Speaking at a virtual Conservative Party conference last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was ‘disgraceful’ that the number of homeowners aged under 40 had plummeted in recent years, leaving millions no option but to ‘pay through the nose’ in rent. To help transform ‘generation rent’ into ‘generation buy’, Mr Johnson announced his plans to help young homebuyers by offering 95 per cent mortgages.
‘We need now to take forward one of the key proposals of our manifesto of 2019: giving young, first-time buyers the chance to take out a long-term, fixed-rate mortgage of up to 95 per cent of the value of the home – vastly reducing the size of the deposit’
– Boris Johnson
What is generation buy?
It’s no secret that young people in the UK are struggling to get on the property ladder. While some people do prefer to privately rent due to the flexibility it offers – for many, it is the only option available at a time when house prices are at record highs.
Details of this new scheme are currently sparse and it is not yet known exactly how it will work – or when it will launch. Despite the lack of further confirmation, Mr Johnson’s proposal states that first-time buyers will be given the opportunity to take out long-term, fixed-rate mortgages of up to 95% the value of a home – meaning they would only need a 5% deposit. In short, the proportion of money needed to save in order to obtain a mortgage would be reduced significantly.
By instating this new scheme, the Government hopes to initiate the biggest expansion of home ownership since the 1980s. Regardless of the intent, there have been various critiques from the industry in regards to Mr Johnson’s proposal.
While praising the Prime Minister for his recognition of the United Kingdom’s housing affordability problem, Caitlin Wilkinson, policy manager at Generation Rent, believes that his “solution” is only encouraging young people to borrow more money and will do little to help the majority stuck in the private rented sector.
“… For those who do manage to save up for a deposit, this policy will do nothing to bring house prices down, as the Prime Minister has done nothing to increase the supply of housing.”
– Caitlin Wilkinson
Sharing the same assessment as Ms Wilkingson, Nisha Vaidya, a Mortgage Expert at Bankrate UK, told the Express: “Any plans to reform the mortgage market need to be combined with a renewed focus on increasing the supply of affordable housing that young people can access.”
Despite the negativity – last month’s announcement of the Affordable Housing Programme (AHP) offers a degree of optimism. This will provide grant funding to support the capital costs of developing economical housing for rent or sale. The Government’s housing accelerator, Homes England, will be making £7.39 billion available from April 2021 – intending to deliver up to 130,000 affordable homes outside of London by March 2026.
Will it help the housing market?
The property portal, Zoopla, conducted a recent analysis that revealed an initial post-lockdown surge among first-time buyers in mid-May. Despite the brief boom, demand from this demographic has dropped over the last two months – the blame for which has been seated at dwindling mortgage availability, with 10% or less deposit as a primary factor, as well as competition from equity-rich buyers.
The new Government plans, alongside the recent stamp duty holiday, should help further incentivise disenfranchised first time buyers. On a larger economic scale, the boost to homebuyer demand should ensure that activity remains strong and house price growth remains buoyant. The new announcements will not only maintain the health of the regular market but also potentially cause a ripple effect that will benefit sellers across the board – even at higher price tiers.
With steady activity within the market, prices will continue to increase, thus bringing further interest from foreign shores and consequently boosting the UK economy on a variety of fronts – not just through healthy property price growth.
At Targetfollow, we are pleased to see the Government acknowledge aspiring home owners and highlight the struggles many young people face when attempting to move from renting to property ownership. We believe that this new scheme will be both greatly advantageous to first time buyers and hugely beneficial to the UK economy during this difficult time.
We are currently selling several residential properties in the sought-after town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. If the Government announcements have left you considering a potential purchase – click here to view the properties currently on offer.