Affordable housing gives first time buyers a leg up

First-time buyers remain the biggest beneficiaries of affordable housing schemes, accounting for 65% of purchases over the last year, according to Halifax’s latest Affordable Housing Review.

This is significantly higher than the 40% of all home purchases made by first-time buyers over the same period. Overall, there were 14,737 purchases of homes made by all buyers under the various shared equity and shared ownership schemes in 2012/13.

The schemes have particularly helped younger buyers, with 40% of all affordable home buyers in the age band 20 to 29; a significantly higher proportion than in the market as a whole where they make up 25% of all housing sales.

However, in spite of the success of affordable housing schemes amongst this group, there is a lack of understanding of the support available to first-time buyers through the Government initiatives such as NewBuy and Help to Buy. Less than a third (30%) of 20-45 year olds have welcomed the initiatives or think they work at encouraging and helping people to get on the property ladder.

Craig McKinlay, Halifax Mortgage Director, says: “Many of the affordable home ownership schemes available have been designed specifically to help first-time buyers get on the ladder and boost new build sales. They can help people realise their ambitions to become homeowners, whilst also providing the potential to boost levels of housebuilding, which could help to alleviate housing supply issues.

“The recent introduction of the Help to Buy equity scheme may well play an important role in meeting demand by targeting all buyers, not just those buying for the first-time. The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee, to be launched in January 2014, will also extend assistance to buyers looking to purchase existing properties as well as new builds.”

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