Young people find it difficult to obtain housing because it is so expensive. This is because demand is rising much faster than supply. People live longer and occupy housing for longer. An increasing proportion of people choose to live singly, and immigrants add to the population. All these factors increase demand, but planning regulations prevent a corresponding increase in supply. More homes are needed, and it should be made easier to build them, and to build ones suitable for young people. Parts of the green belt are by no means green. Agricultural land around cities is often given over to monoculture with quantities of fertilzers and pesticides poured into it to grow huge fields of a single crop, resulting in poor habitat for birds or small mammals.
One solution would be for government to buy chunks of agricultural land around cities. They would do so at the market prices for agricultural land, or slightly above, and from farmers willing to sell. Government would then re-zone the land as suitable for building, and sell it, again at market prices, to developers. Since land that can be built upon sells for many multiples of the price of farmland, government will make huge change-of-use gains.
The sale of large blocks of such land will lower the price of building land. The hundreds of thousands of extra houses built upon it will lower the price of housing as the supply more than keeps pace with demand. Government could designate a proportion of the new homes specifically for young people.
The result would be extra housing where people wanted it to be, on the edges of cities instead of beyond the green belt. Much of it would be more affordable to young people, who would then be able to live closer to where they work, without having to pay exorbitant housing costs. With more young people finding it easier to buy homes, the pressure on rental properties would decrease, lowering the living costs of those who choose to remain and rent properties within the cities.
The programme of building such housing would boost employment, creating tens of thousands of extra jobs, including jobs for young people. It would give the economy a significant boost. More to the point, it would solve one of the most serious problems faced by young people today.