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Region welcomes Chancellor's "bold" Help-to-Buy scheme
HOUSE builders and estate agents in the region today welcomed “bold” measures to get the housing market moving, although critics said the Chancellor’s Help-to-Buy scheme did not go far enough.
The initiative offers shared equity loans worth £3.5bn with the Government loaning house buyers up to 20 per cent of the value of a new build home.
The Government will also guarantee mortgages with the aim of encouraging lenders to make more loans available for people with small deposits. This measure will support mortgages worth up to £130bn.
Michael Poole, of Michael Poole Estate Agents, in Middlesbrough, regional executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, said he was pleased the housing market had received attention from the chancellor, although a reduction in stamp duty would have been top of his wish-list.
Mr Poole said the region’s housing market was in reasonable shape, but added: “Measures which help sell more houses have got to be good news for everybody.”
Share prices of some house builders went up by as much as seven per cent today (FRIDAY) on the back of the announcement by Mr Osborne.
The initiative broadens out a previous scheme called First Buy, which has been offering equity loans to first-time buyers only. Help-to-Buy offers a helping hand to home movers as well as first-time buyers.
Steve Roche, group communications director of York-based Persimmon Homes, also welcomed the scheme.
“We believe that these two initiatives complement the schemes currently available and will help create much-needed movement within all levels of the housing market.”
Stephen McCoy, managing director of residential developer Linden Homes North East and Galliford Try Partnerships North, said he was “delighted” with the initiative.
“This support from Government will boost the national economy and the house building industry, and help fulfil the demand for more housing in the UK.”
Help-to-Buy would “inject life back into the mortgage market”, said David Newnes, director of North-East-based LSL Property Services, owners of Your Move and Reeds Rains.
He added: “It will kick start new house building and will help potential buyers realise their dream of owning a first home.”
Ted Salmon, North-East regional chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The Help-to-Buy scheme is a bold move from the Chancellor to boost the industry and to get people onto the housing ladder.”
National Housing Federation North-East lead manager Monica Burns said she welcomed the Chancellor’s “realisation that people around the country including the North-East were struggling to buy their own homes”.
However, she added: “The danger is that if we don’t tackle the fact we’re still not building enough homes, we’ll just create another housing bubble that will continue to push house prices up and out of reach of the majority.”