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The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the way we live and it’s no exaggeration to say the impact it has had on an already problematic housing market has been hugely negative.
The Chancellor’s decision to implement a stamp duty holiday, whilst well intentioned, has driven house prices up, forcing an even higher proportion of people out of the market. The Covid impact has been laid bare by the recent numbers from the Halifax showing that the average house costs £252,765 – completely out of reach for millions of people.
The irony is that those people most affected are those that we have celebrated during the pandemic: our key and essential workers.
Despite being able to afford to pay a monthly mortgage, they are unable to secure one because of the challenges in saving the huge deposit when paying high private rents. They therefore end up being trapped in a vicious circle in the rental market, unable to put aside any significant savings.
Millions of pounds have been pumped into home buying schemes by government. Despite this, many nurses, care workers and other key and essential workers remain unable to buy their own home.
We don’t believe that’s fair.
Government schemes such as shared ownership, Help to Buy and the new First Homes simply won’t plug that hole, because they fail to address one of the key barriers for this group – the need for a deposit.
We believe it is time to break that vicious circle.
We know from experience that alternatives to deposit-reliant schemes really do work. They help people that don’t have the ability to save to get on the path to home ownership.
Our own rent-to-buy scheme is helping people who’ve previously written off the prospect of buying a quality house. The first cohort who moved in to a Rentplus home five years ago, without a deposit, are on the cusp of completing on buying 100% of their home, thanks to Rentplus and a 10% gifted sum towards their deposit.
We want to be handing over many more keys to aspirant homeowners – and we’re actively looking for new developments across the country to help those who dream of it to get on the property ladder.
Our affordable Rent to Buy is by no means the only answer to the housing market problem: but alternative, innovative options such as Rentplus could go a long way in relieving the issue.