Over a third of prospective first-time buyers want empty homes addressed in Budget

As Chancellor Philip Hammond prepares to deliver his Budget this afternoon, 34% of prospective first-time buyers have argued that they want the government to introduce policies to reduce the number of empty homes across the UK.

The research from Aldermore Bank further found that prospective buyers want to see the Help to Buy scheme extended to all property types, rather than only applying to newly built homes, while other measures include the introduction of a Rent to Buy scheme and incentives for landlords to sell to long-term tenants.

However, these views are not only shared among prospective first-time buyers.

Respondents across the UK also echoed the view, with over a third (37%) calling for the government to introduce policies to reduce the number of empty homes. This is closely followed by three in ten (29%) who are urging Hammond to introduce Rent to Buy schemes, by which private landlords could be incentivised to sell properties to long-standing tenants without having to pay capital gains tax.

Commenting, Aldermore director of mortgages Damian Thompson said: “There is no doubt first time buyers are facing an uphill battle to get on the housing ladder and they believe more needs to be done by the government to improve their chances of getting the keys to their first home. Abolishing stamp duty for first time buyers in last year’s Budget was a promising move, but underlying challenges, such as affordability and supply shortages, remain.”

Thompson emphasised that, in 2017, more than 200,000 homes in England sat empty for over six months, according to government figures.

“Getting these houses back on the market to help ease the shortfall of housing supply and provide more choice to first-time buyers has proved a popular idea among would-be buyers. We think the suggested measures highlighted in our research can provide the government with food for thought, and we hope to see housing feature at the top of the agenda on Monday,” he concluded.

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