creative and pragmatic solutions need to be put forward as otherwise we are going to see more of the same.
“Prices will continue to be more out of kilter with wages and I think the gap between property owners and those who don’t own property will continue to get bigger if things stay the same.
“The targets banded around for new housing are, in my opinion, unrealistic given the constraints of planning and the general attitude existing homeowners have towards new building happening in their area.
“More schemes such as permitted development and unlocking public land will help but we need an overhaul of the current system on both the supply and the demand side if we are going to make any genuine progression.”
The team at Imperial Blue Finance debated the issue and felt that councils should be advised by the new mayor to develop their own schemes.
“Not only do councils have a longer term revenue generation opportunity if they developed out their own schemes, they would also be able to provide more affordable housing within their schemes to directly benefit their local residents, without having to sacrifice as much.
“Asking developers to purchase these schemes and include affordable housing on it is like asking a car manufacturer to sell half of their cars for 75% because not everyone can buy them, but asking the manufacturer to foot the bill themselves.
“It wouldn’t work in any other industry, so why should developers be forced to do so?”
Scott Marshall, Director at Roma Finance, felt the battle would come down to their plans for affordable housing.
“With the average house price in London topping £500,000, this is simply not 'affordable' to young people, but neither candidate can afford to just accept generation rent is here to stay.
“What they do about this could hold the key to office."
Luis McBrair of Adapt Finance nailed his colours firmly to the mast and backed the Conservative candidate for the position.
“I believe the best candidate is Zac Goldsmith from the Conservative party as he believes in channeling foreign investment into the development and building of new sights creating new housing, arguably for the wealthy.
“However he also intends to regenerate current housing estates for council tenants making more and better quality social housing.”
Bob concluded by saying: "The new mayor needs also to work with central government and the immigration authorities to disperse new arrivals away from the metropolis and to other areas.
“No one has an automatic 'right' to live in London; and the capital's resources are not infinite.
"Whatever the electoral outcome, I can't help but fear we will be asking the same question about housing in London three, four, five years hence."