Boris Johnson’s eight-year residency at City Hall will end in just six months’ time and fresh blood is on its way in.

In an interview posted on London Loves Business, the Conservative candidate bidding to become the next Mayor of London, shares his thoughts on how to solve the London housing crisis.

Why do you want to be mayor of London?

I love this city. I’ve been here all my life and I worry about the future. I think that if we don’t get to grips with the housing crisis, for example – I think that probably is the number one crisis – London will become a very divided and unhappy place and we’ll see that the great people who make London what it is are being priced out.

How would you solve the housing crisis?

We’re going to have to build in the region of 50,000 houses a year just to narrow the gap between supply and demand. There are loads of ideas around housing, but the bottom line is we need to build more.

How will you ensure that people can afford to buy or rent them?

You can’t artificially manage prices if the gap between supply and demand is as wide as it is today. They’re miles apart, so you do have to build more homes, and the fact is that much of the land on which we need to build those homes is already publicly-owned brownfield land, owned by TfL, the GLA, local authorities and so on. TfL actually owns the equivalent of about 16 Hyde Parks. It gives us the opportunity and the ability to be much more picky about what and how we build on that land.

How would you finance it?

I think one easy approach and one which can raise really significant sums of money is to create an investment vehicle, and an investment opportunity which is geared towards pensions funds for example, who want long-term investment. Also, we know that there’s a big appetite around the world among investment funds – banks and so on – to invest in London property. In a volatile world, it’s considered to be a relatively safe investment.

But the problem is that a lot of homes are being bought up as investments and not being lived in. That negative needs to be turned into a positive. But we can enable those outside investors and internal pension funds to invest in a development corporation that would develop on brownfield land. You get the finance you need, but also more importantly you get the homes that normal Londoners need.

What do you think about building on greenbelt land or re-classifying some greenbelt land?

I don’t think you need to. Look, we’re lucky in London in that we do have a fair bit of green space. We’ve got our Royal Parks, we’ve got a lot more besides, and I think we need to protect that. With the figures we have about the publicly available brownfield land, we can build the houses we need for at least the foreseeable future without touching the greenbelt and without having to re-define it.

What’s been the biggest surprise of your campaign so far? What have you learned that you didn’t know before?

I, er, well that’s a very good question. I think that on some issues what is surprising is that the split in London is more to do with geography than party. So you’ll find that there’s quite a big gap in relation to some policies between inner London and outer London, where you’ll find people from different parties in absolute agreement in where they are, but absolute disagreement with even their own fellow party members on things like right to buy for example. This will have a very different impact on the outer boroughs, than the impact it’s going to have on the inner boroughs, no matter how it’s shaped up.

So I suppose it’s logical, but it’s been quite an eye-opener – you know I’ve been to every borough talking to every group, talking to people from different parties. That’s something that’s come through very loud and clear.