Help to Move? Lenders call for support to get home owners moving

There has been plenty of support for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder through the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, but now lenders say attention should turn to home movers.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders says there were around 1.6m transactions a year involving home owners in the early 2000s, but this has now fallen to 1.2m and could drop further.

Mohammad Jamei, economist for the CML, suggests helping movers could also have the added benefit of making more properties available for first-time buyers.

Since the financial crisis in 2007, the number of first-time buyers has gone up 63% while the number of home movers has increased by just 17%, according to the CML.

The trade body says home movers have been the worst performers out of first-timers, cash buyers and landlords.

Jamei said: “It’s widely accepted that to fix the housing market in the UK, we need a holistic approach. But, while the Government has introduced schemes that predominantly help first-time buyers (Help to Buy equity loan and Help to Buy mortgage guarantee), movers have largely been left to fend for themselves.

“You might say that first-time buyers have it much harder, and so need more help. This may be true in part but, at any point in time, the vast majority of properties coming on the market for sale are from existing home-owners, not newly built properties. If this cohort of people can’t move, they don’t put properties on the market, which means they hold up everyone behind them.

“This under-supply of properties for sale also pushes up prices, as a growing number of would-be buyers bid for a small pool of available properties.”

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