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86% of developers say first-time buyers need more govt help

86% of developers say first-time buyers need more govt help

Almost nine in 10 property developers feel the next government needs to do more to support first-time buyers, a poll conducted by a lender found.

Shawbrook surveyed 567 property developers and discovered 39% believed support for first-time buyers should be a main priority for the state. 

The poll also found that a quarter of developers backed the introduction of a scheme to replace Help to Buy, while 27% were in favour of low-deposit mortgages. 

A further 29% suggested stamp duty should be scrapped for all first-time buyers. Currently, first-time buyers do not need to pay stamp duty on properties up to the value of £500,000. The threshold has been temporarily raised from a maximum of £250,000 before the tax kicks in, and it will revert to this level in March 2025. 

Property developers also feel planning red tape should be removed to incentivise development, as cited by 30% of those surveyed. 

This comes after Labour proposed it would unlock building on ‘grey belts’ and brownfield sites to deliver more homes. 

Additionally, 30% of developers said the government should encourage more public-private partnerships to improve housing supply. 


Developers’ government wishlist 

As a result, 90% of developers said they would prefer a Labour government, suggesting this would benefit the housing market more. However, just 9% of developers think Labour will help first-time buyers specifically. 

When asked what changes developers would want to see from a new government, 35% said easier planning permission processes, while 32% called for new schemes to help people onto the property ladder. 

Some 31% asked for more support for innovative building methods such as modular construction, and 30% were in favour of stamp duty holidays. 

Terry Woodley, managing director of development finance at Shawbrook, said: “The upcoming election has the potential to breathe more life into the construction and property development sector, especially as housebuilding numbers have reduced in recent years. Challenges surrounding a lack of support for first-time buyers as well as a failure to streamline the planning process have led to waning activity levels, and subsequently have caused developers to call on the government to deliver supporting legislation.

“As such, it’s no surprise that our research results had strong numbers advocating for development in reforms such as alternative schemes to Help to Buy, modular construction, and abolishment of stamp duty for first-time buyers.” 

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