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Help to Buy has caused house prices to surge for first-time buyers



First-time buyers in and around London have seen some of the biggest jumps in average house prices since the Help to Buy schemes were introduced from 2013, research from estate agency Springbok Properties has found.

Springbok Properties looked at the average cost of a first-time buyer property across the UK and where has seen the largest uplift in price growth since Help to Buy was introduced.

While Help to Buy has given many a leg up when it comes to climbing the property ladder, the influx of additional demand has also, perhaps ironically, pushed the cost of Help to Buy homes up considerably.

Across Great Britain, the average cost of a first-time buyer property has increased by 32.8% since 2013, almost on par with the regular market.

The typical price first-time buyers paid for a property in Barking and Dagenham was £281,396 in 2019, an alarming 70.8% increase from 2013.

This isn’t the only East London region to see huge increases the average first-time buyer price, as they rose by 60.7% in Newham to £349,874 and 60.1% in Havering to £307,874.

Other areas to see a strong uplift are Waltham Forest in North East London, rising by 68.7% to £408,233; Thurrock in Essex, increasing by 59.2% to £237,635; and Stevenage in Hertfordshire, rising by 58.7% to £250,086.

Scotland and the North East more subdued

The City of Aberdeen, which has been hit hard by falling oil prices in the past few years, is the only area of the UK where first-time buyers are paying less than in 2013. The price they paid has fallen by -10.9% to £126,794 in 2019.

Some other areas of Scotland have only seen modest rises, as Inverclyde prices have risen by just 6.55% to £83,995, while South Ayrshire prices have seen a 6.9% uplift to £102,992.

In England, the worst climber is County Durham in the North East, where prices rose by 3.5% to £88,790. This is followed by Redcar and Cleveland, where prices climbed by 4.5% to £105,156; while behind that is Middlesbrough with an increase of 5.0% to £110,304.

It seems Help to Buy hasn’t been enough to kick-start some of these markets into action.

Founder and CEO of Springbok Properties, Shepherd Ncube commented:

“Help to Buy was introduced by the previous government with good intentions – to assist would-be home-buyers in their first step onto the property ladder.

However, it seems that whilst around 200,000 buyers have indeed been supported, the unintended consequence in most areas has seen an above average hike in prices driven by the demand that Help to Buy has created.

First rung homes are supposed to be more affordable, but we’ve seen the average price paid by a first-time buyer accelerate to similar levels as the wider market. Not only has this made it more difficult for today’s aspirational homeowner, but perhaps some tax-payers might question the wisdom of using their money to fuel house prices even further?”

About Help to Buy

Help to Buy is characterised by three schemes.

The Help to Buy Equity Loan was launched in 2013 and has buyers contribute a 5% deposit towards a new build, with the government providing a 20% equity loan on the property, or 40% within London, which is interest-free for the first five years.

This is available on new builds under £600,000 in England and £300,000 in Wales. The scheme is running until 2023, though after 2021 it will only be available for first-time buyers and there will be caps on the value of homes people can buy.

This is the most well-known of the Help to Buy schemes.

The second scheme is the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee, which also launched in 2013. This had the government act as guarantors against loans, while it wasn’t restricted to new build. It was discontinued at the end of 2016.

The Help to Buy ISA was launched in 2015, which saw savers pay money into an ISA and then get a cash bonus form the government.  The scheme closed for new entrants in November 2019, while the bonus must be claimed by 2030.

First-time buyer average house price – Largest increases – (2013 – 2019)
Average FTB house price 2013 Average FTB house price 2019 Average FTB % change / growth (2013-2019)  
£164,791 £281,396 70.8%  
£242,021 £408,233 68.7%  
£217,777 £349,919 60.7%  
£192,331 £307,874 60.1%  
£149,239 £237,635 59.2%  
£157,609 £250,086 58.7%  
£191,496 £302,769 58.1%  
£132,616 £209,073 57.7%  
£125,923 £197,912 57.2%  
£213,833 £334,473 56.4%  
£152,826 £206,018 34.8%  
£111,080 £139,436 25.5%  
£101,872 £122,148 19.9%  
£145,436 £193,194 32.8%  
First-time buyer average house price – Lowest increases (2013 – 2019)
Average FTB house price 2013 Average FTB house price 2019 Average FTB % change / growth (2013-2019)  
£142,288 £126,794 -10.9%  
£85,764 £88,790 3.5%  
£100,603 £105,156 4.5%  
£90,389 £94,774 4.9%  
£78,833 £83,995 6.5%  
£96,331 £102,992 6.9%  
£84,690 £90,765 7.2%  
£96,794 £104,262 7.7%  
£101,009 £109,147 8.1%  
£102,465 £110,824 8.2%  
£152,826 £206,018 34.8%  
£111,080 £139,436 25.5%  
£101,872 £122,148 19.9%  
£145,436 £193,194 32.8%  

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Soundproofing from noisy neighbour will increase your property’s rental appeal



One of the most searched for topics across the Landlord Library is noise pollution and how to deal with it and with this in mind, leading lettings platform, Howsy, has revealed what noises cause the biggest impact and how to protect against them.

Neighbours playing loud music or socialising late at night is the number one most hated cause of noise pollution amongst UK tenants, closely followed by road traffic, noise from animals such as dogs, cats or foxes and neighbours arguing – according to a survey of 1,000 UK tenants.

What can you do about it?

You don’t have to suffer in silence and there are plenty of cost-effective tips that both you and your landlord can carry out to ensure maximum peace and quite within your home.  

Perhaps obviously, start structurally. Use filler to address any holes or cracks in your walls with a particular focus around things like window frames or other breaks in the wall such as sockets.

It may look nice, but wooden flooring can be one of the main issues when it comes to noise pollution, particularly if you rent out a flat with neighbours below. While a new floor might not be necessary, sorting out any creaky floorboards can make more of a difference than you might think when it comes to cutting out noise pollution.

Now check out your doors. All too often, cheap doors aren’t soundproof and can be replaced by something a bit more substantial where materials are concerned. Once you’ve fixed your new door in place, one handy tip is to bolster your soundproofing with weathering strips which will also make your home more energy-efficient.  

Now your doors are sorted, what about your windows? Not the most cost-effective method but replacing old or damaged windows with double or triple paned PVC can work wonders for noise pollution – even a good quality wooden frame will reduce noise dramatically.  

From fibreglass to insulation foam or ceiling panels and everything in between, insulating your home doesn’t just help keep you warm in the winter, it cuts out a lot of noise.

It’s within your best interests as a landlord to make sure your property is not only fit for purpose but is appealing as possible for tenants while also doing your bit for the planet and your pocket.

However, there are additional things you can recommend to your tenants that can also make a difference and these range from simple touches such as heavy-duty curtains to help down out the outsides world or a similarly robust rug to cover wood flooring and protect from the noises below. 

Rearranging the furniture is also a smart way of minimising noise pollution and putting larger items such as a big book case or cabinet against the sharing wall will help add another layer. Another smart trick is to always position your tv on or by a shared wall as this will at least drown out any noisy neighbours while it’s on. Even a large picture or mirror will play its part and so considering layout is a small but smart step to help reduce noise pollution.

Of course, if the noise issue is the tenant themselves, Howsy has some further advice on how to deal with the situation here.

Founder and CEO of Howsy, Calum Brannan, commented:

“When it comes to the tenant-landlord relationship, it’s often the small things that can go a long way and helping to soundproof your property, even with the smallest of touches, can really improve your tenant’s quality of life.

Of course, there is always work that can be done to improve a property, but you certainly don’t have to break the bank and there is a whole host of innovative tips that you can suggest and that will cost nothing to do.  

Not only will you have a happier tenant for doing so, but you’ll have increased your property’s rental appeal which will make it more attractive if or when does return to the market.”

What is the worst form of noise pollution that impacts you when living at home?
Answer Percentage
Neighbour’s playing music or socialising late at night 33
Road traffic 19
A dog barking or cat/fox fighting 19
Your Neighbour’s arguing 9
People passing by outside my window 8
Neighbour’s nocturnal activities 6
Air traffic 4
Trains passing by 2

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