Saturday, 12 October 2013

Will the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme trigger a 'Boom and Bust' legacy for the Conservative Party?

The mortgage guarantee scheme is designed to help first-time buyers and existing property owners move up the housing ladder providing borrowers with a 5% deposit the opportunity to buy property worth up to £600,000.

The Government will guarantee up to 15% of the loan at a cost to the lender, allowing the borrower to access cheaper mortgage deals.

This differs from the first stage of Help to Buy.   That scheme allows people taking their first step onto the property ladder to borrow up to 20% of the value of a new build home from the Government, interest-free for the first five years.

Borrowers need a 5% deposit and must take out a mortgage to cover the remaining 75% of the cost of the property.

After the five-year interest-free period ends, borrowers will be charged a fee of 1.75% of the loan’s value. This fee will increase every year at 1% above inflation.

These fees only count toward the Government loan and come on top of the mortgage repayments. Borrowers must pay back the equity loan when they sell the home or at the end of the mortgage period - whichever comes first.

The mortgage guarantee scheme  - Help to Buy 2 - is available to both first-time buyers and existing homeowners buying new build and older properties.

Borrowers will need a 5% deposit, while the lender will be able to buy a guarantee from the Government covering up to 15% of the value of the property.

Both phases of the scheme are available on properties worth up to £600,000.

So what are the pitfalls?

If house prices fall, hundreds of thousands of buyers on the scheme could be left in negative equity.

If a property is repossessed because of default of the borrower, the Government will guarantee 75% of the part of the loan above 80% of the loan to value. The borrower will meet the other 25%.   If there is insufficient funds to meet the loan the borrower will still be liable to the lender for the whole of the loan even the part guaranteed by the Government.

The other key question is whether mortgages offered through the scheme will actually be any cheaper than those on the market at the moment, and whether enough lenders will take part.

Banks need to pay a charge to have their mortgages guaranteed by the Government, so are likely to build this sum into the total cost of the loan.  It is likely that a sum equivalent to 1% of the value of the property is to be placed into a reserve to cover defaulters.  The cost of this will be passed onto the borrower.

Are these schemes the real solution to Britain’s housing crisis?  Will they not keep house prices artificially high, giving people no choice but to take out large loans that could run out of control if interest rates rise?

Cambridge University study found last year that although shared ownership schemes allow them to buy their first home, they do nothing to help them buy their next home.

Cynics will say all of this amounts to nothing other than political engineering reminiscent of the type of policy that led to the ‘boom and bust’ years.  Ironic in some way given this is a Conservative policy.     We will just need to see what time brings. 

MJP Conveyancing  are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at

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