Help to Buy fuels mortgage demand


Demand for mortgages has risen at the fastest rate for six years, according to new figures.

The government’s Help to Buy scheme has been accredited with this boost in mortgages due to its five per cent deposit requirement, making it easier for first-time buyers, according to the Bank of England.

Demand for mortgages in the fourth quarter was the highest since the survey started in 2007, according to the Bank. It expects mortgage availability to continue to increase in 2014, with an “increased willingness” displayed by lenders.

In its Credit Conditions Survey, it said: “Many lenders attributed the increased availability at the highest LTV ratios to participation in the government’s Help to Buy scheme, while some others attributed it to increased competition associated with the scheme.”

The Bank added that lenders expected the average credit quality of new lending to fall over the next quarter.

House prices have surged recently, with the latest statistics from Halifax suggesting there was a 7.5 per cent rise in 2013, even though December saw a drop of 0.6 per cent. Various financial analysts have expressed concern that the scheme will create a housing bubble and have called for it to be diluted or stopped altogether.

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