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Rental Eco-grants and first time buyer help - Rightmove’s Election Wishlist

Rightmove has produced five core demands on behalf of the rental sector, which it would like the next government to meet.

These are:

- More support for first time buyers;


- More mortgage schemes to help people afford to move;

- Simplifying the home buying process;

- Building more homes;

- Legislating to improve the energy efficiency of rental properties.

Rightmove has drawn up this list - and a comparable list for the property sales sector - based on views experts and agents, and research among over 14,000 home-owners and renters.

Chief executive Johan Svanstrom says: “Being the UK’s largest home listing and search platform, it’s clear to us from our large data sets, consumer surveys and talking to our agent partners that there are definite opportunities to improve fundamental aspects of the housing market. They include helping first-time buyers, building more homes and driving higher digitisation of processes. There’s also an increasingly critical need to support builders and people to make their homes greener. We’re keen to continue to help the industry and government with insights from the millions of people who use Rightmove.”

In the rental market, the fast-growing Build-to-Rent sector has helped to bring in a proportion of new developments, however there is still nowhere near enough stock to meet demand. 

Hannah Marsh, co-founder of residential reviews platform HomeViews, now part of Rightmove, says: “There’s a wide-ranging group of people who live in, or who want to live in, Build-to-Rent homes - from young professionals to families. With a chronic shortage of rental stock in the UK, policy reform is needed to enable developments to be built more quickly.”

More support for first-time buyers was the most requested change among renters from the next government in Rightmove’s study. Stretched affordability, especially with elevated mortgage rates in recent years, has made it challenging for people trying to juggle paying rent, saving for a deposit, and earning enough to pass affordability tests. This is especially true for people trying to buy on their own.

Rightmove’s mortgages expert Matt Smith suggests a review of mortgage affordability criteria could help: “There’s an opportunity to unlock greater affordability in a responsible way, which could help more first-time buyers get on the ladder. First-time buyers are already taking out longer mortgage terms and lender innovation has included the introduction of longer-term fixed rates that are likely to be part of the solution as they help by ensuring certainty of payments.

“Various mortgage schemes have played their part and supported a number of people, and we know from our study that people would like to see new schemes introduced, but we think longer-term solutions would be more effective than short-term schemes. Either way, it’s most likely that regulatory change is needed, so it's critical that the government works with regulators and lenders from day one on any mortgage solutions, to ensure buy-in and take up, which will in turn create more options for first-time buyers.”

Green incentives are one of the most requested changes and for renters, the desire for legislation to come in for landlords to upgrade homes came in their top five.

Rightmove says the focus on helping people make their homes greener has fallen off the government’s agenda in recent years. A proposed deadline for landlords to improve homes up to an EPC rating of C was scrapped, and it’s clear that there is a lack of awareness among home-owners about what changes they should make and why.

Rightmove insight shows a decline in the number of landlords planning to make energy-efficiency upgrades to properties with lower EPC ratings. In 2022, over a third (36%) of landlords said they planned to make improvements to properties rated below a C. In late 2023, after the government had announced they were scrapping targets, this dropped to 26%.

The portal’s lettings expert Christian Balshen, says: “Landlords need clarity around any legislation that may come in, but also need help with incentives such as bigger, more widely accessible grants or tax savings, as these in turn will help tenants.”

And the top five demands in the sales sector were:

- Reforming the stamp duty system;

- Simplifying the home buying process;

- Incentives to help homeowners make green improvements;

- More mortgage schemes to help people afford to move; and 

- Incentives for downsizing.


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