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Housing bubble fears as UK helps to buy

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 - 02:12

Oct 8 - Britain has kicked off a flagship scheme to help people get on the property ladder, defying critics who believe the state-backed mortgage guarantees could fuel another housing bubble as the country's economy picks up speed. Sonia Legg reports

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Many in Britain long to own a property. But many homes - particularly in London - are well out of their reach. (SOUNDBITE)(English): UNIDENTIFIED PROSPECTIVE HOUSEBUYER, SAYING: "I've got two jobs basically and on both my two jobs I still could not afford to get all the deposit in time - so the fact that the government is helping in terms of that, I think it will be, it will make things much easier." A scheme to get people on the ladder has been launched by the government. It applies to properties up to £600,000 Home owners will only need a small deposit to secure a 95% mortgage. And 15% of that will be guaranteed by the government. But with property prices soaring some fear the scheme is simply fuelling a property bubble. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg admits it must be carefully monitored. (SOUNDBITE)(English): DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, NICK CLEGG, SAYING: "I think if the second part of the Help to buy scheme were to provide finance to people who are not creditworthy and to turn us back to the bad old days of 120% mortgages, of indiscriminate lending, then of course we shouldn't do it at all. Of course we need to be vigilant, of course we need to moderate it, even turn it off." Just hours before the scheme was launched a survey suggested house prices were rising at their fastest pace in 11 years. And some banks - including Barclays and the UK unit of Santander - are thinking twice about joining it. Rabobank's Jane Foley shares their concerns (SOUNDBITE)(English): JANE FOLEY, SENIOR CURRENCY STRATEGIST, RABOBANK, SAYING: "If you look at countries such as Canada, Sweden, Norway, even Australia and New Zealand, they have all used max-prudential measures to try and control mortgage lending and to try and control personal debt over the past few years and there are signs, particualrly in places like Canada, that it is just not working - they have to hike interest rates to control that - so it could be something that is good now but it could release some nasties further down the line." The Bank of England says there's no obvious risk. And most mortgage experts welcome the policy. (SOUNDBITE)(English): RAY BOULGER, MORTGAGE ADVISER, SAYING: "If you make more mortgage funds available to the market then the consequences are the prices will be higher than they wouldn have been without, but I think we are a long way from bubble territory." The scheme comes as the UK's economy is recovering more quickly than expected British firms have just recorded the best growth in domestic trade for at least six years. Many argue the government would be better building more affordable houses instead of funding purchases for those already in great demand. //////

Housing bubble fears as UK helps to buy

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 - 02:12

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