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Kevin Roberts: Address housing supply to help FTBs

Jake Carter

June 15, 2021

RICS buyer demand

Housing supply and affordability needs to be addressed in order to assist first-time buyers, according to Kevin Roberts, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club.

During a panel conducted by Declan Curry, ex-BBC business journalist, Roberts explained that he does not believe there is North-South divide when it comes to the issues first-time buyers face, as both parts of the country have their own difficulties.

He said: “In the South people are able to access jobs, however, property prices are unaffordable, whereas in the North properties are more affordable, but there are less jobs.”

When considering how to help first-time buyers, Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, said he does not believe the way forward is to simply build lots of properties.

Hollinrake said: “Artificial mechanisms are needed rather than increasing supply, these include the 95% Mortgage Guarantee Scheme and the First Homes scheme.”

Vicki Harris, chief commercial officer of Kensington Mortgages, said a way to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder is by encouraging more downsizing, which would free up supply.

She said: “Older couples are downsizing less, which is preventing younger larger families from purchasing bigger properties.”

Looking to the impact of stamp duty on first-time buyers, Harris believes that the housing boom would have happened regardless of the tax holiday due to pent up demand and low interest rates.

Harris added: “There is a case to be made for making the holiday permanent, although reforming I believe may be the best option.

“I would like to see the tax implications remain on properties valued over £500,000, which accounts for around half of all tax generated from Stamp Duty Land Tax.”

Josie Dent, marketing economist at Cebr, believes that a further stamp duty holiday extension could create increased revenue overall for the government.

She explained: “By extending the holiday further, or scrapping it entirely, the government could recoup lost tax as people will have more money to spend and therefore the government can enforce tax on their expenditures.”


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