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Comparing Housing Markets: US vs. the Rest of the World

A guest Post today –

In both the US and UK, times couldn’t be much tougher for first-time buyers. Those hoping to sell their properties find that few people are able to afford a mortgage, while those aspiring to become homeowners for the first time are hampered by sky-high property prices. In both countries, the market for first time buyers isn’t in great health, but there are subtle differences.

United States

Those who own properties are being advised by some lenders to check whether their mortgage is owned by them – beleaguered bank Fannie Mae are doing this via one of their sister sites. Struggling homeowners are eligible for schemes like HARP and HAMP if they have borrowed from Fannie Mae.

Those looking to buy a new home for the first time can also take advantage of something called Homepath. It’s designed to make home ownership less expensive for those on modest incomes, while, if successful, it might also help to stimulate a housing market which has been rocked by mass foreclosures.

For those unable to buy due to financial constraints, there are a handful of ways in which the government is helping to reduce the burden of paying rent. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a number of schemes in place to help tenants and landlords who might otherwise struggle to own or rent a property of any description.

United Kingdom

In the UK, many of the same problems that affect first-time buyers across the Atlantic are persistent, namely high house prices. Paperwork and a perceived lack of value on offer from mortgage providers are other issues they might face.

Totally Money came up with a first-time buyers guide which explains in full the ins and outs of applying for a mortgage and setting up a first home. Every aspect of applying for a mortgage, from the biggest to smallest details, are laid out in full.

As in the US, the government have launched a few schemes to help buyers get onto the first rung of the property ladder. Help to Buy, for example, is designed to make buying a home more affordable for people on average incomes.

First-time buyers here also have to be wary of a number of costs they may incur. Stamp duty, valuation fees, solicitors’ costs and, in some cases, mortgage brokers’ fees are all possible expenses first-time buyers may face according to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

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