NAEA concerned at lack of help for first-time buyers
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is calling for more support for first-time buyers.
It says the government’s decision to remove the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers in March has “left this fragile sector with little support”.
Mark Hayward, president of the NAEA, said: “Since the economic downturn took hold in 2007, we have consistently called for increased support for first-time buyers to aid the wider recovery of the housing market.
“Assisting those seeking property at the start of the ladder could help to generate upward momentum in the market. The stamp duty holiday provided a degree of breathing space and without it the prospect of homeownership will mean more months of saving for many people.
“Although the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders have shown a 24 per cent rise in gross mortgage lending in May, this follows a very poor performance in April.
“Although the average UK house price has dropped by 3.29 per cent to £226,827 year on year, just 12,600 loans were advanced in April, down 48 per cent on March data.
“It is likely we will see lending levels continue to fluctuate in the coming months until an adequate mechanism to support the first-time buyer market is introduced and restrictive lending policies are curtailed.
Hayward suggests that if costs are stacking up, joint ownership could be an alternative option.
He said: “Increasingly, first-time buyers are buying in partnership with friends or family, which means sharing the deposit, bills and stamp duty costs as well as purchase price.
“This can prove an innovative way to overcome steep mortgage lending requirements but ensuring trust and transparency is the key to the success of this type of purchase. Both parties should sign a joint ownership agreement, clarifying exit strategies in case the circumstances of any partner change.
“These kinds of measures can certainly help to minimise costs and help first time buyers get onto the housing ladder in what is proving a very difficult market place. But what we need to see is much more commitment from the government and the major lenders to help lift the barrier house hunters trying to buy, currently face.”