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Osborne rejects lowering Help to Buy cap

Ryan Fowler

February 5, 2014

The chancellor of the exchequer rubbished claims that the scheme, which can be used to buy properties worth up to £600,000, was forming a housing bubble, saying it was doing exactly what it was designed to do.

He did acknowledge however that demand for housing would likely outstrip supply for the next 10 years.

Osborne said: “Across the board we’re pulling a lot of levers [to try to stimulate supply] but this is a historic problem in the UK.

“It’s definitely been a recovery that has been led by the consumer rather than by investment or exports [but] the consumer has been spending out of income rather than debt, so this is not a debt fuelled consumer recovery.”

The chancellor said that the average value of a home bought using the mortgage guarantee part of Help to Buy was just £150,000, and that most applicants were first-time buyers living outside London.

He added: “Despite quite a lot of predictions by people that it would only be used for £600,000 homes in London, that turns out not to be the case. It’s being used by many families who would otherwise not have the change of owning their own home.

“The pre-cursors of Help to Buy – FirstBuy and HomeBuy – all had quite a lot of restrictions placed around them, and were not as effective as Help to Buy has been in a very short space of time. So when we were designing Help to Buy we wanted to make it a simple, easy to access scheme.”


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