The options struggling under 35s have access to
For young people, being unable to get on the house ladder is a missed opportunity particularly in today’s environment of low interest rates. Rent payments can make deep inroads into outstanding mortgage capital, and quickly. Mortgage brokers cannot ignore the problem either: fewer buyers mean fewer deals involving both those buying their first homes, and for those stepping up. However, there are several opportunities mortgage brokers can steer frustrated customers towards:
A helping hand from the government
Not everyone is equally financially savvy, and the mix of government schemes that can help young people on to the housing ladder is confusing. Where a mortgage is completely off the table brokers can point prospective clients to a government scheme that could help them along the way:
- Lifetime and Help to Buy ISA. Both savings accounts schemes allow young people to accelerate saving up for a deposit as the government tops up the amount saved up to a maximum amount as long as the savings are used for a home deposit. Where young buyers find the deposit hurdle too high, mortgage brokers can suggest a different savings account.
- Help to buy loan. With income to loan ratios such a major hurdle, the government’s 20% loan towards a house (40% in London)5 can make a big difference. It reduces young buyer’s deposit requirement, and boosts loan eligibility. Where buyers are unaware of this scheme brokers may want to point buyers to qualifying properties.
Extended mortgage terms
Mortgages are increasingly available in far longer terms, as long as 40 years. Experienced mortgage brokers will know that extended repayment terms are no golden bullet, coming at a much higher long-term cost than the equivalent 25-year mortgage.
However under today’s difficult circumstances brokers can discuss the pros and cons with buyers and help clients decide whether saving up and waiting to buy is perhaps a better option given personal circumstances.
Support from parents
Earlier in this article we outlined how parental support comes at high expense for parents, but this need not necessarily be the case. Mortgage brokers should discuss the following two options with their clients as these could be a realistic aid in getting a mortgage:
- Equity release. Thanks to steep rises in property prices many parents sit on a large source of wealth in the shape of their house. Where parents don’t have funds at the ready, equity release can provide a way to utilise some of this property wealth towards a deposit to help children on to the property ladder. Equity release can help parents maintain their standard of living and does not involve sacrificing retirement plans.
- Guarantor loans. Since the credit crunch 100% mortgages have not re-appeared, but banks are willing to lend to youngsters if a guarantor steps in. Though parents are putting their money on the line, it is another way of helping young people buy a home when it would otherwise be out of reach.
Shared ownership as a stepping stone
Particularly in areas with extremely high property prices such as London, shared ownership can be a realistic, viable route to home ownership. First-time buyers can find shared ownership schemes confounding, but mortgage brokers must shine light on the subject and highlight the potential pitfalls too. Again, armed with an understanding of the shared ownership market, potential borrowers will be more likely to submit that mortgage application.
How mortgage brokers can help steer young people on to the housing ladder
Government action and indeed market dynamics are slowly creating opportunities for young people to buy their first homes. However, the underlying schemes can be complex and seemingly obtuse. Mortgage brokers can play a role in growing the mortgage market by ensuring all the options are on the table for prospective buyers.
To a mortgage broker it will rapidly become obvious when a prospective homeowner is locked out of the market.
During the initial consultation session brokers must outline alternative options. Mortgage brokers can learn more about the importance of equity release and other topics on the Key Partnerships blog, which you can sign up to here.
Unless a prolonged period of stagnant house prices comes along, or indeed a dip in house prices occur, under 35s will continue to find buying a first home problematic. As a mortgage broker, have you found that your young clients are increasingly frustrated about their options? What do you think your role can be in helping youngster buy a home? Let us know!
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