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Competition watchdog turns attention to housing market

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Thu 02 Mar 2023

Competition watchdog turns attention to housing market

he competition watchdog is set to shine a spotlight on property, with investigations into the housebuilding market and a separate project on consumer rights for tenants.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a study that will look at how the housebuilding market is working.

The market study comes following concerns builders are not delivering the homes people need at sufficient scale or speed. 

It will seek to understand market dynamics and the process of competition at each stage of securing land for future development, obtaining planning permission and putting in place various agreements with the appropriate authorities, building the properties, and selling the them.

The document recognises that it is typically housebuilders themselves rather than estate agents selling these homes.

A separate renter-focused study by the CMA will seek to shed light on the experience of renters and explore whether more could be done to help landlords and lettings agents understand their obligations.

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, said: “The quality and cost of housing is one of the biggest issues facing the country. Over the past few years, the CMA delivered real change for leaseholders, with tens of thousands of homeowners receiving refunds after being overcharged unfair ground rents.

“With that work nearly finished, we’re now looking to probe in more detail two further areas – the housebuilding and the rental sectors.

“If there are competition issues holding back housebuilding in Britain then we need to find them. But we also need to be realistic that more competition alone won’t unlock a housebuilding boom.

“In the same vein, we want to explore the experiences people have of the rental sector and whether there are issues here that the CMA can help with.

“We will of course be guided by the evidence, but if we find competition or consumer protection concerns we are prepared to take the steps necessary to address them.”

Comments can be submitted by 20 March 2023 and the CMA will report its initial findings and proposed next steps this summer.