Rishi Sunak’s proposal to relaunch Help to Buy will not fix housing crisis

Rishi Sunak is said to be considering bringing back the Help to Buy scheme, which closed to new applicants in October 2022, in an attempt to attract young voters ahead of the next general election, but the prime minister has been warned that the policy will not fix the “broken housing market” or boost the supply of much-needed new homes.

Freddie Poser, director of affordable housing campaign Priced Out, told the press: “Help to Buy is a sticking plaster on a completely broken housing market – we haven’t built enough homes for 40 years.

“If you just give this demand-side injection of cash, that actually pushes up prices, rather than fixing the underlying cause, which is that there aren’t enough places for people to live. You’re just shuffling around the stock.”

Poser warned that much of the subsidy provided by the Help to Buy scheme – which offered a five-year interest-free loan of up to 40% of the purchase price and required just a 5% deposit – would be offset by inflated house prices.

He added: “If you can’t expand the supply in response to a rising price, you’ll just have most of that subsidy eaten up by the price rise.”

Poser also believes that a failure to meaningfully tackle the housing crisis could be politically risky for Sunak as he looks towards the next election.

“We need to build more houses across the country and houses of all types, and the Government needs to take that issue seriously,” he continued. “If the government isn’t willing to take that seriously, we’re seeing that the Opposition, Labour, are getting more serious about that with their more recent announcements. It remains to be seen if those are going to lead to properly workable policies.”

Suggestions that Help to Buy could return were also criticised by Paul Cheshire, a former planning adviser to the government and emeritus professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He believes that the policy would inflate house prices and risk wasting taxpayers’ money.

Cheshire said: “It’s an insane idea which is very damaging to young people because it will land them with houses that they will find they can’t afford.”

Maxwell Marlow, director of research at the Adam Smith Institute, described Help to Buy as a “tired and threadbare policy”.

He explained: “[It will] fail to fix the most critical issue facing Britain’s productivity problem: we do not build enough houses.

“With gross housing value at three times our gross equity value, and a housing deficit of 4.3 million, redistributing tax revenue from the stagnant wages of young people into their own mortgages makes very little fiscal sense.”

Marlow said that Britain’s “housing catastrophe” should be tackled by a fundamental, pro-development reform to our outdated and damaging planning laws”.

Another option being considered by the government is to extend the mortgage guarantee scheme that is due to end this year and underwrites the risk to lenders of offering 95% mortgages.

A government spokesman said: “Over 400,000 first-time buyers have been helped into home ownership since spring 2010 through Government backed schemes including Help to Buy and Right to Buy.

“We are committed to delivering 300,000 new homes per year and are investing £11.5bn to build the affordable, quality homes this country needs.”

“We have extended the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme which has already helped over 30,000 households with 5pc deposits onto the housing ladder and we are progressing the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to speed up the planning system, cutting unnecessary delays so we can build more homes.”



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  1. EAMD172

    The government needs to leave the housing MARKET to find its natural level. Prices will stabilise when they stop putting false energy into it. The HTB scheme was predominantly used in the new homes market which effectively meant that developers charged more than the properties were worth thus increasing prices and in so doing caused first time sellers problems when they couldn’t get their money back for at least two years. Any scheme MUST be equal across new and secondhand homes if they do anything, and must not allow prices to inflate beyond wages.

  2. LVW4

    You only need to look at the obscene profits of the large developers during the HTB period, to see how it benefited no one but those developers. There is something very wrong when a house builder can pay one person in excess of a £100 million bonus!

  3. Isa B Agent

    LVW, there is nothing wrong with a business, just because it makes profits and pays bonuses. Are you a communist?

    I bet you use Amazon and you don’t have an issue with old Jeff who pays himself a lot more than the house builders do.




    1. LVW4

      Clearly, you know nothing about the levers from HTB which enabled developers to generate such high profits. Interesting that they are saying life won’t be so rosy now HTB has ended. I wonder why!

      As to ‘old Jeff’, he runs a global business and I don’t feel like I’m being ripped off. Whereas, with the ‘other Jeff’ who I was specifically referencing, he was building poor quality leasehold houses, and selling them at inflated prices, using taxpayer-funded HTB. He was then monetising the freeholds by selling them on to investors, who were ripping off buyers and are now having to roll back in the face of the CMA’s demands.

      I’m all for making a profit, but fairly and deserving.

      1. Isa B Agent

        You are making up childish rules that do not exist in the business world. When you declare profits to the tax man, you do not have to tick a box that says “all profits are fair and deserving’. Businesses make profits and directors get bonuses.

        This is the UK and not North Korea.


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