Estate agents' fear of a 'missing generation' of home owners in Plymouth
LEADING property experts warn that we are in danger of creating a "missing generation" of home buyers.
Estate agents Andy Blacklock, managing director of Maitlands, and Darren Lawson, managing director of Mansbridge and Balment, were speaking as Plymouth's property market showed signs of renewed vigour after what has been a slow summer.
But they repeated calls for mortgage lenders to start injecting cash in order to help first-time buyers get on the ladder and allow people wanting to move on to upsize, particularly if they are reluctant because they are enjoying low interest rates at the moment.
Mr Lawson said: "We can't be far removed from having a missing generation of home buyers."
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He added: "We are still a nation of home owners but in 10 years another seismic shift will have happened."
However he said lenders found ways of dealing with the early 1990s negative-equity crisis, and said it is for banks and building societies to find a way out of the current economic doldrums.
He said this could be done with mortgages requiring less of a deposit than the current amounts which are sometimes 20 per cent or above.
"It will take one of the larger lenders to come into the 95 per cent market," Mr Lawson said.
"At the moment lenders are looking for reasons not to lend.
"It will come down to lending as far as I'm concerned.
"There's an appetite there, a little shift in lending policy would release some money."
Mr Blacklock agreed and said the banks' finance freeze was curtailing the options of more than just first-time buyers, but people such as divorced couples too.
He said that some small lenders were offering limited 95 per cent deals, but the larger mortgagers were likely to be holding back in case they caused a surge in property prices.
He said the problem, therefore, was "not prices, it's transaction numbers".
"They are 60 per cent lower than the peak," he said.
"It's confidence. The layman is not even thinking he can buy a house."
Mr Blacklock said the full summer had delayed the actions of those people who did have the funding to move.
But he said: "September had a slow start but the past 10 days it's really come out of the woodwork."
And Mr Lawson said the summer of sport and rain had meant "any momentum in the market was lost".
He said: "It's been a slow return to form, but now we've just had a good week."