Big changes looming for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme
Big changes looming for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme

This week brings a fundamental change in welfare support for struggling homeowners. For more than 70 years, homeowners, who have low incomes and who receive certain qualifying benefits, have been able to claim support from the government, through Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

However, from 6 April 2018 this support is changing. Rather than being paid as a free benefit, SMI will now be paid as a loan and any money claimed from this date onwards will one day need … Read more

Don’t be fooled by the campaign to axe stamp duty

Ahead of the Autumn Budget, the Daily Telegraph is leading a fresh charge against stamp duty land tax – a levy on property purchases which taxes the average buyer lightly, but hits buyers of £1 million+ mansions, second homes, and buy-to-let properties harder. Now MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has put cutting stamp duty ‘as a matter of urgency’ at the centre of his prescription for the Conservative Party.

A spate of articles have dubbed stamp duty ‘a tax on mobility Read more

Guest Blog- Kate Faulkner

Property expert Kate Faulkner has written this guest blog on the unsatisfactory state of today’s housing market. Like Shelter, Kate believes that it is time for politicians of all stripes to take bold action to deliver the new homes our country desperately needs, and to effectively regulate a private rented sector that is now home to 9 million people.

To solve the housing battle, we need the same determination our Veterans had

With the recent D-Day celebrations, I’m reminded of … Read more

Tenure blues

New polling released today by ComRes tells us, once again, that British people don’t want to rent. Given the choice, the vast majority of people (81 per cent) would rather buy a home than rent one.

Even the young adults who are supposed to ‘enjoy the flexibility’ of private renting seem to find it pretty painful: three quarters of 18 to 24 year olds would rather own their own home.

Unfortunately, few people think that this preference will ever be … Read more

A mixed bag

David Cameron opened his Conservative Party Conference speech with the promise of home ownership.

“This week in Manchester we’ve shown this Party is on the side of hardworking people. Helping young people buy their own home.”

The rhetoric is right. And it is fantastic to see all three party leaders recognising the urgent need to tackle our housing crisis. Unfortunately, we still cannot agree with the Government’s proposed solution.

Cameron used the Conference to accelerate the Help to Buy scheme. … Read more

Housing takes centre stage

‘[This] country desperately needs a delivery of homes…’

Spoken by Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation, and Skills during his platform speech at this year’s Liberal Democrat Party Conference.

After a wet and windy three days in Glasgow it’s clear: housing the next generation is on everyone’s mind. The Liberal Democrats, both members and Ministers, genuinely do want to ‘own housing at the next general election’.  However, what this ownership will look like is still all … Read more

Shared ownership: has potential, needs reform

Two weeks ago Shelter launched its call for a bigger, better shared ownership market for low to middle income families.

In our report, Homes for forgotten families, we found that 1.8 million families typically earning £20,000 – £40,000 were unable to afford a family home in their area through full ownership. With home ownership out of reach and social housing in short supply, the only realistic option for most of these families is to raise their children in our … Read more

Low to middle income families need bigger, better shared ownership

Buying a family home used to be an affordable, achievable aspiration for many low and middle income families, those typically earning between £20-40,000. But not anymore. That’s the finding in Shelter’s new report on how low to middle income families are faring in our housing market.

Over the last decade, the number of low to middle income families buying homes has been in steady decline. For many, their only option now is to raise their children with a backdrop … Read more

The heart of the problem

I tend to see everything in the housing system as interconnected. This is not to say that I’m a hippy who believes in the healing power of crystals. It’s because I see the impacts of a single, massive failure to provide enough, decent homes at prices people can afford: from the renters who come to us for help, facing eviction because their landlord has fallen into mortgage arrears, to the families languishing in grim bed and breakfast accommodation because of … Read more

Britain’s housing shortage: coming to a swing seat near you?

Rising home ownership was once a staple of post-war prosperity. The increasing number of people owning their own home underpinned not only a burgeoning middle class, but a broader sense of optimism about the future.

A basic kind of social contract also emerged: if you worked hard and saved, you could eventually own a home. Today, while private renting remains so insecure and unaffordable, the stability of home ownership will obviously continue to be attractive for many.

Unfortunately, this social … Read more

Help to who? Can it help the 'right' people?

Blimey. I’m quite used to my policy ideas being roundly abused by one set of people or another – in fact it’s not a bad test of an idea’s salience: if no-one at all is outraged it’s probably a non-starter.

But I’m not sure I can remember a policy that has attracted quite such a thorough a kicking as George Osborne’s Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme.

We’ve always argued that profligate lending to struggling households desperate to get on … Read more

What to do about the squeezed middle's housing pressures?

I’m starting to hear a lot about the problem of housing for low to middle income households. Two events this week. One was the launch of housing association Gentoo’s Genie product, which removes the need for mortgages and deposits with a ‘home purchase plan. The second, today, was the Resolution Foundation think tank’s report on how low to middle income households are faring in the housing market.

Policy makers are trying to provide a politically appealing and genuinely affordable offer … Read more