Report highlights low number of first time buyers in UK housing market

Taylor Scott International News

First time buyer numbers in the UK remain 2.2 million behind where they should be given demographic trends despite significant government investment in home ownership, according to a new report. The report from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLS) suggests that it means that current policy behind interventions in the housing market is missing the mark but they are likely to remain priorities for any new government that emerges in the post-Brexit political environment. The report finds that government investment in home ownership, including through the 15 different Own Your Own Home schemes currently on offer, is yet to have the desired upward effect on home ownership levels. Schemes including the Help to Buy ISA and the Starter Homes Scheme are designed to boost home ownership. They will also expand a demographic that has traditionally voted for the Conservative party, the report points out. At the 2015 General Election, 46% of outright owners and 39% of mortgaged home owners voted Conservative against 28% of private tenants and only 18% of social tenants, meaning homeowners remain a vital demographic for the Conservatives. This approach of extending support to help first timers get on the property ladder is partly being funded by the Conservatives’ second major intervention in the housing market, managing demand through the introduction of extra tax on buy to let and second home purchases. The report explains that the Exchequer is set to raise around £1.7 billion a year from these new taxes, although spending on home ownership far exceeds these costs and the latest UK Housing Review research from the Centre for Housing Policy estimates Government spending on home ownership in England through grants, guarantees and loans will total £40 billion over 2015 to 2021, equivalent to over £6.6 billion a year. But despite Government efforts to bolster home ownership, first time buyer numbers are still tracking lower than expected. The IMLA report finds that between 2007 and 2015 the number of first time buyers in the UK was some 2.2 million lower than past demographic trends suggested it should have been. The report also points out that so far some 90,000 new home sales have been made under the Help to Buy equity loan, NewBuy and FirstBuy schemes and a further 74,000 mortgages have been completed with the support of the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme but the government has failed to reverse the decline in home ownership. Indeed, between 2010 and 201, the latest year for which data is available, the number of owner occupied homes in the UK fell by 270,000. This decline may now be stalling as the latest English Housing Survey showed no change in owner occupation rates between 2013/2014 and 2014/2015, but there is yet to be any increase in home ownership levels. The IMLA’s analysis of data from the Building Societies Association (BSA) suggests more people worry about accessing a mortgage than affording one. In research conducted in March 2016… Taylor Scott International

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