Thursday, March 4, 2021
Real EstateUK

LSE London report slams affordable homeownership schemes

LSE London

According to the report, the schemes had reinforced regional differences and sometimes overlapped with one another

The study by research unit LSE London criticised schemes such as Help to Buy and Right to Buy as being ‘ill-defined’ and ‘poorly targeted’.

These initiatives had reinforced regional differences and sometimes overlapped with one another according to the report, Thinking outside the box: Exploring innovations in affordable homeownership, which was commissioned by Building Societies Association (BSA) and the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE).

What’s more, because many of these initiatives have been short-lived, they had had limited impact and were confusing to both consumers and lenders, the report warned.

Professor Christine Whitehead, emeritus professor of housing economics at LSE, said: The government has sponsored a range of affordable homeownership products over the last 40 years with varying success.

What is needed is a better understanding of the nature and scale of the affordable home ownership ‘gap’ – taking account of house prices, incomes, the capacity to raise a deposit and attitudes towards risk of borrowers and lenders. We also need a more coherent set of affordable homeownership products.

The report acknowledged the government was looking at two new products – First Homes, a shared equity scheme, and a potential mortgage guarantee scheme linked to long term fixed interest rates.

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage and housing policy at the BSA, explained more about why the report was commissioned. He said: Building societies were founded to help people into homeownership, so they have often been at the forefront in the provision of products designed to support affordability.

He said, this valuable research pulls together what has been learned so far, and indicates how government, lenders and others might work together to help more people into homeownership the future.

Meanwhile, Professor Kenneth Gibb, director of the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE), said: This timely report reminds us how challenging it has been for government to grow home ownership, and how difficult it has been for mortgage providers to innovate in such a way that the market can expand for first-time buyers. The report is a comprehensive and intelligent reading of the current market, where it came from, and the likely factors shaping affordable home ownership in the future.

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