A third of the country opposed to Help to Buy

Michael Lloyd

November 22, 2018

A third of Britain (31.5%) is opposed to Help to Buy amid concerns it “inflates property prices”, property investment platform British Pearl has found.

Of the third who were opposed to Help to Buy, 37.5% blamed it for house price inflation, while 35.8% argued the government should instead use the cash “to build more homes”.

James Newbery, investment manager at British Pearl, said: “While there were certainly good intentions behind Help to Buy and it has helped people onto the ladder, our poll proves a significant portion of Brits are still to be sold on the scheme.

“Its merits are either not being communicated effectively enough to ‘Generation Rent’ or people are beginning to believe the scheme has become part of the problem rather than the solution.

“Public opinion is becoming jaded by a persistent lack of stock and ever-increasing property prices, so something clearly needs to be done to address Britain’s housing crisis and the country’s perception of how the government is handling it.

“Millennials — who form part of the key demographic Help to Buy was designed to give a leg up to — clearly still have a bone to pick with what’s been laid on the table for them in terms of housing options.

“The digital revolution has benefited those with the cash to spend by offering them unitised ownership and, in turn, increasingly diversified portfolios. Yet it is young people who people who feel more disconnected from property than ever as platforms like British Pearl attempt to bridge that divide.”

More than a quarter of those who disagreed (26%) claimed “it’s unnecessary and those who can’t afford to buy should rent” and 24.3% believe “the government shouldn’t interfere in the market”.

Millennials were among the least likely to be in favour of Help to Buy, while older respondents were actually more likely to support it.

Just 59.8% of 16 to 24-year-olds supported it, along with 66.7% of 25 to 34-year-olds. However, 70.1% of 45 to 54-year-olds did, as well as 73.1% of the over 55’s.

The responses show that, generally, the younger someone is, the less likely they are to trust Help to Buy, suggesting one of the main demographics Help to Buy is supposed to appeal to are the least likely to feel it would benefit them.

People in Norwich were the least likely to be in favour of the scheme, with just over half (55.1%) in favour of it. However, in Bristol, more than three quarters (75.9%) said they did support Help to Buy.

Income also impacted people’s perception, with those earning between £35,001 and £45,000 being the most likely to support Help to Buy (74.3%), while those taking home between £65,001 and £75,000 being the least likely (60.9%).

Since the first phase of Help to Buy was introduced in April 2013, the average UK property price has rocketed 36.7% from £170,335 to £232,797 in August this year.

Experts have argued the scheme has caused prices to become inflated amid intensified competition from buyers who have more cash to splash.

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