Number of London Help to Buy homes falls off a cliff

Michael Lloyd

March 11, 2019

The number of properties available in London under Help to Buy scheme has declined by 64.3% since 2017, modular homes provider Project Etopia has found.

The number of properties available under Help to Buy in London has fallen to 1,619 from 4,535 in December 20171.

At the end of 2017, houses available under Help to Buy were extinct in a quarter of all London boroughs but that has now risen to nearly half, 15 boroughs.

Joseph Daniels, chief executive of Project Etopia, said: “It’s all very well giving buyers a leg up but it’s no good if the properties aren’t there in the first place.

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

“The gradual extinction of Help to Buy 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 Help To Buy now extinct in half of London boroughs, pushing overwhelming demand into other boroughs or forcing people out of the capital altogether.”

The area worst affected by a shortage of Help to Buy properties is Hammersmith & Fulham where, at the time of the study, there was only one property left, a £595,000 one bedroom flat.

Among the boroughs with the lowest number of Help to Buy homes available, Kensington and Chelsea has three, and Westminster has four.

House building statistics appear to show that the Help to Buy drought is purely due to developers not being able to keep up with demand.

The number of houses completed in London by private developers remained stable in the past 12 months at 17,430, Q4 2017 to Q3 2018. This was only marginally down on the 17,770 completions in the previous 12 months.

Over the same period, the number of properties bought in London with Help to Buy has risen 23.7% in a year to 5,156 in the 12 months to September 2018.

In total, 20 out of 32 boroughs have fewer than 50 Help to Buy properties for sale, compared to seven in 2017. Houses make up just 5.4% of the overall stock across the capital, declining from 13.3% of all Help to Buy properties in London in December 2017.

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