Help to Buy accounts for 1.3% of UK mortgages

Thursday 29 May 2014 12.26
Critics of Help to Buy believe it adds to the risks of a price bubble in the housing market
Critics of Help to Buy believe it adds to the risks of a price bubble in the housing market

Britain's government has said that its controversial Help to Buy mortgage guarantee programme accounted for a little over a percent of all mortgages issued in Britain in its first six months in existence.

The finance ministry also said 80% of the 7,313 mortgages taken out through the scheme between October and the end of March went to first-time buyers.

The government began guaranteeing mortgages worth up to 95% of the value of a property in October. 

It said it wanted to help people unable to afford big deposits get on the property ladder.

The launch of the scheme coincided with a rapid rebound in the UK housing market and prices are now rising at about 10% a month.

Critics of Help to Buy have said it adds to the risks of a price bubble in the housing market. 

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has suggested Help to Buy should be scaled back.

Bank of England policy makers have also expressed concern about the pace of the housing market recovery.
   
The total value of mortgages supported by the scheme only totalled just over £1 billion to the end of March, the finance ministry said.
   
Despite its small scale so far, some analysts noted the programme was growing in size month by month and said it could have wider implications for the housing market.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney recently noted the potentially broader impact of Help to Buy if it encourages riskier mortgage lending by banks outside the programme.

"It's a pretty targeted programme, it's a relatively small programme at this point but it could grow a lot and it could change attitudes in other parts of the mortgage market, that's why we have to be vigilant," Carney said earlier this month.

The Bank of England is expected to announce further mortgage controls, possibly as soon as the June meeting of its Financial Policy Committee. The FPC was set up to avert recklessness in the financial system.