Budget 2021: Mortgage guarantee to help buyers with 5% depositon February 27, 2021 at 4:27 am

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Boris Johnson says “generation rent” can become “generation buy” through new government-backed loans.

For Sale and Sold signs outside houses in north London

image copyrightPA Media

A new mortgage guarantee scheme to help people with small deposits get on the property ladder is set to be announced at next week’s Budget.

The government will offer incentives to lenders, bringing back 95% mortgages which have “virtually disappeared” during the pandemic, the Treasury said.

The new scheme is not restricted to first-time buyers or new-build homes, but there will be a £600,000 limit.

Boris Johnson said he wants “generation rent” to become “generation buy”.

The prime minister added: “Young people shouldn’t feel excluded from the chance of owning their own home and now it will be easier than ever to get onto the property ladder.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak – who will unveil the scheme in a Commons speech on Wednesday – added: “Owning a home is a dream for millions and we want to help as many people as possible.”

The coronavirus pandemic has meant there are few low-deposit mortgages available, the Treasury said, with just eight on the market in January.

Low-deposit mortgages are often seen as riskier by banks as they are more vulnerable to negative changes in property prices – meaning people hold more debt than their home is worth.

Under the new scheme, which will launch across the UK in April, the government will offer to take on some of this risk.

New homes are seen being built on November 07, 2020 in Congleton, Cheshire

image copyrightGetty Images

Lenders will be given the option to purchase a government guarantee that will compensate them for a portion of their losses in the event a buyer cannot keep up with mortgage payments, the Treasury said.

Mortgages with fixed rates for at least five years will also be offered.

The latest scheme is based on the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme, which was introduced under David Cameron’s government in 2013 and closed to new loans at the end of 2016.

The Treasury said that policy “reinvigorated the market for high loan-to-value lending after the 2008 financial crisis” and enabled 100,000 households to buy a property across the UK.

Of these, 80% were purchases by first-time buyers, statistics showed. But housing charity Shelter said the scheme increased house prices by 1.4%.

The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme was distinct from the Help to Buy equity loan scheme that still allows first-time buyers in England to take out a government loan to put towards the cost of buying a newly-built home.

The price of a typical UK home has surpassed £250,000 for the first time in recent months, according to the Halifax.

The new scheme could coincide with the end of a stamp duty holiday in England and Northern Ireland, which is due to end on 31 March, though this may yet be extended.

Labour has criticised the government for a “stop, start” approach to support measures during the pandemic.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds told the Times that the Conservatives’ approach to furlough and other economic support measures showed “a failure of confidence” and had “led to greater negative economic impact”, resulting in job losses.

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak said he will use the Budget to level with the British people about the state of the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Explaining the government’s economic response to the pandemic, Mr Sunak told the Financial Times: “We went big, we went early, but there is more to come and there will be more to come in the Budget. But there is a challenge [in the public finances] and I want to level with people about the challenge.”

He added: “I will do whatever it takes to protect the British people through this crisis and I remain committed to that.”

Next week’s announcement is also expected to include a new £100m taskforce to crack down on fraudsters who have exploited support schemes, such as furlough.

Tax officials have opened about 10,000 inquiries into suspected fraudulent activity, the government said.

Elsewhere, a £126m boost for traineeships in England will also be announced on Wednesday.

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