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Mortgage Lenders Worried Help-To-Buy Will Distort UK Property Market

Mortgage Lenders Worried Help-To-Buy Will Distort UK Property Market

Help-To-Buy Controversy Continues

The latest figures released by the popular property finding portal, Rightmove.co.uk coincide with the news that UK based mortgage lenders are worried that the second phase of the Government’s Help-To-Buy scheme risks distorting the true health of the UK property market.

The British Bankers Association (BBA) is a governing body that represents all the banks that are currently participating in the scheme including those who are planning to participate in it in the future, has called for Government clarification on the proposed exit strategy from the Help-To-Buy scheme, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.The news comes just 2 weeks before the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne’s Autumn Statement on 5th December.

In a submission to HM Treasury, the BBA said, “Some members of the BBA are participating in the Government’s Help-To-Buy scheme, but further clarification is needed on exit strategies.”

Mortgage applications worth £365 Million (GBP) have been received since the second phase of the Help-To-Buy scheme was launched on 1st October 2013, to help aspiring home buyers get a foot on the property ladder.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Halifax and Bank of Scotland started offering residential mortgages under the umbrella of the Help-To-Buy scheme last month and mortgage lenders representing most of the UK mortgage market have confirmed they will eventually come on board, in order to capture a share of the market.

The Government initiative makes it easier for mainstream mortgage lenders to offer higher value mortgages with deposits as low as 5% by removing some of the risk they would face if the borrower defaults on repayments, because the mortgage products are underwritten by the Government as Spotlight has previously reported.

The Government are very happy to be underwriting Help-To-Buy mortgages because they are listed as a second charge on the mortgage, increasing the Governments property assets, allowing them to borrow money against their portion of the residential properties purchased under the Help-To-Buy scheme.

At least property investors enter the property market with an exit strategy in mind, but the Government have yet to reveal how they intend to exit from the property market when the scheme ends. No wonder mortgage companies are worried!

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) have stated that UK mortgage lending hit a two-year high in August 2012.

Mortgage availability has been increasing since an £80 Billion (GBP) funding for lending scheme was launched at the start of August 2012, although much of this has only been made available to residential property buyers with deposits of at least 20%.

Mortgage lenders toughened borrowing criteria following the credit crunch and many estate agents are still reporting that residential and Buy to let mortgages are no easier to obtain, with lenders picking through every detail of all applications.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said increase in asking prices “is most likely attributable to the continued shortage of new property supply. Sellers need to be mindful that the window of opportunity to sell before the traditional winter slowdown is a narrow one, and they risk being left out in the cold for months until the spring market thaw. In addition, estate agents are reporting that mortgages are still no easier to obtain, with risk-averse lenders nit-picking every detail of the mortgage application paperwork, even from buyers who seem squeaky clean.”

Rightmove said its own research has found that fewer than 40% of would-be buyers would arrange to visit a property they believe to be over-priced, even if it matches their criteria.

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