New applications for the Help to Buy scheme come to an end today but while most agents should be happy with what has been delivered, it is also an opportunity that was lost for thousands.
That was the message from Propertymark Chief Executive Nathan Emerson.
While the scheme has been a boon to the estate agency market it’s not been without its pitfalls – and has been a wasted opportunity for thousands of would-be homeowners.
Emerson adds: “When we last surveyed our members on Help to Buy, many felt it would have been even more effective if it was opened up to the entire market.”
He also says that there’s a school of thought which says incentivising new-builds over second-hand starter homes distorted the market, with a knock-on effect being fewer traditional chains as a result of a shortage of buyers for people looking to move up the ladder.
He says: “It’s highly likely something new will take its place, especially with creating a pathway to homeownership central to the UK Government’s levelling-up mission.
“That may end up being the revised Stamp Duty thresholds in England which will have a wider positive impact for our agents as well as their buyers and sellers at a time when the market is changing.
“The change has already been announced and the legislation introduced in Parliament, and we would want to see the new administration commit to it as soon as possible.”
Help to Buy’s unintended consequences are visible to many.
And none more so than Adam Day, Estate Agency Growth Leader at eXp UK.
He tells The Neg: “By helping people borrow more, developers have been able to hike up prices for their Help to Buy-eligible homes, artificially inflating portions of the market.
There is the possibility we could see a replacement scheme introduced in the coming months.”
“With so many changes ahead for the UK Government, there is the possibility we could see a replacement scheme introduced in the coming months. Only time will tell.”
John Doughty, financial services director at Just Mortgages New Build Division, reckons that the loss of Help to Buy will shift attention to shared ownership.
“Over the past 18 months our brokers have seen a rise in demand for shared ownership largely due to Help to Buy restrictions introduced in April 2021. Regional price caps made more people ineligible for HTB which was only available to first-time buyers.
“Demand is increasing and the government is funding shared ownership new builds through the Affordable Housing Programme pledging to create up to 90,000 new homes between 2021 and 2026.”