BUILD July 2017

4 BUILD / July 2017 NEWS , UK Government Housing Schemes Have Little Impact on Social Mobility A recent report finds that many low-cost UK government backed home ownership schemes are most likely to benefit better-off buyers. Flagship government schemes to help more people get on the UK housing lad- der have little impact on improving social mobility as better-off buyers are most likely to benefit from the support. A new report published by the Social Mo- bility Commission on 3rd July into the impact of low-cost home own- ership schemes found that those benefitting from schemes - such as Help to Buy - earn more than one and a half times the national working age median income. Around 3 in 5 first-time buyers said that they would have bought anyway and that the scheme merely enabled them to buy a better property, or one in a better area, than they were originally looking for. In the UK, promoting ownership for first-time buyers is a current government priority. Since the 1990s, around 1.8 million proper- ties have moved into ownership through Right to Buy. 200,000 were provided through the af- fordable homes ownership route, and 300,000 households were assisted through reduced costs of attaining ownership. The report which was carried out by researchers from the London School of Economics (LSE) builds on previous government com- missioned research which found that Help to Buy Equity Loans had generated 43% additional new homes over and above what would have been built in the ab- sence of the policy - contributing 14% to new build output. However, that research found that the average income for these Help to Buy buyers was £41,323 - like other first-time buyers who had average incomes of £47,528. Fewer than half of all working age households have incomes over £30,000, meaning that this scheme is unlikely to be able to help those households without more specific targeting. The research points out that the high cost of housing means many low-cost home ownership schemes are beyond the reach of almost all families on average