UK general election 2024: Which party will help you buy a house?

UK general election 2024: Which party will help you buy a house?

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Image caption, Gavin Sims rents in Cardiff and says people are “stuck in limbo”

  • Author, Lola Mayor
  • Role, BBC News

“We just wanted to own something… so I bought a caravan.”

Gavin Sims, 44, from Cardiff, is one of many people trying to get on the housing ladder and having to look for alternatives.

For him and his partner, the only option for security was to buy a caravan in case “it all went wrong”.

But issues around housing are a hot topic for many ahead of the 4 July general election, with Rishi Sunak questioned in the leadership debate last week about what he is doing for young people.

People like Ethan Gwyn, 28, from Rhondda Cynon Taf, said parties need to do more to help support people like him.

People are usually entitled to four times their salary in a mortgage, and are expected to put down a minimum of a 5% deposit – although this is usually 10%.

‘I would hardly survive paying a mortgage’

Image caption, Ethan Gwyn says the barriers to house buying are “frustrating” and affecting his mental health

He said mortgage payments now would be over half his income before bills and other expenses, which he said “won’t be living and would be hardly surviving”.

Without a partner, he sees no hope despite having a large deposit and going without things his friends are enjoying such as holidays.

He is also looking to buy local to him in Ton Pentre, which he said used to have much more affordable properties.

“It’s had an impact on my mental health definitely, because I just don’t see a way forward,” he said.

A Labour Party member, Ethan said smaller parties seemed to have younger people’s priorities in mind.

“I’m just not enthusiastic about what they’re (Labour) offering. I just don’t think reforming the planning applications and all that is going to be the magic pill.”

He said the situation calls for something more drastic, like the post-World War Two national home building scheme, which saw over a million homes built.

He said: “We need something like that really to address the problem.

“I just want the same things as my parents had at my age. The same as my grandparents, (the) same as the majority of my family have got.”

‘We are stuck in limbo like so many others’

Image caption, Gavin Sims thinks more support can be given to people to help with deposits

Gavin said people forgot to include professionals in the conversation around housing.

He rents in Cardiff with his partner, 49, and said saving for a deposit big enough was a massive hurdle.

He earns over £45,000 working in cyber security and, while his partner is currently off work for their health, he said he could pay a mortgage easily as he pays £1,000 in rent.

“We’re in this limbo as a lot of people are,” he said. “We just want the security, just knowing that this is your house and no-one can take it away from me.”

When he was made redundant in 2021, he and his partner decided they did not want the money to sit in savings for years, so looked at their options and decided to buy a caravan.

“We just wanted to own something,” said Gavin, who worried it would drip feed into daily life if left in savings for a long period of time.

“If it all went wrong we can just grab our animals and go there.”

He said he and his partner will look to move out of Cardiff at some point so they can save more towards home-owning, but he worries as he gets older that a mortgage was looking more unlikely.

He said young people however have a tough future ahead of them.

“I’m not expecting a magic wand if we get a new government in, but I’m hoping that some changes hopefully will come,” he said.

‘A sorry state’

Image caption, Carys Davies, owner of Perfect Pads in Swansea, says the property market is in a “sorry state”

For Carys, who owns Perfect Pads based in Swansea, she said rental demand and prices have “skyrocketed” post-Covid and that is making it harder for people to give a deposit.

“The demand (to buy) is high all over the country,” she said, with half the viewings of some properties going over the asking price.

“It’s a sorry state at the moment that the the rental prices are high for tenants, but also from a landlord’s point of view, there have been so many rules and regulations that the landlord has to comply.”

She said without moving home or support from family, high rent could restrict options. But landlords needed to keep up with interest rates and their rising costs too.

“In my opinion the market is stable,” she said, but more houses needed to be built to keep up with demand.

What are first-time buyers being promised?

Image caption, Interest rates rose last year and young buyers say they are struggling to get on the housing ladder

Housing is a devolved issue, so the UK government is responsible for England, while the Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish governments have powers in their countries.

Some elements such as stamp duty do not apply in Wales, where instead people pay Land Transaction Tax.

Interest rates and inflation, however, are set by the Bank of England and fall into the UK government’s remit. and policy in England can affect home ownership in Wales

The Conservatives promise to:

  • Expand help-to-buy to cover homes in need of renovation, turning the 20,000 empty properties in Wales back into homes, as well as second homes
  • Restore the right to buy for council homes and reinvest proceeds in new social housing

Labour said in the UK it will:

  • Build 300,000 homes a year, and accelerate development on brownfield sites
  • Extend a government-backed guarantee scheme, to help people buy with smaller deposits
  • In Wales, Labour said the Welsh Labour government has retained the Help to Buy Scheme, which was scrapped by the Tories in England, built 14,000 new homes, and supported shared ownership schemes.

Plaid Cymru said it will:

  • Develop a plan to expand local housing across the UK, using public and private funding
  • Work with communities to provide the correct mix of housing across Wales to see needs for healthcare, education and transport, as well as sufficient green space and local play facilities

The Liberal Democrats said they will:

  • Build 380,000 new homes a year across the UK, including 150,000 social homes a year
  • Pledge to build what they call new “garden cities” and would ban no-fault evictions for renters.

The Green Party said it will:

  • Build at least 12,000 new homes a year in Wales,
  • Introduce a community right to buy for local authorities so that older housing stock can be purchased and refurbished
  • Introduce a £15 minimum wage for all workers 16 and over
  • Increase Universal Credit by £40 a week to help financially.
  • Insulate more homes to keep costs down
  • Increase funding for affordable housing offer tax incentives for developers to build affordable housing and for first-time buyers to reduce the financial burden of purchasing a home
  • Invest in infrastructure projects that boost regional economies
  • Simplify and streamline national planning regulations
  • Introducing or expanding national schemes such as Help to Buy
  • Prevent speculative practices that drive up prices

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