New Help to Buy Scheme Comment by James Thomson, CEO

30 October 2018

"Governments have come a long way since 2010 in recognising that a healthy housing market requires choice. The call from the Letwin Review for diversity of tenure on large housing developments is reflected in the range of options supported by this Budget.

Help to Buy needed refining to focus resources on homes that are affordable for the first-time buyers who have fewest options. That is what the Chancellor has achieved.

Home builders will welcome the clarity and certainty given by the 2023 end date. Many of them, used to building in expensive regional city centres, will have to rise to the challenge of securing land in more affordable areas if they want to continue offering Help to Buy. Even those of us already focused on building houses in lower value areas might need to consider the mix of homes being offered.

Help to Buy’s days might be numbered, especially for existing home owners, but shared ownership has proved to have great staying power. Bringing it into line with outright home ownership by axing stamp duty on homes worth up to £500k just demonstrates how part-rent part-buy has matured and is increasingly becoming part of the mainstream as an option for homebuyers.

If we want to achieve diversity in the housing market, we need a greater range of organisations delivering homes and in a greater range of tenures. That’s why it is so important that local authorities are being empowered through removal of the HRA borrowing cap. This promises additional supply, largely of homes for social and affordable rent."

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