Boom or bust? It’s hard to say. What we do know is that eco-towns and the new housing super-quango will feature prominently over the next 12 months
How’s this for a prediction? 2008 will either be the year when the housing market collapses, or it won’t. Currently the hot issue among the housing-focused is how housebuyers respond to the financial turmoil of the last few months of this year in the next few months of next.
By March we are likely to know fairly well whether we’re in for a sustained period of belt-tightening, or whether the last few months have just been an unseemly glitch.
But the current market jitters aren’t the only thing that people are interested in. Watch out for an announcement in February from government on which lucky developers are getting to build the country’s first ten eco-towns – and where.
And shortly after that, the government is scheduled to let us all know how on earth its going to try to tackle the bigger sustainability issue – how to get all new homes up to zero carbon by 2016.
At the moment it looks likely to set up a new body – like the Olympic Delivery Authority but for green homes – to guide the industry to the 2016 target.
Planning and housing legislation is also on the agenda. Separate bills are supposed to work their way through parliament by the summer; one designed to smooth the progress of major infrastructure projects, the other designed to set up the all new housing and regeneration super quango.
Called the homes and communities agency, this will start in April with the moving over of new boss Sir Bob Kerslake.
Finally, 2008 will also be a year when housing and regeneration is under unprecedented scrutiny. This is not just because of the new high-profile place it has taken in the political agenda but also because of two official investigations due to report – one by the Competition Commission into supermarkets, and one by the Office of Fair Trading into the housing market. What with these unpredictables, and the shaky market, it could either be a very good year or a very bad one. Good luck!