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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Why help to buy won’t help most people

This week the governments help to buy scheme is launched across the UK how this will go is unclear but we can be sure this wont benefit most ordinary people. The scheme which offers would-be homebuyers interest-free loans of up to 20 per cent of the cost of a newly built property (up to a value of £600,000) and requires a deposit of just 5 per cent. Announcing Help to Buy in his recent Budget, the Chancellor George Osborne said the deposits now required for mortgages have put homeownership beyond the reach of those who can't get help from their parents. His Help to Buy solution has two parts. First is the shared equity loan where the government will lend up to 20% of the cost of a new-build property to anyone who has raised a 5% deposit themselves. The loan is interest-free for five years and can be repaid at any time, or when the buyer sells the house. With the government's 20% and your 5%, you'll get access to the more attractive mortgage rates afforded to those with a 25% deposit to put down. This kind of help was previously only available to first-time buyers with family incomes below £60,000 under the NewBuy scheme, but Help to Buy will be available to anyone who wants to buy a new home, on any income. The scheme only applies to properties worth less than £600,000, but the Chancellor says this covers more than 90% of all homes. The second part of the government's promise is its Mortgage Guarantee, which will be offered to anyone who wants to buy a home - existing or new-build - but can't afford the deposit. It will be open to all homeowners, subject to the usual checks, and the same property value limit of £600,000 will apply. So would this help people like me who are struggling to afford to move to and get my own place? Probably not as I don’t have the cash behind me to do this plus rents age still far too high in the area I live in. “Young people today haven’t got a chance of buying a house at a reasonable price, even with rock-bottom interest rates. The Nationwide Building Society data shows that the average first-time buyer in London is paying over 50 per cent of their take-home pay in mortgage payments – and that is when interest rates are close to zero.” Homeless charity Shelter and PricedOut - a campaign group for first-time buyers and owner-occupiers - however, are among those opposed to the help to buy scheme. Shelter says the money would be better spent building more homes. Chief executive Campbell Robb said: "This Budget was a huge missed opportunity to build enough homes to make sure our children will have a stable and affordable place of their own. Helping a small number of first-time buyers today will do little to meet the aspirations of young families tomorrow." PricedOut spokesperson Duncan Stott said: "Pumping more money into a housing market with chronic under-supply has one sure-fire outcome: pushing up house prices. At best it may help a small number of new buyers, but it will mean housing becomes more expensive for all those that follow." Only a mass council housing programme can start to help the housing crisis which is getting worse by the month. Coupled with a capping of rents to a fair level too will help hugely too.

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