Help to Buy concerns are being addressed
Peter Williams is executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association
What has emerged from today’s meeting [on Help to Buy] appears to address concerns that the mortgage guarantee might be exploited by residential landlords and wealthy investors.
Supporting home buyers with good credit histories who cannot afford a deposit is a popular move that will serve a clear purpose in the short-term, providing it doesn’t burden lenders with administrative and reporting requirements.
But despite the Chancellor’s positivity, there are barely five months to go before lenders are expected to make his scheme a reality.
It is encouraging that the Treasury is inviting their views about commercial fees, with the aim of getting as many as possible on board.
But issues like fees and capital relief are fundamental to the scheme’s success and clearly this has been a difficult negotiation.
There is precious little time to settle the finer details before the lights turn ‘green’. It is important the Treasury and the FCA move quickly now to bring all this to a conclusion.
While the government’s commitment to the property market is commendable, this developing saga is symptomatic of the short-term, off-the-hoof announcements behind recent housing ‘policy’. IMLA, RICS and the National Housing Federation have all warned about the long term impact on homeownership if current trends continue, and it does little to inspire confidence in the creation of a clear exit strategy from Help to Buy when even the entry strategy remains unclear.