Will mortgage rates go down in 2021? We’ve been hearing a lot about mortgage rates trends in light of the Brexit trade deal and coronavirus, so we thought we’d unpack this a bit for all you first time buyers who may be thinking about buying your first home in the coming months.(more…)
At Pocket we love London. We love it’s vibrancy. That’s why it’s so disappointing to see report after report warning the capital that, the people that make it such an exciting place to live, want to leave.
“Londoners are almost unanimous in their belief that London ranks worse than elsewhere on both the affordability and the availability of housing. For the average London resident, housing affordability and housing availability are the indicators on which London performs worst.”
This is a direct quote from the Vibrant Capital report by Grant Thornton.
The urban commentator and Harvard lecturer Ed Glaeser has commented that the continued success of cities relies on a simple equation, that the cultural and commercial richness of the city must benefit inhabitants more than the downside of living in close proximity and sharing so much with others. The Grant Thornton report shows that amongst all groups researched, valued the cultural and leisure benefits of living in London alongside it’s diversity and benefits to pay and career. For too many however, these benefits are outweighed by the challenges of finding affordable and secure housing that meets their needs.
As a city, we have to move faster to help these largely young aspiring Londoners resolve their housing issues. At Pocket, we hear the stories from this audience constantly. They have been frustrated by the housing situation that they find themselves in and can’t see any way out of it. The cost of living swallows up their incomes so significantly that the prospect of ever owning a home is a distant dream. Furthermore, these costs deny them access to so much of the culture and fun that the city should provide. The equation that Ed Glaeser talks of, no longer makes sense and for a highly mobile workforce, who have never seen their career as a single “job for life”, leaving the Capital is increasingly the only answer.
Tomorrow London goes to the polls to elect a new Mayor of London. The Mayor is responsible for making London a great place to live, work and visit. For example the Mayor is responsible for things such as policing, transport and the fire service. But significantly for first time buyers, the Mayor has important housing powers. The Mayor must produce a housing strategy to invest in London’s housing and to meet the needs of London’s growing population.
Become a homeowner in the area where you grew up – Pocket makes it happen!
The idea of buying a home where you grew up seems a bit of a pipe-dream – pie in the sky even! And so it may be for many Londoners, but Pocket is trying hard to make it possible for as many city makers as possible to own a home in their local area.
We are very proud to introduce Thomas Golden. You may have already spotted him in the Metro this morning, his is one of the buyers of Pocket’s compact homes in Oak Grove NW2.
Thomas and his mum on handover day.
On Tuesday night, a couple of lucky people from Pocket were in the front row for a debate by the London mayoral candidates entirely devoted to the subject of housing in the Capital. Mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan launched his campaign by saying that the election in May was going to be “a referendum on housing” and from the level of engagement on Tuesday night – he was right. It was mentioned that previous Mayoral elections have been centred around the key issue of transport or policing and this vote will be defined by the candidate that reassures the electorate that they will make an impact on the housing crisis.
Related Companies makes a ground-breaking strategic investment in Pocket
We are extremely excited to announce that we have attracted a new investor to Pocket. This week we became equity partners with Related Companies, the largest owner and developer of affordable housing in the US. This strategic investment in Pocket is a trail-blazing deal as it brings investment from across the pond into the UK’s affordable housing market. Related have acquired a 50% stake in Pocket, and will be working with us to scale up our delivery of discounted flats for sale and rent in London.
Helping to make Help to Buy helpful
Help! The government has its heart in the right place, trying to ‘help’ first time buyers with its Help to Buy schemes… and as of today a new one has launched, the Help to Buy ISA. It can all feel very confusing – we’re not promising to ‘deconfuse’ things completely, but here is a brief summary of how Help to Buy works with Pocket, and links to some nice clear explanations.
Announced in the government’s Spending Review yesterday, ‘London Help to Buy‘ is a punchy new addition to the Help to Buy family. And now that we’ve got our heads around how the Help to Buy equity loan works in principle, we can easily understand the London version. When coupled with the government’s commitment to create 200,000 starter homes, things should be easier for first time buyer in London, which is great news.
In simple terms, from early 2016 first time buyers in London will be able to borrow up to 40% of a new property’s value from the government, interest free for five years. This means that buyers will need to raise a smaller mortgage, which will open the market up to more people on lower incomes. Pocket hope this will help even more first time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder.
Fair to Middling, and how Pocket fits in
The latest report to be published on London’s housing crisis, Fair to Middling, is specifically focused on intermediate housing, whether it’s working, and how it can be improved. The Commission on Intermediate Housing (COIH) was set up following the Centre for London’s 2014 report, Hollow Promise, which highlighted that London needed to prioritise ways of making housing for low- to-middle income earners more affordable. The COIH has been jointly chaired by councillors from two very different London boroughs, Kensington & Chelsea and Haringey, with input from a range of eminent contributors – including Pocket’s very own CEO, Marc Vlessing.