Help for first-time buyers isn’t enough to conquer London market
A quarter of London boroughs have no houses available for first-time buyers using Help To Buy, while many others offer only a handful.
Of all the houses available to buy in the capital, estate agent James Pendleton has found only 603 qualifying houses – new-builds worth a maximum of £600,000 – available for sale for first-time buyers. And eight boroughs of the 32, including Camden, Hackney, and Hammersmith, have no houses at all available on the scheme.
Although there are flats on the market that do qualify, as the age of first-time buyers rises, many require a house rather than a flat as they have already started families.
Lucy Pendleton of the estate agent says: “With houses making up such a small proportion of London’s new-build property stock below the Help To Buy threshold, the reality is that families will be forced to stay in cramped and uncomfortable accommodation.”
According to figures from estate agent Savills, 25.9% of properties bought by first-time buyers in the capital this year have cost more than £500,000, up from just 8% five years ago, which means that the latest stamp duty relief changes might not be helping many London dwellers onto the property ladder.
Where can first-time buyers buy?
Earlier this year, Post Office Money ranked the major UK cities in terms of affordability, and found that Southampton came out on top, with house prices averaging £199,000 and 98% of properties considered accessible for first-time buyers. The criteria was based on the proportion of median house prices that were lower than 4.5 times the average first-time buyer’s income in each area.
The next most affordable areas for first-time buyers were Norwich, Nottingham, Liverpool, Plymouth, Manchester and Birmingham, while the least affordable area was actually Brighton, rather than London, where just 2% of properties are considered affordable and the average house price is £352,000.
Owen Woodley of Post Office Money said: “Our data shows that almost two-thirds (62%) of home sales are still in areas across the country that remain within reach for those looking to take their first steps on the property ladder, and first-time buyers can really benefit from thinking outside the box to realise their property aspirations.”
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