Conservative London Mayor candidate vows to double house-building

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Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate for London Mayor, has vowed to double house-building in the capital.

Housing has become a central issue for the London contest, as the capital city’s population continues to boom and prices continue to climb. This week, a studio in Clapton sold for £79,000, earning it the unofficial title of the cheapest flat in London.

The advert described the tiny studio as “an exceptionally rare opportunity for a first-time buyer, landlord or commuter seeking a bolthole to purchase a property in a desirable part of London for the same price as a high-end family car”.

According to Rightmove, most property sales in Croydon last year involved flats which sold for on average £243,205.

Goldsmith has pledged to ensure that homes are built at a rate of 50,000 a year by 2020 – more than double the 21,350 built in the year to September 2015.

Labour’s rival candidate, Sadiq Khan, has pledged a minimum of 80,000 new homes a year.

Goldsmith has promised to reserve “a significant roportion” of new homes for rent and not for purchase, as renters in the city continue to feel the squeeze of affordability, but Seema Malhotra, Labour MP for Feltham and Heston, told the BBC his plan was “lightweight… which doesn’t even mention business, affordable housing, the soaring cost of transport, low pay, or health”.

Goldsmith’s focus on housing follows a similar emphasis placed upon building by outgoing Mayor Boris Johnson, who has seen 90,000 affordable homes built by City Hall during his time in office – claiming more have been completed in 2015 than in any year since 1981 – although there has been controversy surrounding his definition of “affordable”.

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