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Cautious welcome for London Help to Buy

The Chancellor's pledge to build 400,000 new homes and support young buyers in London have been welcomed by the property industry but many fear his ambitious targets will be missed.

In his combined Autumn Statement and Spending Review yesterday, George Osborne said 200,000 of these new properties would be “starter homes” available to first-time buyers at a 20% discount.

He also announced other measures to help first-time buyers, including a new London Help to Buy scheme to help young buyers in the capital get on the property ladder.


John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages, said “This housing boost is undoubtedly a positive step in the right direction as building more genuinely affordable homes to buy is still absolutely imperative to our economy. 

“It will be interesting to hear more about how the government is going to assist builders and developers in order to meet these ambitious targets.”

Owen Goodhead, managing director of specialist recruiter Randstad CPE, multiracial UK lack the necessary skills to build so many homes. "We need to find 100,000 carpenters, 89,000 plumbers, 27,000 bricklayers.

“We’re facing a shortage of 9,000 floorers and 14,000 roofers. To build enough homes the UK needs to train an extra 30,000 quantity surveyors and 61,000 project managers.

“That is not the sort of challenge to relegate to the footnotes.”

Andy Frankish, new homes director at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), said Osborne has acknowledged the growing crisis facing the housing market.

“With homeownership levels in decline and levels of supply far outweighed by demand, it’s fantastic to see policies that encourage homeownership and give customers more choice.”

Frankish also welcomed London Help to Buy, which includes an increased 40% equity loan to reflect the higher cost of buying in the region.

Adrian Anderson, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, said Help to Buy has lacked impact in the capital because property prices are much higher.

“Offering a 40% interest-free loan to London buyers will make a huge difference, enabling many to get on the housing ladder when they simply couldn’t before.”


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