The dust has well and truly settled from a budget that has been described by many in the home and building industry as a “mixed bag”. UK based homeless charity Shelter tweeted that although George Osborne’s proposals provided “a glimmer of hope for the future – there’s lots more to do.” So what does the budget mean for home buyers in 2014?
One of the key things to come out of the 2014 Budget was the extension of the government’s Help to Buy scheme. The scheme has proven to be a major success so far, and the scheme is set to continue until at least 2020.
Henry Woodcock, Principle Mortgage Consultant at IRESS said that extending Help to Buy “will continue to stimulate first-time buyer demand and underpin house building, boosting the market from the bottom up.”
Help to Buy has certainly helped to increase the demand for new homes, and has fuelled the purchase of many new builds up and down the country, in particular Scotland and the North West. More than 17,000 homes have been bought via the scheme, 88% of those were first time buyers.
Help to Buy consists of two parts – an equity loan and a mortgage guarantee. The equity loan allows buyers to pay a deposit of 5% on a new build, allowing them to take out a mortgage of up to 75% of the value of the property. The government will then make up the difference of up to 20%.
The mortgage guarantee grants lenders a guarantee against their losses if they are prepared to lend to buyers with only a small deposit.
Prime Minister David Cameron is delighted with the take up, telling the BBC “Help to Buy is a key part of our long-term economic plan, giving thousands more people the security and independence that comes from owning their own home.”
But there are some critics of the scheme who, for all its obvious successes, refuse to go away.
Some mortgage lenders have warned that Help to Buy is only a temporary solution to an on-going problem. Simon Crone, Vice President of Mortgage Insurance Europe for Genworth believes that the “more time that passes without a clear exit strategy, the more we risk a ‘cliff’ effect in two years’ time that will undermine building and home-owning ambitions.”
And the RICS believe that the problem does not lie in helping first time buyers onto the property ladder, but in creating new homes for them to buy in the first place!
The government has unveiled plans to build a new garden city at Ebbsfleet, which it is hoped will alleviate some of the need for new housing in the South East. However, RICS Chief Economist Simon Rubinsohn told The Independent newspaper, that these plans were “a drop in the ocean and do nothing to help others in the UK.”
The RICS have long called for a variety of new builds that match all the needs of our society. From private rented homes to affordable housing. Mr Rubinsohn believes that the government is being too conservative with its plans.
He said, “we need a more ambitious approach than 15,000 homes at a time. What we need is a proper political vision for garden cities and the wider economy.”
“We need over 230,000 (new homes) just to meet demand. Much more needs to be done.”
A mixed bag indeed from the new budget, and the debates over Help to Buy rage on and on. It’s clear that more work is needed from the current government to ensure that the people of Britain have new homes to live in, but the Help to Buy scheme is undoubtedly helping to open doors to first time buyers who might not otherwise have had an opportunity to own a home.
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