The General Election And Airspace Development

The General Election And Airspace Development The General Election And Airspace Development

If you own a property with airspace development potential, you may be wondering how the upcoming general election will impact the property market.

The electorate goes to the polls on 4 July 2024, and housing is a key campaign issue for both major parties.

Let’s look more closely at what is being promised by our politicians, and what that could mean for your property and airspace development.

Boosting housing supply

The Conservatives and Labour are both committed to boosting housing supply, with an eye to helping first-time buyers get on the property ladder. Limited stock of homes, particularly in London, is keeping both house prices and rents high.

In a recent letter to the Mayor of London, the Levelling up, Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove said:

“London’s average house prices remain the most expensive in the UK – an average of £537,000 in September 2023. The average price was over 12.5 times average earnings last year.

“London has the lowest level of home ownership in England.”

His statements paint a challenging picture for people seeking homes in the capital. So how are the two major parties planning to boost housing supply?

Here is what they’ve said previously and in their 2024 manifestos.

The Conservatives’ plans

In 2022, the Conservatives scrapped the ambitious target in their 2019 manifesto of building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s. They switched to calling that figure ‘advisory’ instead (read more here).

Now, they are planning to build 1.6m new homes over five years, according to their 2024 manifesto. They are prioritising urban and brownfield development, and raising density levels in inner London.

Read the Conservative Party manifesto here.

The Labour Party’s plans

Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer previously said that he would reinstate mandatory targets to build 300,000 homes per year under a Labour government.

In his party’s manifesto, he confirmed Labour’s goal to reform the planning system and reinstate local targets to build 1.5m new homes over five years.

The Labour party also wants to fast track the approval of brownfield sites for building and release some ‘low-quality’ greenfield sites for new homes.

Read the Labour Party manifesto here.

Housing supply and airspace development

New homes in the capital are needed more than ever, but space to build them is at a premium. Building space is exceedingly rare in Zone 1, where the average house price is close to £1.5m.

Airspace development has the potential to deliver approximately 180,000 new homes across London, according to a 2017 report. Research by property consultancy Knight Frank found that 41,000 new dwellings could be built on the rooftops within Zones 1 and 2.

London’s leading airspace experts

Upspace are specialist airspace developers with years’ of experience in the field. We work with property owners in London to develop unused space above buildings to create high-quality homes, which we retain for the private rental market.

This gives us a unique investment in the future of development, which means we will never compromise on quality or safety for the sake of short-term gains. We have more ready-to-go airspace projects than any other airspace developer in London.

Find out how you can turn space above your property into new homes for the capital by partnering with us for the development or selling the airspace lease.

Contact us to find out more

Reforms to private renting

London has the highest levels of renting in the country. While house prices are making home ownership more unattainable for the younger generation, rents have also been rising due to a combination of factors, including higher interest rates and reforms to taxes and regulations for landlords.

Many landlords have been moving over to holiday lets or selling their properties, meaning fewer rental properties on the market and more competition for renters.

Both major parties are promising reforms to the rental market, and here is where they currently stand ahead of the next general election:

Conservative Party’s plans for renters

The Conservative government’s plans for renting are no secret, detailed in the Renters (Reform) Bill, which was first revealed in 2019. The bill has been introduced to Parliament and is going through the parliamentary process.

Plans within the bill include abolishing no-fault evictions, introducing a new system of rolling tenancies, and introducing the Decent Homes Standard to the private sector for the first time.

In their 2024 manifesto, the Conservative Party say they will introduce a temporary measure that means that landlords who sell their property to the tenants will not have to pay capital gains tax.

Labour Party’s plans for renters

The Labour Party has previously promised a Renters’ Charter, which offers an end to no-fault evictions, the right for renters to have pets, to make reasonable alterations to a property, introduce a four-month notice period for landlords, and bring an end to automatic evictions for rent arrears.

Their manifesto specifically promises to ban so-called no-fault evictions and empower renters to challenge rent increases.

The rental market and Upspace

Upspace is different to many other airspace developers in that we retain the new homes for the private rental market. This lessens the risks for owners of the property, as there are no unsold units or untenanted properties left to contend with.

We have years’ of expertise in the private rental market, making us expert partners who can navigate this phase skilfully and successfully. Our homes are high-quality and compliant with the latest safety and energy-efficiency regulations.

Changes to legislation around renting won’t impact owners of the buildings being developed, because the rental stage is one that we undertake separately after the development is complete.

Holiday lets and airspace development

Holiday and Airbnb lettings have put a dent in the number of properties being let out to long-term tenants, contributing to the housing shortage in many areas, particularly tourist hot spots.

Until very recently, the favourable tax rules for short-term and holiday letting meant that many landlords were tempted over to this sector, reducing the number of properties available for long-term rental.

Our airspace developments can help to counterbalance this problem, creating new homes in the capital for residents who live and work there.

The units in our developments are rental properties that are designed to provide new homes in the capital not holiday or short-term lets. We manage these rentals, so existing residents of the building don’t need to worry about the new units being used for short-term lets.

It is worth noting that in London you cannot let out a property on Airbnb for more than 90 days a year without applying for planning permission for change of use. And in the Spring Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt scrapped tax breaks for holiday lets, in an attempt to tackle the loss of rental homes to the short-term lets sector.

Airspace development solutions for London

There clearly isn’t a quick fix for the housing shortage in the UK and London, nor is there a single solution.

Unlocking space in the capital for home building is one part of the puzzle, but it’s an important one. We believe that airspace is a smart and sustainable way to do it.

If you’d like to find out more about airspace development and how we work with property owners to create new ‘homes in the sky’ in the capital, please get in touch.

We are award-winning London airspace developers with expertise in airspace development and property rental.

You can sell your development lease for airspace and let us do the rest, or partner with us to develop the space above your property, constructing high-quality units that we manage as private rentals.

Work with Upspace

If you are new to airspace development, you can find out more about what it’s like to partner with us for rooftop construction: Airspace development client journey.

You can find out more about how leaseholders can profit from airspace developments, and whether you own the airspace above your building.

We are founder members of the Association for Rooftop and Airspace Development (ARAD), a body set up with other leading London airspace developers to promote learning, innovation and development of good practice in the industry.

We will be happy to answer your questions about rooftop construction and airspace leases and guide you through this exciting future for property development in London.

Contact us today about London airspace development


PO Box 1334


Photo credits:

Voting form photo by Alena Darmel 

Exchanging keys photo by Tara Winstead