Brokenshire to take on broken housing market
James Brokenshire has been named the new secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, after Sajid Javid left the post to become the new home secretary.
Mr Javid was promoted following the resignation of Amber Rudd over the windrush affair, and while much of the immediate attention will be focused on the political fallout of that situation, the housing and property sector will be keen to see what Mr Brokenshire will do in his new role.
Following his appointment, Mr Brokenshire tweeted: "Honoured to have been asked by the prime minister to serve as secretary of state at the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government. Looking forward to taking the government’s agenda forward especially on building the homes our country needs."
Nothing in that statement suggested any significant change in housing policy, although this is only to be expected.
Indeed, it might be argued that Mr Javid's time in the post was a success, as the most important statistic - the number of homes actually being built - passed the 200,000 a year mark last year for the first time since the financial crisis. At 217,000, it was one of the highest totals in three decades.
Mr Brokenshire will doubtless seek to make further progress, not least with the government aiming to raise housebuilding numbers further to 300,000 a year by the mid 2020s. If this target is achieved, it would represent the most prolific housebuilding rates since the 1950s and could make a major difference in meeting the varied housing needs of the population.
The role of private rental schemes in all this may be developed further as government policy evolves, particularly in areas of the country where this is already a major feature of the mix, such as London. As an MP in the capital - albeit its out fringes in Old Bexley and Sidcup - Mr Brokenshire may be very aware of this, not least as Outer London is increasingly seeing rental developments such as the One Lansdowne Place skyscraper in Croydon.