First time buyers active in the property market

Recent figures released by The Halifax show that the level of first time buyer activity in the housing market is at its highest level since 2007.

“This is very encouraging news as first time buyers play such an important part in the overall health of the housing market,” says Sandra Barton, sales director of Bellway Homes Wessex region.

“We have seen a gradual improvement in general economic conditions, unemployment continues to fall and this has led to an increase in confidence.

“It is also true to say that a number of schemes such as the government backed initiative Help to Buy has enabled many first time buyers to make that step onto the property ladder.

“Although Help to Buy is for other purchasers as well it can be particularly beneficial for those who have never owned a property.”

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) points out that this activity leads directly to house builders building homes more quickly, investing in land, labour and materials and consequently increasing output.

This in turn is having a marked effect on supply as well as demand.

“2014 has been extremely busy for our region and we are actively looking for more land along the south coast to supplement the land we already have,” says Sandra.

“Location is still the key driver in the decision of a purchaser and there are few who would argue we have a beautiful region in which to live.

“If they are looking to bring up a family this part of the world has so much to offer.”

HBF reports many people acknowledge the need for a long term increase in housing supply but are concerned with the current inefficiency and sluggishness of the planning system.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published by the Government over two years ago and replaced all previous Planning Policy Statements.

The new system was supposed to be ‘plan led’ but only 54 per cent of all local planning authorities have an adopted local plan.

Even fewer have a plan that has been adopted since the publication of the NPPF and therefore are not in line with its principles.

“No one is suggesting there are easy answers to this situation but something has to change if the need for more housing is to be met,” added Sandra.

“We have sold most of our homes this year ’off plan’ which means the home is being bought from plan whilst it is still in the stage of being built. We have seen strong demand across the region.”

Bellway Homes’ currently has developments in Romsey, Eastleigh, Portsmouth, Emsworth, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton and has proposed developments in various stages of planning at Weymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, Havant, Hayling Island, and Yapton.

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