New Year, Fresh Start

7 January 2016

As many reflect on the year as it comes to an end, the housing market has seen many changes taking places that were brought out by the Government in an effort to curb the rise in housing prices and to also help those who want to buy homes for the first time. We have witnessed the resurgence of the Help-to-Buy scheme, which the Chancellor George Osborne hopes to have success in an already troublesome situation in the housing market. But we have also observed the decline in buy-to-let, and the impact of Government cuts in this particular sector. What will 2016 bring; more stability to this ailing market, or more woe for those struggling to buy their own homes?

There is almost a sense of a tug-of-war developing between landlords and homeowners. The former have been dealt heavy blows when it comes to Government support, as mentioned in prior articles of cuts to the capital gains tax relief, as well as hikes in license fees and the stamp duty. Homeowners have been receiving more aid in the form of the Help-to-Buy scheme in addition to the Right-to-Buy scheme, which has given power to tenants to buy their homes from landlords. The Government’s plans for the future seems to be veered towards helping homeowners and house-hunters, as a gesture to those especially struggling to own their first home.

However, as reported previously, the picture has not always been rosy for homeowners. There have been issues in the news regarding retirees not wanting to give up their homes to their children or the younger generation, which has meant less homes up for sale, as well as children being unable to gain their own property from their wealthy aged parents. The Government have tried to proposition pensioners with homes that have had their mortgages paid off by encouraging them to downsize, but it is too early to tell if this approach has worked.

The biggest obstacle to house-hunters for buying a home this year, has also been the running theme in recent times, which is the rise in housing prices. Showing no signs of slowing down, as mentioned before, many statistics based on the UK market has not been promising, with many leaps in homes rising in price compared to previous years. Signs of this are more visible in the capital, London, which has seen increases of up to 8%. Next year may see even higher increases.

2016 is just around the corner, and the housing market is bracing itself for a busy time in January. House-hunters may be hopeful of what the new year will bring, but it could spell a more grave situation for others.