London HTB properties undergoing “gradual extinction”: Project Etopia

Data collected by Project Etopia shows that the number of properties listed for sale in London under the government’s Help to Buy scheme has fallen by 64 per cent since 2017.

The report shows that 20 of the 32 London boroughs have less then 50 HTB properties listed for sale, and houses are ‘extinct’ in 15 boroughs.

The number of properties available under the scheme in London has declined from a total of 4,535 in December 2017, to 1,619.

The borough with the least number of available HTB properties as of February 2019 is Hammersmith and Fulham, which has one property on the market. This is followed by Kensington and Chelsea with three, and Westminster which has four.

However, the number of houses completed in London by private developers remained stable, Project Etopia says.

Between Q4 2017 and Q3 2018 there were 17,770 properties built, up slightly from 17,430 recorded between 2016 Q4 and 2017 Q3, leading Project Etopia to suggest that developers are simply not keeping up with demand.

Over the same time period, the number of properties bought in London under the HTB scheme has risen 23.7 per cent to a total of 5,156.

Project Etopia chief executive Joseph Daniels comments: “It is all very well giving buyers a leg up but it is no good if the properties are not there in the first place.

“Building rates in the capital are relatively stable but the popularity of HTB is surging and developers just cannot keep up with demand.

“The gradual extinction of HTB homes in London demonstrates that interest-free government loans are not the answer to the housing crisis.

“Only rapid house building on a large scale and innovative ideas, including modular construction, will prove to be a lasting antidote.

“Families are being particularly hard hit, with houses available under HTB now extinct in half of London boroughs, pushing overwhelming demand into other boroughs or forcing people out of the capital altogether.”

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