First-time buyers are getting much-needed help from the government, and that’s good news to thousands who have been struggling to get their foot on the housing ladder. Are you one of them?
Even though I’ve just gone through the hellish experience of finding a new place to rent in London (it drove me to so much despair that I often resembled Edvard Munch’s The Scream), I’m packing up again.
For, joy of joys, the government is rescuing me from my tenancy hell and is going to help me find a house to buy.
David and Nick have become my very own Kirstie and Phil.
Helping first-time buyers
Of course, I’m being a bit facetious. I am genuinely enthused by the government’s latest attempt to help first-time buyers.
I’ve been stuck like a dog chasing its tail for the past couple of years, battling rising rental costs and trying to scrape together a deposit for my own home. Every time I think I’m nearing the amount needed to get a mortgage, I seem to get priced out again.
The government’s new scheme aims to change all of that. It will underwrite mortgages on new build homes, enabling first-time buyers with only a 5% deposit to own a house. It’s taking big steps to get builders constructing new homes too.
The buy-to-let problem
Nick Clegg has said the plans will ‘unstick’ the mortgage market. And it certainly has become stuck – the number of first-time buyers has fallen to its lowest level for three years.
According to the latest stats from the National Association of Estate Agents, just 16% of all new house sales in October went to first-time buyers – a drop of 6% on the previous month.
The real problem comes when buy-to-let investors, who usually have a decent flow of capital and an easier means of borrowing, snap up one- and two-bedroom houses. These are the very homes that first-time buyers can afford to buy.
In London in particular, most new builds are quickly bought up by landlords, who subsequently charge higher rent and leave people like me in that dog/tail conundrum.
The government has stated that landlords will not be allowed to participate in the new scheme and I want to see that strictly enforced – it really should be for those who want to buy a home and live in it themselves.
Buy-to-let investors have had their pick of the crop over the last few years – it’s time to let us aspiring homeowners climb the ladder.