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Can mayor assist London housing?

Paul Smee MS blog

Last week we published the first of a series of new quarterly reports on lending in London.

At the same time we also released a new analysis – Housing in London: challenges and solutions.

The underlying message that filtered through both pieces was the stark difference between the housing market in London compared to the rest of the UK.

That the housing market in London has different and changing characteristics to the rest of the UK is not surprising. But with its marked price and wage differentials, its acute housing need, and its ability to draw people from across the UK and the rest of the world, create a city where housing challenges are more pronounced.

The statistics provide a fascinating picture. At 50 per cent, the level of home-ownership is the lowest in the UK, yet London accounted for 28 per cent of all the value of all first-time buyer lending in the UK over the last year. London accounts for 21 per cent of all the value of mortgage lending in the UK.

Despite higher prices and tougher affordability criteria, first-time buyers in London also put down larger deposits than elsewhere in the UK. This was largely a result of first-time buyers in London being older, receiving greater parental assistance, and earning more money. The average LTV ratio for first-time buyers remains at 75 per cent, while they also made up a larger proportion of the total mortgage market.

But as much as the London housing market differs to the UK, it still faces two familiar problems: lack of supply and affordability constraints.

Now that the Mayor is directly responsible for housing strategy and investment in London we would like to see how his finalised London Housing Strategy addresses the challenges. Lenders want to be recognised as part of the solution and are keen to work constructively with the government and the GLA.


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