With news that the Help to Buy scheme has been extended to 2020, the jury is still out on its impact. Thus for some the Help to Buy has been the key catalyst for construction and some credit the scheme for almost all of the 16% increase in housing starts over the past year.
Other commentators suggest the housing recovery would have happened without the government’s £15.5bn injection of support from the taxpayer and that in fact unless changes are made to the scheme, it still risks causing a house price bubble. In truth the scheme has been modest in its impact and only around 15,000 properties have been sold to first-time buyers, who accounted according to the government for almost 90% of home purchases made via Help to Buy between April last year and January of 2014
In Wapping, David Martin Head of Sales at DAA Residential feels there will probably be little uptake, as most buyers in the area are already several steps up the property ladder. In the Docklands, however, he feels that there will be ongoing and possibly increasing interest, with the average one bedroom apartment costing around £330,000.
For these properties, the Help to Buy initiative will be very helpful, as people struggle to amass a big enough deposit for this kind of purchase.
Although prices are high in the London property market compared with the rest of the country, the main problem for house sales in Wapping in particular is not finding buyers but a shortage of housing stock.
Hopefully, the Help to Buy proposals will encourage home building, but if this fails to materialise, the problem of too many buyers and rising prices could cause a stalling of the London market which David says that ‘he is desperate to avoid’.