Gentrification in Hackney is leaving local residents locked out of the housing market, a new report suggests.
Savills estate agents found that Hackney was home to four of the five wards with the fastest-growing house prices in London. The £350,000 to £400,000 price bracket has seen rises of up to 30 percent in the borough since 2007.
The report concluded that while an increase in bars, restaurants and clubs has improved Hackney’s hotspot reputation, local residents are being increasingly priced out as the Help to Buy scheme instead encourages more affluent first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder.
Hoxton had the highest price rises in the borough, followed by Hackney Marshes and Victoria Park. A seven-bedroom house on Victoria Park Road is currently on the market for £4m. The average income in Hackney is £26,390.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins told the Hackney Post that the Help to Buy scheme had “captured the imaginations of the public” and was helping to boost the supply of new homes across the country.
“Housebuilding is growing at its fastest rate for 10 years, and the decisions we’ve taken to tackle the deficit have kept interest rates low and are now delivering real help to hardworking people.”
But potential first-time buyers say the scheme puts them at a disadvantage. Lawyer Sarah Cragg, 22, currently rents in Hackney, but fears she will never realise her dream of owning a place of her own. She said: “It feels like buying a property in the city will never be an option for me. ‘Help to Buy’ only appears to contribute to the rising prices rather than help solve the problems with the housing market.
“If I want to own a house I’ll have to move away and my job prospects will suffer.”
Surveyors are also concerned about the effect the Help to Buy scheme will have on the housing market.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) warned of a “housing bubble” that could burst when interest levels rise later this decade. House prices are now expected to rise by 23% in London over the next five years.