CML highlights NI affordability

David French

June 14, 2006

Addressing guests at the CML Northern Ireland annual lunch, CML chairman Jon Pain said that lenders were working on new products designed to help first-time buyers into home-ownership.

Pain said: “Lenders are working hard to help consumers afford their mortgages while maintaining the standards of responsible lending and sustainable home-ownership…For example, lenders have developed ‘graduate’ mortgages in response to young first-time buyers with strong future earnings potential.”

“Many lenders allow parents to guarantee their children’s mortgage subject to their own financial position, and many lenders offer joint mortgages to allow first-time buyers to club together.”

But he warned that lenders cannot tackle the affordability issue on their own. The government needs to consider new ways of helping people on to the property ladder in a sustainable way. At present, the Co-ownership and House Sales Schemes operate in Northern Ireland, but Mr Pain raised the question of whether or not other measures – such as HomeBuy in England and Wales, and Homestake in Scotland – could play a part in addressing affordability constraints in Northern Ireland.

He concluded by welcoming the housing study being undertaken by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Universities of Ulster and Glasgow.

Jon Pain said: “This is absolutely critical because a comprehensive analysis on land use and the role of various sorts of housing will help inform the affordability debate. The CML has been actively involved in this study…and we look forward to participating on the recommendations when they emerge.”

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