What was the housing market like for our political party leaders when they first bought their first homes? Rightmove exclusively interviewed the Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems leaders in an attempt to find out what their intentions, promises and general attitudes are if they are successful in the 2015 general election. As anticipated, some answers were a repetition of what has been brandished throughout the media during the run up to 7th May; but amusingly some forthright questions were also asked, giving us an insight into each of the leaders' backgrounds and private lives.
Each leader was asked exactly the same questions encompassing sales, renting and happiness.
If you were to combine all of their answers into one sentence, it would look a little like this:
"Pipedream, you have to use it or lose it, in a way that is fair"
Of course this doesn't make sense as this is a combination of their answers to a question asked by Rightmove; but interestingly the breakdown can tell you a lot about the attitude of each party.
This is a conservative answer by Prime Minister David Cameron in relation to the difficulties first-time buyers are faced with. Cameron intends to further the Help-to-Buy scheme by developing an ISA which will give young savers a “(…) 25 per cent bonus on a final savings balance to contribute towards their first home (…)”. Along with this, Cameron intends on furthering the affordable housing plans by delivering 275,000 new homes in the next parliament.
This provocative statement was made by Labour leader Ed Miliband regarding the development of new housing and the developers who are seen to be hoarding land in a bid for the value to rise. The party pledges to create a 'Future Homes Fund' which will mean that billions of pounds saved in the Help-to-Buy ISAs will be invested in increasing housing supply. By 2020 Labour will have presided over the construction of at least 20,000 new homes, according to Miliband.
Nick Clegg's greatest challenge from his point of view is to fix the economy, but in a way that is fair. His aim is for a strong economy, meaning more house building, and essentially more money in people’s pockets to pay for their mortgage or rent. His passion radiates around the generation that is currently being squeezed out of the housing market and he wants to see 300,000 new homes as well as 10 new Garden Cities built. Rent-to-Own is also a pledge being made by the Lib Dems to help those who cannot afford a deposit.
There is definitely a mutual feeling across all parties that something has to be done about letting and renting. The fear of red tape and unnecessary regulations is a concern of David Cameron's due to the predicament renters would subsequently face, without forgetting assistance to reduce agency fees and a new code of practice for landlords and the ability for councils to target rogues.
Labour understands that renters need more stability to avoid fluctuating costs year-on-year and guarantees to introduce three year tenancies with a ceiling on excessive rent increases. Miliband has also stated that they will ban letting fees charged by agents.
Like with sales, the Liberal Democrats are focusing on fairness when they talk about the future of renting, with a particular focus on complaints and repair requests by tenants and legislation to end revenge evictions.
A bizarre twist on the interviews saw Rightmove asking the leaders: “what is your happy?” We'd love to report to you that they offered crazy, personal answers, but actually they were just as ordinary as you'd expect. David Cameron kept it simple by saying walking in the countryside with his family – a little unimaginative but hey, we're not complaining. Ed Miliband followed suit by expressing his happiness in walking the kids to school and telling them the same stories his Dad told him. Although his description is ever so tender, we can't help but question what the reality actually looks like! Nick Clegg attempted some humour with his answer by asking for as many Lib Dem MPs to be elected on 7th May; his actual answer, however, was rather concise, indicating that he is happiest when with his other half at home. He also managed to relate to the population by suggesting that his answer would surely be the same as most working couples.
To conclude the interviews, each leader was asked:
What's your favourite room in your house and why?
The kitchen took top spot as both Cameron and Clegg expressed their delight at spending time with their family in this room, particularly cooking and relaxing. Miliband, however, stated that the bedroom was his favourite room because sleep is very important during the campaign season. Take from that what you will!