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We need stable house prices while we sort out the supply problem

The comprehensive spen-ding review brought some interesting news for the housing market. Some people are saying all the buy-to-let landlords are going to get really taken to the clean-ers as lots of people are not going to be able to afford to pay rents.

But you have got another band of people who are saying buy-to-let landlords cannot get enough of it because they cannot get mortgages.

There is probably a bit of truth in both but I am not so sure my natural instinct is to say that we need to make buying property for buy-to-let landlords easier than for firsttime buyers.

For years, we have seen firsttime buyers being priced out of the market by buy-to-letters. I would much rather, if there was any help coming from anywhere, that it is targeted towards first-time buyers rather than buy-to-letters. There is absolutely nothing out there that has changed the underlying desire for people to own their own property. Surveys have proved this over the last few years.

What is true is people are only able to get into the market a few years later than when they would like to.

What we really want, and I think housing minister Grant Shapps has made this point and I have made this point as well, is stability in prices while we sort out the supply problems.

What we do not want is a situ-ation where it is too easy to get on the ladder and prices just get bid up. Prices can get pushed up so easily because there is a fundamental shortage of properties.

There is a debate over whether renters are in social housing or in the private rented sector but the fact of who owns it does not change the fundamentals that is a shortage of property.

The CSR announced that 150,000 homes are to be built over four years. But there are already over a million families looking for homes.

Whatever happens, you are not going to easily make up that shortage because there is a fundamental shortage of properties which has only got worse over the last three years. That is why I cannot see property prices going down too much, even taking into account the difficulty getting mortgages.

We are seeing one or two new lenders coming in but it is still a pimple compared with the supply of funding we need to meet demand. But if you have the supply of funding that people are crying out for, you are going to have another artificial boom in housing.

The Government is still keen on people buying their own homes but it cannot suddenly change the demand and supply factor to put it right. It will take many, many years.

Danny Lovey is principal of the Mortgage Practitioner


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