I was very pleased to hear at the weekend that the Prime Minister has announced that the government will explore new long-term, low-deposit mortgages. In Crawley and much of the southeast, too many people today feel excluded from the idea of home ownership. The affordability of housing, including the opportunity to own your own home is one of our biggest long-term local challenges.
We’ve become accustomed to the term ‘Generation Rent’ and while there is of course nothing wrong in renting, it has become the only option to an increasing number of people rather than being able to have a choice of buying or renting. This is why Boris has announced his government will work to create ‘Generation Buy’, exploring options for new long-term fixed rate mortgages that only require a 5% deposit, making it easier for young people in particular to realise their dream of owning their own home. Nationally, two million people cannot currently afford a deposit but would be able to meet mortgage payments.
As we plan to build back better as a country after the pandemic, the Conservative government are determined to tackle the long-standing inequalities and unresolved challenges that too many previous governments have ducked. There has also been a withdrawal of high loan-to-value mortgages over recent months, which is preventing households with low and medium levels of equity from buying their first home or moving up the ladder. Therefore, developing plans to encourage new mortgage products that can overcome these problems will help with the availability and affordability of housing.
A healthy and affordable housing market is good for our local economy. The temporary stamp duty cut announced by the Chancellor to stimulate the housing market during the pandemic will mean that nine out of ten people buying a home before 31 March 2020 will pay no stamp duty at all.
It is also good to see new models of ownership for local people, such as shared ownership. Government reforms to shared ownership will make it easier for people to accumulate a stake in their home, rather than at 10% increments as previously required.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
7th October 2020