Saying no to new homes is bad for first-time buyers - 52M Consulting Limited

Saying no to new homes is bad for first-time buyers

First-time buyers find it increasingly hard to get on the property ladder. Even a supply of new executive homes can help.


In recent years, there's been something of a fixation with so-called 'affordable homes'

The thinking goes that cheaper houses will help more first-time buyers, in particular, to get a foot on the bottom rung of the property ladder.

But here's the thing: we also need a supply of larger, more expensive homes too.

When a young couple decide to start a family, they will more than likely want to swap their two bedroom terraced house or flat for a home with a garden. When they decide to enlarge their family, they'll want a bigger house with more bedrooms. When she lands a top job, they might decide to move to a large, executive home. When his mother starts to get old and frail, they might want to move to a house with a 'granny flat' or similar.

Each time this hypothetical family move on up the property ladder, they make way for someone to follow behind them.

The problem is that birth rates, people living longer and immigration are all putting a squeeze on existing housing stocks, meaning that the ability for people to progress along the housing chain are more limited. It's estimated that we need to build over 200,000 new homes a year just to stand still.

The constant focus on affordable homes, whilst still valid, means that communities are likely to oppose new developments of more expensive properties in their area. They'll think "young people here won't be able to afford these, so what's the point in building them? Only the developer stands to benefit while we have to endure extra traffic on our roads and more pressure on local services."

This may be among the reasons why 15% of Brits in our recent online polling said a new housing estate was the type of new infrastructure they'd least like to see built near them.

Developers, local councils and central government need to do a much better job of explaining the real needs of our housing system so that communities being asked to host new homes can be more accepting. Otherwise, they'll continue to object to plans and, in doing so, inadvertently deny young people the chance to own their own homes.