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It has been one of the major election issues for people in London and the surrounding Home Counties, particularly those trying to get onto the housing market for the first time. Surging prices mean that the average cost of a terraced house in Essex is in excess of £214,000 and one bedroom flats are going for £120,000. For a young couple on an average wage, it often seems the chances of affording their own home is disappearing with every day that passes.
With different parties coming up with different solutions, most do agree that the crux of the problem is that not enough new houses are being built. The rise in prices in the South, particularly in areas such as Essex, has seen many of those who want to get on the property ladder frustrated and angry with how they are being squeezed out of the market. And, now that we have a majority Conservative government in place, there is concern amongst those trying to get onto the market that prices are set to rise even more.
As the main issue is the number of properties being built, the Government has committed to building 200,000 new homes over the next 5 years. The trouble is that this may well take some time to get moving before people start seeing the benefits. It also largely depends on the right land becoming available. If this policy does come to fruition however, it will allow many new buyers to get on the housing ladder for the first time, especially if those properties are sold at a discount for first timers.
The other main policy promise that was made before May 7th was that the government would give a 20% mortgage discount for those under 40 looking to buy a property. David Cameron expressed his concern over the number of working age adults still living with their parents and unable to afford to move out. This is why the discount policy may well have appealed to those between 20 and 40 and led them to vote in the Government. Combined with the building of new homes it certainly promises a more attractive future for home buyers.
The Conservatives have already done some work to alleviate the pressure on those hoping to purchase a home for the first time or move to a new property by abolishing stamp duty for all but the very rich which can save several thousand pounds. The Government are also committed to the concept of right to buy for tenants and have vowed to roll this out to social housing. On the face of it, this seems like a good idea but there are some industry experts who think this may be difficult to enforce. If it does work it will allow over a million Housing Association tenants to buy their own property at a significant discount.
There’s no doubt that the future of housing remains the main issue for many people whether they currently own or are looking to buy their first place. It remains to be seen how the Government’s future policy implementation will improve the lot of those living in areas such as Essex and the Home Counties and whether that makes it more likely for new buyers to get on the housing ladder.