Why the new first-time buyer home discount is a ruse

The Tories have a plan to deflate the house prices they inflated

Updated: 
OECD report

If you're under 40 and a first-time buyer, the Tories clearly want your vote as they're trying to bribe you with a 20% reduction in house prices. The problem is, it's going to do very little to help you financially.

Chancellor George Osborne has remembered that younger people can vote and he has turned his attention away from the grey voters to focus on those at the other end of the spectrum – the under 40s.

As part of a new 'starter homes' scheme, Osborne is offering a 20% discount on 100,000 new homes that will be built on brownfield sites by 2020 specifically for first-time buyers.

The discount comes not in a rebate of the sale price but on the waiving of local authority fees for those building the homes, which total an average of £45,000 per property.

What's notable about this newest homeownership scheme is the gall the chancellor has it's a way of helping people on to the ladder. In 2012 the government launched the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), which threw cheap money at the banks to lend out as mortgages, making it easier and cheaper to come by credit. Then we had Help to Buy in 2013, which saw the government subsidise house buying.

House prices rising

For many this meant getting a foot on the ladder but for everyone trying to buy or struggling to save a deposit it meant rising house prices. The government has spent the last three years inflating house prices with all of these schemes.

In 2012, house prices ended the year down 1%, according to Halifax but by the time the FLS and Help to Buy kicked in, house prices had increased 7.5% in 2013 (November 2013 alone witnessed an annual rise of 7.7% - the biggest annual leap in six years).

And in 2014, house prices continued to rocket, up 8.5%, again according to Halifax.

Now Osborne is offering a 20% discount, which after the ramping up of the past two years means nothing – it puts house buyers back to the position they would have been in if the government hadn't started tinkering.

Imagine what house prices will be in 2020 if we carry on as we are, the 20% discount will mean even less than it does not and for the government to try and sell it as a discount is cynical to say the least.

The fact is, successive governments should have already been building sufficient homes, not starting the programme too late and trying to sell it back to those home buyers it has already shafted.

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