22 Oct Planning restrictions and first time buyers
As one of the leading estate agents in Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding areas, we feel it is our duty to keep an eye on the markets around the country. We tend to be affected by the London market more than you might realise but as a commuter town, we have to look at what is happening in the Capital in order to brace ourselves for a possible influx of people looking for properties in our town.
A market we are constantly mindful of are the first time buyers contingent. Whether you are on the ladder yet or not it is well documented how hard it is to move home, no matter which rung of the ladder you are on. With prices in London escalating to such an extent that only the super wealthy can afford property in certain areas and with rental rates being equally excessive, we find more and more people moving to the commuter belt to find their first property.
Property prices have been increasing at a rate far exceeding that of young adults’ salaries and that, coupled with more stringent lending criteria, it is no wonder people are struggling to get on the property ladder at all. The answer to such a problem is to increase the number of properties in these areas.
However, planning restrictions that have been in place for many years are often prohibitive in the execution of such a solution. The term ‘Green Belt’ is probably one you have heard of before and refers to an area of land which is preserved as open space – often bordering larger towns and cities. They are designed to prevent urban sprawl and protect the character and history of our rural communities.
It has been argued that easing the planning restrictions could increase the number of home owners in the UK while reducing property prices. Conversely, without increasing the housing supply and policies to help young adults to get on the property ladder will continue to increase property prices and lower income young adults will never be home owners.
While government Help to Buy schemes have helped more than 150,000 people to buy property, 81% of which were first time buyers. The increase in property prices in desirable areas in and around London have seen fewer people qualify for the Help to Buy scheme in the last 3 years.
The solution to this planning crisis is a diversification in the market. Ensuring there are properties available for all budgets will promote home ownership and lead to fewer people living beyond their means just to be closer to their place of work.
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photo credit: By mariyaermolaeva