Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 356-359)




  356. Good morning, can I welcome you to the fourth session of the Select Committee inquiry into empty homes. Can I ask you to identify yourselves for the record.
  (Mr Williams) Good morning, Chairman. My name is Peter Williams from the Council of Mortgage Lenders and this is my colleague, Jackie Bennett.

  357. Do you want to say anything by way of introduction or are you happy to go straight to questions?
  (Mr Williams) Very happy, Chairman.

  Chairman: Thank you very much. Oona King?

Ms King

  358. The Committee has heard a range of views about what might be an appropriate vacancy rate that enables the housing market to function effectively. What is your view of an acceptable vacancy rate in the private sector?
  (Mr Williams) I do not think there is a CML position on vacancy rates. I think the historical position of vacancy rates has been about four per cent. Our sense is that with greater mobility, choice, etcetera, probably we will move to a higher vacancy rate. It is one of those topic areas where there has been remarkably little research.

  359. Obviously you would all say there are regional variations. Do you think that has to be taken into account with a vacancy rate?
  (Mr Williams) Yes, without doubt, one of the issues now is that we are getting much stronger regional and more varied local markets. The vacancy rates will vary hugely across the UK as a whole, so I am sure you are right.

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