First time buyer struggles to get on the housing market

While recent changes in Stamp Duty Land Tax will benefit the first time buyer, making lower-priced property more affordable, the tax will further increase government revenue on more expensive property. Property developers and estate agents are questioning whether the current rates of stamp duty will continue after the General Election and Brexit, as they predict a resultant slow down in the sales of more expensive properties.

Home ownership fell in 2016 to 64 per cent, the lowest since 1986. The Council of Mortgage Lenders believes that the market is being driven by first-time buyers rather than investors, and that the poor supply of housing is slowing the upward mobility of buyers. However, the Local Government Association claims the reduction in home ownership is largely attributable to young people renting rather than buying, and they found that property ownership in the 25-year old bracket had fallen by 20 per cent in ten years (from 46 per cent in 1996 to 26 per cent in 2016).

Government figures show that first-time buyers getting help from their families are likely to remain at around 40 per cent until at least 2021. If economic activity weakens, this level of assistance could continue until 2040.

The deposit required to purchase a home is now around 20 per cent for first time buyers, largely because of uncertainty from mortgage lenders. There is also an increased reliance on borrowing among first time buyers whose mean income multiple has steadily increased and is now 3.42 – a rate higher than the 2007 house price boom.

Families will undoubtedly continue to be required to provide financial assistance.

For those unable to get on the property ladder, renting remains an option. However, compared to 1980, there are now 45 per cent more properties owned by private landlords and 30 per cent fewer local authority landlords.

The phased reduction on mortgage interest tax relief for buy-to-let, which began on 6th April 2017, means that interest relief will be capped at the basic rate of Income Tax (currently 20 per cent), down from the previous 40-45 per cent.

How this will reflect on the price asked of young renters, when an estimated circa 400,000 landlords enter a higher tax bracket, is yet to be seen.