View more on these topics

Housing shortage must be addressed

What a fantastic first half of the year. The market remains buoyant and latest lending figures show an upward trend. And all this despite doom mongers saying it would never last.

But they may yet prove to be right, as first-time buyer loans have plummeted this year. So who or what is responsible for maintaining the mortgage market momentum? In our cover story starting on page 40 some suggest the gap left by the so-called lost generation of first-time buyers has been filled with buy-to-let investors. While first-timers are struggling to deal with issues such as clearing student debt and saving for a deposit, investors are dipping into their equity to extend their property portfolios.

But can the blame be laid at the door of buy-to-let investors? Some say this argument is too simplistic and that far from being priced out of the market by investors, the real reasons why first-time buyer numbers have fallen are more to do with behavioural and lifestyle issues. These include people wanting the flexibility that accompanies renting rather than buying.

It’s a trend that is being seen across the board, from young first-time buyers to people in their 70s who are looking to raise cash by selling their homes and renting to help fund their retirement.

The problem with arguing that investors are taking over from first-time buyers in keeping the market momentum going is that all the attention is focussed on affordability constraints of first-timers. This is looking at the problem in a one-dimensional way which can lead to ineffective housing policies. It is a difficult time for first-time buyers but that sector of the market looks set to hold up due to parents and other members of the family helping out with deposits.

Today’s housing market is influenced by a wide range of forces and one of the most important is the lack of housing supply. But until that is addressed, buy-to-let investors look set to carry the can for the difficulties that first-time buyers face.

Recommended

The Money Centre reveals record figures for May

Buy-to-let and commercial mortgage specialists The Money Centre processed almost 181m worth of buy-to-let mortgages in May, a 61% increase on the same time last year. Based on this monthly figure, The Money Centre is on target to exceed its annual target of 2bn. These figures show a 10% production improvement from sales consultants at […]

Credit cards will pay penalty for World Cup spending spree

Grant Thornton says the World Cup has led to an unprecedented rise in personal spending, with 1m being borrowed every four minutes. The accountancy firm also says there is evidence to show that many debtors live well beyond their means. It warns that financial catastrophe can be expected when a big event – in this […]

Unity Homeloans appoints head of sales

Unity Homeloans, the lender created by intermediaries to serve the needs ofintermediaries and backed by Investec, has appointed Rob Field as head of sales.Field will be responsible for developing the business through maintaining and strengthening relationships with Unitys distributors.He joins Unity from All Types of Mortgages where he was sales manager and has more than […]

Knight Funding extends 49 application fee offer for Platform deals

Knight Funding is extending its flat rate 49 application fee and no valuation fee offer by three months to September 30 on all applications for Platform products excluding prime. Applicants would normally pay an application fee linked to the value of the property with a minimum charge of 200. The extension of Knight Fundings application […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up