It’s now been almost a month since the Chancellor’s £3.5 billion Help to Buy scheme was introduced across England and I think most of us will agree that it’s had a positive effect on the UK market as a whole. The Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML) have reported UK lending is up 16% in recent months and now looks like the ideal time for people to make their first steps onto the property ladder.
However, as the overall UK market continues to pick up, Scotland is beginning to lag behind. This is something confirmed by CML, who have reported that over the same period lending in Scotland has increased by just 8%.
As a Scottish mortgage broker with branches across the country, I too can confirm that business is booming, yet could increase further still. We will continue to work hard to find our customers the best and most appropriate deals. Without the Help to Buy scheme however, our English neighbours are getting a much needed leg-up and forging ahead.
The Help to buy scheme is crucial in giving people with low incomes and small deposits the help they need to get on to the housing ladder. Since the introduction of Help to Buy, our offices have received record numbers of calls from first time buyers looking to make this step; we want to be able to help more of you with your search. The lenders are continuing to innovate by offering more flexible and accessible products but without deposits of at least 10% LTV, they simply have to turn customers away.
Currently Scotland’s housing market is on the up but it could be improved on. By the end of this year I hope to see a Help to Buy equivalent introduced, coupled with an extension to the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending scheme. I see this combination (as demonstrated in England) as being the real key for sustained growth in Scotland’s housing market today.