West Brom calls for FTB Budget help

Amanda Jarvis

March 21, 2006

The number of FTBs is at its lowest level for 25 years, with an estimated 320,000 buyers stepped onto the housing ladder last year, the lowest since 1980. 50 per cent of FTBs have insufficient savings to pay a deposit to buy their first home; many have escalating personal debt, which is out of control.

Andrew Messenger, chief executive of the West Bromwich Building Society, has called on the Chancellor to raise the Stamp Duty minimum threshold to £200,000 to help FTBs.

Messenger would like to see:
– The removal the biggest burden for FTBs – the upfront cost of Stamp Duty, which must be raised from £120,000 to £200,000 as the average house price in the UK for FTBs now stands at more than £152,000.
– Raising of Inheritance Tax threshold to £500,000 in line with house price inflation.

Ways West Bromwich is helping FTBs:
The Society’s First-time buyer proposition aims to improve the position of people who are struggling to get a foothold on the property ladder:

– Low start repayment with interest only for the first five years.
– Professional mortgage allowing key workers to borrow more, such as doctors, teachers, nurses.
– Guarantor from family members
– Lending in partnership with Housing Associations
– Special products and expert advice
– Affordability assessment to increase to multiple of 5x income
– 100 per cent shared ownership schemes
– Offset mortgage with family contribution to reduce mortgage term or monthly repayments.

Messenger also urged the Chancellor to adopt a bold approach in his budget on pensions and savings:

“On Wednesday, the Chancellor has the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of enormous numbers of people so that those worried about retirement, or young people looking to buy their first home, can feel genuine hope. At the West Brom, we are already taking steps to help this come about, but the Chancellor is in a pivotal position to ensure this help goes much further by taking the steps we have proposed. I urge him to listen.”

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