Starmer promises to get 1.5 million more households on the property ladder

Sir Keir Starmer has promised to make owning a home a reality for another 1.5 million households, branding Labour “the party of home ownership in Britain today”.

The Labour leader said he wanted to see 70% of households own their own homes and appeared to back more housebuilding in his speech to the Labour Party conference on Tuesday.

After years of rising home ownership, he warned that “under the Tories, the dream of owning your own home is slipping away for too many”.

Reaching 70% home ownership would mean an increase from 65% today and a return to levels last seen in 2003.

Sir Keir said: “My message is this: if you’re grafting every hour to buy your own home, Labour is on your side. Labour is the party of home ownership in Britain today.”

Although the Labour leader did not detail specific policies, he suggested Labour would look to reform the planning system to increase housebuilding, saying: “If you keep inflating demand without increasing supply, house prices will only rise.”

Labour Party Conference 2022
Party leader Sir Keir Starmer makes his keynote address during the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

He said: “We will set a new target – 70% home ownership – and we will meet it with a new set of political choices, a Labour set of political choices.

“No more buy-to-let landlords or second homeowners getting in first. We will back working people’s aspiration, help first-time buyers onto the ladder with a new mortgage guarantee scheme, reform planning so speculators can’t stop communities getting shovels in the ground.”

The party has also pledged to increase stamp duty for foreign buyers to prevent overseas investors buying up property and pricing out British households.

Sir Keir’s proposal were welcomed by the National Association of Property Buyers, which represents companies in the quick house buying industry and warned prior to Tuesday’s speech that house prices were already rising again following the cut in stamp duty announced on Friday.

NAPB spokesperson Jonathan Rolande said: “We support Labour’s pledging to build more property and their idea to give first time buyers first refusal on new builds in their area is a pledge that’s bound to be popular.

“The fact overseas buyers will also face a further increase in stamp duty will help level the playing field for local owner occupiers.

“Both of these pledges will be popular with voters fed up with being priced out of homes in their area as they just cannot compete with buy to let or foreign buyers.”

He added: “However, there is still a chronic shortage of property being built – something that will need to be addressed to truly solve the crisis.

“Mr Starmer must also consider whether housebuilders will be quite as enthusiastic – the consequence of reducing the number of potential buyers will suppress prices and dent their profits.”