Generation Rent 2015: Getting empty homes back on the market best supported proposal to benefit first-time buyers
19 May 2015
Generation Rent participants have given their verdict on which policy proposals during the General Election they rate most highly
Halifax’s Generation Rent Report 2015 has analysed the housing policies proposed by the political parties over the last few months to weigh up which ones would be of most benefit to young people (20-45 year olds).
The results indicate that overall the Conservative policies seem to be most in-tune with the needs of first-time buyers. However, while five of the top nine policies* were from the Conservative party, the top rated policy was put forward by the Liberal Democrats. The Liberal Democrat policy proposed increasing supply by giving greater powers to local authorities to tackle empty homes in the form of renovation and subsequent return of the property to the rental or sales markets.
New Government, New Build
Increasing the supply of housing was the overall mandate given to the incoming Government by Generation Rent participants. All pledges to build more homes and to either reserve a proportion of these homes or offer them all to first-time buyers were welcomed by the majority of respondents.
Other popular policies included the Conservative proposals to launch a new Rent to Buy scheme and a new Right to Buy scheme.
As a demand side policy the new Right to Buy scheme has received a mixed reception to date, but more than half (54%) the young people surveyed in the Generation Rent Report thought it would be of benefit to getting more people on the housing ladder.
Craig McKinlay, Mortgages Director at Halifax, said:
“Housing was a major issue during the General Election campaign and political parties of all hues acknowledged that more needs to be done to help first-time buyers. However, this now needs to translate into concrete plans during the next Parliament. By taking the most beneficial cross party policy positions according to 20-45 year olds, the Generation Rent Report has created the ‘ideal’ policy package.
“Earlier this year the independent Commission on Housing identified that we need to deliver at least 2 million homes by 2025 to meet demand. Getting empty homes back on the market and tackling the shortfall in housebuilding needs to be a political priority and requires a long-term commitment if it’s to address the shortage of supply.”
Hep to Buy and New Buy Schemes
In the first two years of the Help to Buy: Equity Loan Scheme (to 31 March 2015), 47,018 properties were bought with an equity loan. Taking this into account the Generation Rent Report 2015 found more than half of 20-45 year olds (53%) think the current Help to Buy schemes have had a positive impact, compared with 8% who think it has had a negative effect, and 39% who don’t know or are undecided.
As such , the Conservative party proposal to extend the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme for new build homes until at least 2020 was popular among first-time buyers with 56% expressing approval.
Craig McKinlay comments:
“The majority of Generation Renters participants believe Help to Buy has had a positive impact, and its good news that the schemes will be carrying on for a number of years yet. However, the fact that 39% either don’t know or are undecided demonstrates that more work is needed to educate people as to the benefits and how the schemes work.
“For our part we will continue to promote and provide these products. And as part of Lloyds Banking Group we’re committed to helping Britain prosper and to providing 1 in 4 first-time buyer and 1 in 4 new build mortgages.”