H2B a rare housing policy success

18 Jun 2014

It is fair to say that the recently published government statistics on the initial take-up of Help to Buy-related mortgages should finally put to bed any further speculation that the scheme is the root of all the UK’s house price increase evils.

Indeed, I have watched the growing clamour in some quarters to tweak, fundamentally change or, in the extreme, immediately cull the scheme with bemusement.

As the figures show Help to Buy in no way can be said to be fuelling house price growth, particularly in London and the South-east, where take-up of the Help to Buy loans is low to say the least and at levels way below average regional prices.

Across the entire country Help to Buy 2 can actually be seen to be helping those in most need – that is (predominantly) first-time buyers who have been effectively locked-out of the market because of the previous lack of high LTV products.

In a very true sense Help to Buy is showing itself to be a rare housing policy success. House-building, as a result of Help to Buy 1, has grown considerably – without it who knows what levels building would be at?

And secondly builders are only going to continue to build properties if they think the mortgage availability will continue to be there to allow people to actually buy property.

Both strands of the Scheme now need to be left alone  – without the misplaced suggestion that prices are being inflated by it – in order to continue to let them work, ensuring ongoing high LTV mortgage availability continues and housing supply grows.

Bob Hunt

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