Housing Minister Grant Shapps today called on key players in the housing industry to work more closely together to help aspiring first time buyers get a foot on the property ladder.
Leading industry figures representing house builders, lenders, insurers, councils and consumer groups attended a summit today held by Mr Shapps, to discuss how they could step up their efforts to help young people who aspire to own their own home.
Ministers called the meeting so there could be a frank and open discussion about all the issues. Practical work that will now be taken forward includes:
- working with homebuilders and lenders to understand the current barriers to the availability of mortgages, and encouraging them to devise new mortgage products that address the challenges faced by first time buyers - such as innovative schemes for parents to support their children into home ownership - for example, the Lloyds Lend a Hand scheme or the Hitachi loan deal, or the new mortgage guarantee scheme launched today by Taylor Wimpey
- increasing new and creative local approaches to shared ownership or equity loans - there are a number of providers looking to expand or facilitate the expansion of the shared ownership or equity loan provision; and
- exploring the barriers to the take-up of mortgage insurance, and looking at the role of mortgage indemnity guarantees for increasing lending to first time buyers.
A key issue to emerge from the meeting is that there is a communication problem between different sectors of the housing industry. Mr Shapps said better communication within the housing industry, including building on the work of the Home Finance Forum, would be vital to helping first time buyers.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:
I called on key figures from across industry to come together today, because we must do more to help aspiring first time buyers - the average age of the first time buyer with no support from their family is now 37, and there are 1.4 million households who aspire to own a home but are simply unable to do so because of house prices and mortgage availability.
I wanted to hear a first hand account of the problems the sector faces, but I also wanted to knock heads together so the needs of young people who want to buy a home are put first. The Government is working with industry to improve the availability of mortgages - but there also needs to be a much more unified effort from across the board to work together, so we can ensure that young people are not locked out of the housing market.
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