House prices are continuing to rise, even if not as steeply as before the pro-Brexit vote.
In London, a first-time buyer will now need to earn an average of thirteen times their salary to be able to afford a home. As the housing crisis deepens, When You Move (opens in new tab), a platform aimed at increasing the speed and reliability of communication between agents, conveyancers and consumers, suggests concrete steps the government could be taking to make getting on the property ladder easier (or at least a possibility) for first-time buyers.
The suggestions include:
- Digitising some of the conveyancing process, including land registry records;
- Working with larger home builders to make sure that housing regeneration happens quicker;
- Testing Help to Buy schemes for relevance to the first-time buyer;
- Curtailing gazumping – or pricing out a buyer after an offer has been made – with a 'contract-ready' transaction process;
- Simplifying change of use applications, which would make it easier for developers to repurpose the acres of unused retail space currently available across the UK.
Other initiatives include shared ownership, where first time buyers can co-own with a housing association. You can buy anything from 25 to 75 per cent of the property (and rent the rest) but you're restricted to specific ones.
In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan is working on a scheme that will restrict sales of all new-build homes in the capital up to £350,000 to UK buyers for three months before any overseas marketing can be done.
The starter home initiative is a government scheme that will see 200,000 new build homes in England sold to first-time buyers with a 20 per cent discount by 2020.