Estate agency firm James Pendleton has accused developers of “wringing what profits they can from unfair sales of leasehold houses” after it found that leasehold property prices are rising faster than their freehold equivalent.
So far this year buyers have been paying 4.3% more for leasehold properties than last year, compared to a 2% rise with freehold.
Lucy Pendleton, director of James Pendleton, said: “No one buys a leasehold house out of choice and this just goes to show what can happen when there is too much competition for too few properties.
“Developers have realised the commercial value of leases and they have become a ticket for profiteers who are able to take advantage of buyers with little choice but to proceed to get their foot on the ladder.
“My added fear is that a lot of these transactions will have been made by those using the Help to Buy scheme, which means they are likely to be first-time buyers less aware of the downside of taking on open-ended leases on homes that should be freehold.”
Developers who sell homes with leases can secure recurring income on the properties.
Buyers are typically paying £256,117 for a leasehold property this year, compared to £306,557 for a freehold.