If anyone was in any doubt that the government wants to tackle the housing crisis - or at least be seen to be tackling it - they are not now.

Liz Hamson, editor of Propety Week

After Property Week last week revealed ministers were sizing up the potential of modular housing, this week we can report that a housing package is being launched, offering billions in loans to residential developers, particularly SMEs and those using modular construction or in the PRS.

Finally, the government seems to be putting its money where its mouth is - having found its voice surprisingly quickly since the EU referendum - but could it be a case of mo money mo problems?

There are certainly some question marks over the sort of terms developers and housebuilders will be offered. The Homes and Communities Agency is overseeing the fund and, having recently met HCA officials, Troy Homes’ Richard Werth expressed concern it would place the same sort of obstacles in the way of would-be borrowers as the banks.

But the devil is in the detail and at least the government is being proactive - who would have foreseen that in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote? More importantly, it appears to be prepared to work closely with industry, in this instance the Home Builders Federation, to address the housing crisis.

Modular housing

The future’s bright, the future’s modular?

It is fair to say that in the days after Theresa May and her new entourage swept into power, many in the residential sector feared they would be seen as part of the problem rather than the solution.

In fact, they’ve found themselves dealing with a surprisingly receptive bunch of people, who are clearly also keen to engage - as the participation of the new housing and planning minister, Gavin Barwell, and London’s new deputy mayor for housing, James Murray, in this year’s RESI Conference attests.

Resi conf banner small

The will is there, but could government go further in exploring the way? The Collective’s James Scott certainly thinks so. In his comment, he argues for local authorities to get more directly involved in housebuilding again and for the return of council housing, which he contends is something the millennial generation of ‘conscious capitalists’ would embrace.

Cripes, first prefabs (sorry modular) and now council housing… takes me back to my childhood living in a council prefab (ah, happy days). But I digress.

This willingness to collaborate and facilitate housing delivery can only bode well, and RESI delegates will not just be able to glean more detail on how the new housing fund will work, they will also be able to hear more about the government’s modular housing intentions, what its aspirations are for the growing number of joint ventures between the public and private sector and, in line with the big theme of the conference, how it envisages ‘housing the next generation’.

They will also want to understand more about the impact of Brexit, of course, which is where the latest addition to our stellar line-up comes in. Former chancellor of the exchequer and fervent Brexiteer Nigel Lawson will be put on the spot by none other than Property Week columnist Steve Norris. No, I wouldn’t want to miss that either. If you haven’t booked your ticket for RESI 2016 yet, there’s still time. Just go to www.resiconf.com. You know it makes sense.