At the Budget the government unveiled billions of pounds under ‘Help to Buy’ to do two things: first to try to make it easier for people to get on the property ladder, and second in the hope that would give the construction industry and therefore the economy a kick.
The problem is all too clear. One young couple, Jason and Sophie from Wakefield, have been saving and saving. But where they live in Wakefield what they describe as the kind of "decent two bed" they would like comes in at around £100, 000.
They are older than both their sets of parents were when they were able to buy for the first time but although they have managed to save several thousand pounds, they’re a long way off from the £20,000 or even £30, 000 they would need to put down a deposit. Jason says:
They are fed up, saying:
So for now they are both stuck living with their parents, counting the pennies but pretty fed up.
But the government’s plan provides an equity loan to prospective buyers who can find 5% of their house price, to make it up to a quarter of the price. And a couple of months since the first part of ‘Help to Buy’ began there is some evidence that it is starting to have an impact.
The Home Builder’s Federation says that 4,000 new homes have been reserved in just eight weeks and say the plan is off to a "flying start." Critically they also claim that the number of homes that are being built is also starting, even if slowly, to shift upwards.
But prices are also on the rise again, first time buyer deposits have gone up by 9% in the last year. The latest survey suggests nationally average prices rose by 0.4% in May.
There are fears, including from the Bank of England, that making lots of extra debt available, underwritten by the taxpayer, could lead to demand rising far faster than supply - essentially the number of people who can afford to get a mortgage may rise at a faster pace than builders start increasing the number of houses being built.
It is still way below the numbers that were built before the credit crunch, and compared with last year, the number of homes being started and completed is actually down. The danger is if demand outstrips supply significantly that prices could again spiral out of control.
We’ll be monitoring what is going on around the country as the market changes and to see how effective the government’s policy is.
In January they’ll be introducing the second part of the scheme, the ‘Mortgage Guarantee’ where buyers of properties of up to 600,000 pounds will be eligible for government backed support.
Let us know what your experiences of trying to buy your own home are by emailing email@example.com.