The number of purchasers benefiting from support through the Isle of Man Government’s first-time home buyers schemes has fallen to all-time lows, with just 20 first-time purchasers being assisted last financial year. This data comes from a new analysis conducted by the Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance of information released by the Isle of Man Department of Infrastructure under Freedom of Information Act protections.
This is a fall of over 90% in the number of first-time home buyers being assisted in the last financial year from an all-time high of 223 assisted purchases in the 2005/06 financial year. This is reflective of a long-term trend, where first-time home buyers schemes assisted an average of over 100 purchases per year during the decade of the 2000s, falling to an average of under 50 purchases per year during the decade of the 2010s.
Rather than being an outlier during the pandemic, the 2020/21 financial year showed a continued decline in support given to first-time home buyers. The number of purchases supported has dropped substantially from 49 in 2015/16, 35 in 2016/17, 29 in 2017/18, 31 in 2018/19, 25 in 2019/20, and 20 in 2020/21.
“Like many other complicated Government schemes, the Isle of Man Government has attempted to arbitrarily help a narrow group of people, without addressing the underlying problem. We simply have more demand for housing than supply, which means that housing is increasingly inaccessible to people on the Isle of Man,” said Michael Josem of the Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance. “Taxpayers could save money on these narrow and complicated schemes if the Government simply allowed people to build enough housing to satisfy demand for housing on the Isle of Man. This would not only make housing more accessible, but it would create jobs and help protect our environment.”
Throughout this article, the word “purchasers” has been used to refer to people benefiting from first time home buyer schemes in the Isle of Man. Each “purchaser” might be an individual person or two (or more) people purchasing a home jointly. Data is not currently available on the number of individual humans who have benefited from these schemes.
Since 1999, the Isle of Man Government has operated a number of different schemes to support first-time buyers with various eligibility criteria:
- HPAS 1999 – House Purchase Assistance Scheme 1999
- HPAS 2002 – House Purchase Assistance Scheme 2002
- Over 45s – House Purchase (Persons Aged 45 or Over) Assistance Scheme 2005
- HPAS 2007 – House Purchase Assistance Scheme 2007
- HPAS 2012 – House Purchase Assistance Scheme 2012
- SEPA FHF 2014 – Shared Equity Purchase Assistance (First Home Fixed) Scheme 2014
- SEPA FHC 2014 – Shared Equity Purchase Assistance (First Home Choice) Scheme
This article has not distinguished between the different schemes that operate on the Isle of Man.