Help to Buy confusion puts benefit of the scheme to 2014 housing market at risk

Two months on from the introduction of the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme, our research has revealed confusion about the scheme is widespread and more needs to be done to help deliver a bottom-up recovery to a healthy housing market.


Of those first-time buyers who claim to understand phase two of the scheme, nearly a quarter (23%) wrongly think it is only for new build properties, 22% don’t realise it is available for homes up to the value of £600,000 and a third (34%) think it is just an extension of phase one of Help to Buy, the equity loan scheme.


Nearly one third (29%) of those who intend to buy in the next 12 months are first-time buyers, the highest proportion Rightmove has recorded for over three years and heading towards the 40% norm associated with a healthy housing market.  If the scheme was better understood it could help more first-time buyers satisfy their housing needs, and the ensuing chain-building momentum could help unlock the market, enabling more potential movers to trade up or downsize.


Currently on Rightmove, 92% of all properties for sale are within the potential £600,000 threshold of Help to Buy phase two, and 90% of new-builds.


The study among over 40,000 people reveals Help to Buy phase two has had an impact on people’s decisions to move.  More than one in five people (21%) are either looking to buy because of the scheme or bringing forward their plans to buy, and 5% are looking to sell.  A further 31% say they are ‘waiting to see what happens’ before buying or selling. Communicating the full benefits of phase two could help unleash this substantial ‘wait and see’ proportion into action, helping to build chains from the bottom-up and helping to unlock pent up demand.


On the confusion and the need for more first-time buyers to kick-start chains from the bottom up, Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst at Rightmove, comments:



“Although it’s still too early to judge the impact of the scheme, we anticipate that more first-time buyers getting onto the bottom rung of the housing ladder could have knock-on effects further up, helping more people to trade up and downsize.  Many have postponed their move over the last few years as either limited equity or lack of confidence has left them unable or unwilling to. This scheme has the potential to offer hope and confidence to many of these homeowners enabling them to come to market and free up some much-needed supply.


“But there’s clearly a lot more that still needs to be done to make sure the maximum number of people who could benefit directly from the scheme or its knock on effects, can do so.  A significant proportion of people say they are waiting to see what happens – but if they better understood how the wider benefits of the scheme could help them trade up or downsize it might open up more supply and lead to a healthier and more sustainable housing market. The change to the Funding for Lending scheme, coupled with the tightened rules on lending as a result of the Mortgage Market review, means fears of a bubble have been quashed further. To give first-time buyers more of a chance to get on the property ladder, and help give potential movers higher up the chain the confidence to move again, the confusion needs to be addressed.”


For more information people can visit the Help to Buy page of Rightmove at:

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/help-to-buy.html


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