David Miles, Chief Economist at Morgan Stanley, said: "Reduced loan to values will bring about an increase in the age of the average first time buyer, as we return to a culture of saving for deposits. This will probably mean that the private rental sector will need to expand through private buy-to-let landlords or professional investors."
John Heron, Managing Director of Paragon Mortgages, said: "The small-scale private landlord remains critical for supply and will drive rental sector expansion over the next five years. The Government must show its support for the industry by ensuring that any measures to support struggling property owners, such as the new Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, apply to landlords as well as owner occupiers."
Keshav Thukaram, Managing Director of sponsor Smartlandlord.co.uk, underlined the importance of attracting new investors to the sector: "Falling interest rates and prices have made it increasingly possible for much needed buy-to-let landlords to enter the market."
One member of the panel called upon the Government to aid recovery by being flexible in its housebuilding targets, which are looking increasingly difficult to meet.
Kate Barker, MPC member and author of the 2004 Review of Housing Supply, said: "The existing target of three million new homes by 2020 is incredibly difficult to meet. When the housing industry was booming, we still only achieved around 200,000 additions to the housing stock in one year, which raises the prospect of prices rising sharply again in the future.
"Going forward, local authorities will need to be more flexible on planning policy and be capable of processing planning applications more quickly when demand returns."
Grenville Turner, Chief Executive of Countrywide, reiterated calls for a rethink of Government targets
"Housebuilding targets have motivated the wrong kind of behaviour, resulting in a distorted mix of new homes and an oversupply of apartments in particular," he said.
Meanwhile, a sizeable 70% of delegates voted in favour of Homes Information Packs (HIPs) being adapted and improved, rather than scrapped entirely, in a straw poll.
The panel unanimously agreed that while HIPs had been poorly implemented, they should not be completely cast out should the Conservatives, who are fully committed to scrapping HIPs, win the next election.
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