Londoners will witness a new era as Labour’s Sadiq Khan sweeps in to City Hall, ending two Tory terms under Boris.
Londoners have chosen Sadiq Khan as their new mayor, ushering in a big change from the Borisdom of the last eight years. The 45-year-old, Tooting-born Labour candidate promised to address the housing crisis, freeze fares on public transport, create jobs and cut pollution in the capital.
He aims to build 80,000 houses a year – and his target is that half of them must be affordable to rent or buy.
He will set up a new taskforce – Homes for Londoners – to bring together all the planning, funding and land release powers that the mayor holds, in order to reach his home-building target.
And he intends to bring in a number of measures to help tenants, whether in private or social housing, to set up a not-for-profit lettings agency for the city and to introduce landlord licensing.
Analysts believe there was always going to be a period of uncertainty following the election as the newly-elected mayor makes his intentions known, and this may impact on construction for a while.
Many say that while Khan’s theory is good, the practicalities of building so many new homes is far from easy. There is already a skills shortage in the construction industry, yet Boris Johnson, the outgoing mayor, has only averaged 23,840 new-builds each year. To more than triple that, a lot more brick-layers, plumbers, electricians and roofers will have to be found.
The availability of land is another factor. Khan believes he can free up sites belonging to Transport for London, but TfL is aiming to generate £3.4bn in non-fares commercial revenue by 2023 to reinvest in London’s transport system. Khan does not support building on the Green Belt, nor does he like tower blocks, unlike Boris who encouraged tall buildings.
But there’s no reason to expect a flood of new houses on the market just yet. Prices in central London will remain steady, and the ripple effect will continue, with buyers looking for the best commutes, or even settling for a longer journey to work. But now a new chapter awaits homeowners in the capital.
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