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All this finger-pointing isn’t helping the first-time buyer

Announcing well-overdue planning reforms in England this week the Prime Minister acknowledged that young people were ‘angry’ about not being able to buy a home and were ‘right’ to be so.

Home ownership was largely unaffordable to those not backed by the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ and confirmed housing is a key issue for her premiership, she said. It appears our message may be getting through.

Like these:

The announcement was largely to reconfirm a policy decision already in play. A policy that comprises 80 proposals including making 10 per cent of homes on major sites ‘affordable’, forcing builders to be more open about affordable housing commitments at planning stage and giving councils the power to revoke planning permissions if building doesn’t start.

That’s all helpful stuff of course, particularly the last one which is a direct assault on land banking – the practice of developers hoarding land until the underlying price goes up.

Yet the finger-pointing and political jostling begins straight away and that really isn’t helpful. The PM blamed developers who ‘game the system’. Her Housing Secretary Sajid Javid unloads on councils for failing to tackle ‘nimbyism’ and the councils slate the UK Government for getting it wrong citing that they are approving nine out of 10 proposed developments.

Ok then. So what do we do about solving what the PM has rightly described as a ‘source of national shame’?
Well, you could ask our customers. The Family Building Society has long been a champion of the younger generation and our mission is to help today’s 20-30 year-old get a first foot on the ladder.

In doing so we have helped make the seemingly unattainable achievable and put younger people in the first homes all over the UK.

We achieve that mostly by talking to the people who matter. The young themselves. That’s why they are our customers. Their eyes light up when they discover that their mortgage may cost them less than their rent………..

By Steve McDowell

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