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Opinion : Buying a house just got harder

| April 29, 2014


For young couples striking out on their own one of the biggest obstacles has been the cost of buying a house.

Over recent years house prices have risen to ridiculous levels indeed purchasing an average semi in Wycombe is not likely to leave much change from £300k. Starter homes and ‘affordable’ housing are not really an option as they are often too small to accommodate a family.

With the demise of local industry the youngsters of today face a real challenge just to get a roof over their head. Indeed it would be interesting to know how many jobs in the town actually provide a wage high enough to allow a couple to purchase a home? I suspect very few.

Those whose income is enough to own a house have had another obstacle put in their way last week with the introduction of a new mortgage application rules introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority regulator as part of their Mortgage Market Review.

Taking up to three hours the new test asks detailed question surrounding the financial position of anyone applying for a mortgage supposedly to ensure the applicants can afford the loan.

The questions ask such bizarre things such as how much is spent on haircuts, parking, mobile phones and gym memberships.

There are always two sides to every coin and in my opinion getting a mortgage has been too easy in recent years. Just look how many houses in Wycombe have become buy-to-lets with some landlords seemingly able to get multiple mortgages on the premise of letting the house immediately.

Buy-to-lets have, in my opinion, ruined Wycombe as the landlords have scrambled to install tenants at any cost resulting in some houses being full of scroungers, ex-convicts and undesirables. It may be interesting to plot a map of the location of buy-to-lets and correlate it with the crime statistics.

Every house in a buy-to-let is one house unavailable for genuine couples needing a roof over their head.

The question is will the new mortgage application tests stop landlords buying multiple homes? Probably not. What it will do is handicap the people who really need the housing the most.

Homes should not be cash cows for fat cat landlords they should be places for ordinary hard working people to live in happiness.

Those who have homes of their own have become too expectant that the price will rise on a yearly or monthly rate. One national newspaper even ran an article headlined ‘New mortgage rules could derail house price recovery‘. I say jolly good if house prices fail to rise so the youngsters have a chance to at least afford a home.

In this country houses have become a scarce commodity like water in a desert.

Instead of grilling mortgage applicants for three hours with obscure questions how about tackling the problem of buy-to-lets head on?

What do you think?

*Don’t forget my blogs are published twice a week here, on the Wycombe Today site, every Tuesday evening around 8pm and late on Friday evenings.

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