Help for first time buyers isn’t enough, says Lancashire lawyer

More help for first time buyers in the North West is needed, according to a Lancashire residential property law expert.

Michael Foxford, partner at Birchall Blackburn Law, which has offices in locations including Preston, Chorley and Morecambe, said people are struggling to get on the housing ladder due to a number of reasons and existing initiatives don’t go far enough to help.

His comments come following a report this week from the Resolution Foundation which revealed home ownership in England has fallen to the lower levels in 30 years.

The report, based on analysis of the latest Labour Force Survey, showed in early 2016 only 58% of households in Greater Manchester were homeowners, compared with a peak of 72% in 2003.

In outer London, the peak in ownership came earlier, in 2000, but the fall was also from 72% then to 58% in February. The West Midlands and Yorkshire have also seen double-digit drops, driven by declines in Sheffield and Leeds.

Michael also said more houses need to be built – to meet the demand for first-time buyers as well as the rest of the buying market.

Michael said: “For many becoming a home owner is just a dream with little chance of ever becoming a reality. For instance, many who rent don’t have the means to also save up for a deposit and some people don’t earn enough to be able to put aside the large sums needed.

“While the Help to Buy ISA does benefit some people, the feedback we are seeing is people need this to go further, perhaps with increased bonuses.

“There’s also the shared ownership scheme under the Help to Buy banner where you can buy a share of your home and pay rent on the remaining share – and while these schemes do support people, more needs to be done if we’re ever to see home ownership get back to their previous levels.” He added: “Aside from this more houses need to be built – we need more affordable homes for people on ordinary incomes sooner rather than later.”