First time buyer’s grant (thankfully gone)
Different stamp duty rules.
Different mortgage interest relief
Possibly new initiatives in the budget.
What’s the big deal with helping first time buyers.
Of course, I know, I know, first time buyers are the important ones, everyone else moving from one house to another has no effect on the number of empties. FTB’s are new entrants into the market.
Also in theory anyone who has owned a house should have equity putting them at an unfair advantage over FTB’s. The government just wants to level the playing field.
But both these arguments make less sense than you’d think.
People who have jointly bought a house in the past and now want to go their seperate ways (e.g. siblings, friends, seperating couples) all have the same effect on reducing empties as a first time buyer.
And the equity argument isn’t as clear cut as it used to be. Anyone who bought a house in 2006 as was forced to sell may actually have come away with negative equity in the form of an unsecured loan, large credit card bills etc.
A FTB with even a small deposit is in a much stronger position than someone like that.
So, instead of initiatives for FTB’s, why don’t we figure out what we really wan’t to achieve. E.g. if you want to take equity into account then instead of government loans for FTB’s wouldn’t it make more sense to give loans to people in negative equity?
If the goal is to fill empties, shouldn’t any incentives available to FTB’s be available to anyone who is buying a house to live in, but not selling an exiting house. E.g. a sibling buying while the other sibling remains in the existing home that they jointly owned.
I’m not saying I like these ideas, I think at the moment we probably don’t need any incentives at all, but the whole FTB mania has me confused.