Housing market facing "a perfect storm"

ITV Tonight: The Property Trap
ITV Tonight: The Property Trap Credit: Tonight

Britain's housing market is facing a "perfect storm" with potential buyers and sellers left in limbo and property prices flat lining, ITV’s Tonight programme has been told.

It is five years since the UK was hit by a credit crunch that has strangled Britain’s housing market.

Since then, despite house prices that are barely moving and some mortgages that have never been cheaper, millions of people are finding it almost impossible to buy or sell.

The sorry story starts with people who are desperate to get a first foot on the ladder - people like Brighton newlyweds Ivan and Lauren Pinney.

In a time of sky-high rents, the only conceivable way these wanna-be first time buyers can save for a deposit, is to give up their rented flat and become "boomerang kids".

They are among a growing generation of young adults who have moved back to mum and dad’s to save cash.

Ivan explains:

The plan is to save £20,000 over two years which was completely out of the realms of reality when we were staying in rented accommodation.

But they are not the only type of household who are facing a long wait.

For those lucky enough to own their first home, the next crucial step in a healthy flourishing property market is to move to a bigger and better second home.

But the statistics confirm that some 60 per cent of people wanting to move up have been stuck for more than a year.

That is no surprise to Matthew Hope and his partner Ann Harland who are trying to sell the cramped two-bed starter home they share with kids Amy and Ellis.

Matthew Hope and his partner
Matthew Hope and his partner Credit: ITV Tonight

Their home - at a rock bottom price of £104,500 - has been on the market for three years.

Matthew explains:

I put my house on the market thinking that someone would have my arm off for it. I thought that someone would come along pretty much straight away, walk through the door and say I love it.

They have dropped the price so much that they'll have no equity and no deposit for that bigger second home.

Matthew says: "The way I see it at the moment were back at square one."

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter
Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter Credit: ITV Tonight

One problem is that for the first time in a generation, there are more sellers wanting to trade down than buyers wanting to move up the chain.

That is also hampering people who want to downsize.

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter warns: "We are seeing almost the perfect storm of the housing crisis happening now."

Housing Minister Mark Prisk sees the problem as an economic and a personal challenge for government, but says that headway is being made.

Mark Prisk MP, Housing Minister
Housing Minister Mark Prisk Credit: ITV Tonight

This Autumn if people are looking a buying or renting they need to take another look at the market because I know the last few years have been very difficult and I know how distressing that is for individuals and families.

I think the market is beginning to turn.

– Housing Minister Mark Prisk

The Government has announced two new schemes to help house buyers - the FirstBuy and NewBuy schemes which are designed to help thousands back into the market by offering homes with five percent deposits.

But some experts fear that the current housing market may be the new norm.

Miles Shipside of Rightmove says: "I suspect that this downturn is going to have long lasting effects."

Campbell Robb adds: "For millions of people in this country, owning their own home is now just a pipedream."

Tonight: The Property Trap, ITV1 at 7.30pm

USEFUL LINKS:

New Buy - help overcoming the deposit gap for new homes

FirstBuy - home ownership scheme

Shelter - is buying a home out of reach?