Think tank calls for major reform of buy-to-let market

The popularity of the buy-to-let market is making it difficult for many people, including first-time buyers and families, to become home owners, according to a report by thinktank Onward.

Although the government has curbed tax relief on mortgage interest and maintenance for landlords, the think tank believes that this is not enough and is calling on the government to intervene by reducing the number of tax breaks available to landlords and reforming the planning system in favour of community-led developments.

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MP Neil O’Brien, author of the report said: ‘We need to change the balance between the rented sector and home ownership. We should protect existing landlords but discourage more people from investing in rental property, because the buy-to-let boom has bid up prices and reduced homeownership among younger people.’

The report suggests that local councils should have more power to shape and create new settlements with services and links to public transport, in line with other European countries.

Meanwhile, a separate report has suggested that single first-time buyers in England and Wales will take over 10 years to build up a deposit of 15% on their first home. For couples, the amount of time it takes to save up for the same deposit would be halved, at five years.

This does vary depending on location, income and outgoings, with single homebuyers in London taking an average of 17 years to save up for a 15% deposit, while those in the North East take around six years.

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