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London property market blog


/ by Sarah Walker

How will the Conservative’s election win help renters become homeowners?

Wherever you fall in the Capital’s property market ‘pecking order’, the May 2015 election saw politicians proposing housing policies that would affect us all.

But what does the Conservative’s win mean for renters like me? And will I ever be able to buy a home under the new government?

Key numbers:
• 500,000 first time buyers
• 200,000 starter homes for sale to under 40s at a 20% discount
• 400,000 homes to be built over five years
• 1.3m people given the right to buy

Historically, the Tories have often been regarded as the party for homeowners. And their flagship policy to rework Right-to-Buy, courtesy of Margaret Thatcher’s popular move from the eighties, seems to support this. Unfortunately this time, the policy has the potential to alienate young professionals and key workers who are struggling to scrape together a healthy deposit to get on the homeowner ladder. Meanwhile those in social housing snap up properties for a bargain – as much as 30% less than market value.

On a more positive note however, the new program aims to provide funding for a £1 billion brownfield regeneration scheme, which will provide a real boost for the first time buyer market.

They are also ensuring that tenants looking to buy their first home, like myself, will be in a stronger position to save an achievable deposit by introducing the Help-to-Buy ISA. Choosing to save through this scheme will allow first time buyers to receive a government bonus that represents 25% of the amount saved – this means we would receive a top up of up to £50 for every £200 saved towards a deposit, up to a maximum of £3,000. Working alongside the Help-to-Buy ISA, is the Help–to-Buy scheme, which is due to be extended until 2020. This will allow renters who are able to save at least a 5% deposit eligibility to apply for a five year interest free government loan, equivalent to 20% of a new build property’s value.

The Conservative party has made the revival of a property owning democracy a cornerstone of their manifesto, but critically, what we have yet to see is how they plan to build enough new homes to balance out the current issues with lack of supply, which will be fundamental to the affordability of property in the future.

David Cameron once said, “[it’s] the most natural instinct in the world. Owning your own home…” – and it looks like only time will tell whether the Conservatives are able to deliver the home ownership revolution they have promised, and whether I’ll be able to afford my own home after all.

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Sarah Walker

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