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MP wants government strategy to refocus property market on first-time buyers

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  • 10/07/2017
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MP wants government strategy to refocus property market on first-time buyers
Despite recent changes, the property market remains skewed in favour of buy-to-let investment, disadvantaging first-time buyers, according to one Conservative MP.

Writing in The Times, Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover & Deal, said: “Steps taken through the government’s Help to Buy schemes have helped. But it is not enough. We do not need less help for young people, we need more: help to access finance and level the regulatory playing field so that people buying a second home for renting do not get a better deal than those trying to get their first foot on the housing ladder.”

Elphicke said property ownership in the 16 to 24-year-old age group had fallen from 23% in 2001, to less than 10% today. He also said that property ownership had almost halved in the same period for 25 to 34-year-olds. He added: “Too much of new housing supply has gone to landlords rather than owner-occupiers. It has all been about build to rent rather than build to own.”

Michael Lawlor, mortgage adviser at Mortgage Advice Bureau, accepted things had been in favour of landlords in previous years. He said: “I am heavily involved in buy to let. In the year before the tax year just gone, we had a gold rush up to the April and I was coming in every day to a couple of phone calls from clients saying they had found a buy-to-let property and wanted a mortgage.”

Lawlor says the changes introduced by the government have made a difference, but believes more could still be done.

He added: “It has gone completely the other way and people are not buying buy-to-let properties like they were. That has generated a fall in income for me, but as someone who has got two young children, I do believe we need to do more to make sure they will be able to get onto the housing ladder.”

Looking at possible solutions, he continued: “Something like not charging first-time buyers Stamp Duty, would really help them and make it easier to get onto the ladder. Anything we can do to reduce the barriers to entry will help. The difficulty is the relationship between property prices and salaries and keeping them in a workable ratio. Doing this effectively is very complex.”

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