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New home building on the rise
2015 is set to be a bumper year for home building, according to new stats from the National House Building Council. The figures show that more than 40,000 new homes were registered between January and March this year, which will hopefully mean an increase in affordable housing for first-time buyers.
A busy year for house builders
In the first three months of 2014, just over 34,000 new homes were registered. Year-on-year, this number is now up 18%, which indicates that the new build market is becoming stronger.
For people looking to get on the property ladder and buy their first home, this is definitely good news, as the greater the supply of affordable homes there is, there less upward pressure there should be on house prices. This means that if you’re a first-time buyer, it should be easier for you to find a property that you like and can actually afford to buy.
More to be done
However, we’re not out of the woods just yet. House building is still well below the level it was at in the first few months of 2007, when almost 53,500 new homes were registered. This was before the financial crisis: it’s likely that as the economy continues to improve we’ll start to see even more homes being built.
There was a lot of discussion about affordable housing before the election, with all of the major parties promising to commit to building more homes. Housing is a key priority for any government as demographic changes (people living longer), more people choosing to live alone and immigration have all served to increase the number of households in the UK – and the housing stock hasn’t been growing as fast. If this doesn’t change it will lead to a growing shortage of housing, which in turn is likely to make either renting or buying a property even more costly.
Affordable houses are still few and far between in some areas. Research for Shelter last month found that there are only 43 homes in London which are affordable for young families buying their first home. The research also showed that fewer than one in five homes across the UK were found to be affordable, suggesting that it could still be difficult for people on average incomes to get onto the housing ladder.
With more homes being built in the first quarter of this year than in 2014, the outlook for first-time buyers is certainly starting to become more positive though. While London is still a difficult market for young families, the South East in general is improving, with more than 6,500 new homes being registered in the first quarter of 2015, compared to just 4,500 over the same period in 2014.
What to do
If you’re looking to buy your first home, now may be a good time to look to get onto the property ladder. As well as an increase in the number of new homes hitting the market there are also some record low mortgage rates available. If you’re looking for more information, check out our guide to buying a house and beating generation rent.