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News Review

Government extends homeowner help By Sarah Davidson

Housing minister Grant Shapps announced late last month that the government FirstBuy scheme designed to help first-time buyers access new build homes would be extended for all buyers. The NewBuy scheme has a

March 2012 launch date and will mean buyers can borrow 95% of a new build proper- ty’s value backed in part by a government insurance guar- antee and in part by build- ers. It will be available to UK citizens for new build houses and flats up to £500,000. Shapps also said the gov- ernment was determined to put housing on centre stage and had identified enough land to build 80,000 new homes. It is now working with nine government depart- ments and organisations in- cluding the BBC, Network Rail and Royal Mail to find even more unused sites for house building, mean- ing ministers are on course to release enough land for 100,000 homes by 2015. Shapps said: “The pattern of the past has been to pro-

duce endless policies and initiatives that simply gather dust on Whitehall shelves and lead to inaction and in- ertia.

“But with the Prime Min- ister putting housing centre stage on the road to econom- ic recovery, I am determined that we shall not repeat these mistakes of the past. “That’s why I’m pulling out all the stops for those who want to get on the prop- erty ladder, so from March the NewBuy Guarantee Scheme will be on hand to help people buying newly built properties with just a fraction of the deposit they would normally need.” Grenville Turner, chief

executive of Countrywide, said: “We are pleased to see that the NewBuy Guarantee Scheme will be accessible to the wider home buying pop- ulation and not just limited to first-time buyers. “As deposit affordability continues to be one of the most restrictive barriers to purchasing a property, we are seeing a greater level of competiveness from lenders in the higher loan to value

mortgage range and opening up the restrictions on pro- spective buyers who can ac- cess the NewBuy Guarantee Scheme can only be a good thing for the market.”

“I am determined that we shall not repeat these mistakes of the past. That’s why I’m pulling out all the stops for those who want to get on the property ladder”

Lenders join the fray Meanwhile Halifax Interme- diaries has upped its loan to value on new build houses to 90% on a limited basis in line with its core range of mort- gage products. The deals are available through selected house builders only and via a lim- ited distribution of brokers.

A Halifax spokeswoman

said: “This move recognises changes in the new build market and will allow us to support those unable to meet larger deposit require- ments.” The products will be avail-

able for new build houses built by Barratts, Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey and their subsidiaries. “These builders have been selected following a very thorough review process,” added the spokeswoman. “However we will assess the list of participating builders on an ongoing basis.” The maximum LTV will

remain at 80% for new build flats and all new build houses not through one of the named builders. It will remain at 65% for buy-to- let lending. Halifax did not confirm which brokers were able to access the deal. Leeds also launched a

2-year discount mortgage at 5.25% available up to 95% loan to value last month and Moneyfacts said in January there were 49 mortgages available at 95% LTV as op- posed to 24 in January 2011.

Variable. Fixed. Discount. BTL products.


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