Mortgages: Eligibility — [Mr Philip Hollobone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 23rd October 2017.

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Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Chair, International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, Chair, International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact 4:30 pm, 23rd October 2017

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered e-petition 186565 relating to eligibility for mortgages.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hollobone. The petition, which has attracted 147,307 signatures, reads:

“Make paying rent enough proof that you are able meet mortgage repayments”.

The petitioner, Jamie Jack Pogson, goes on to say:

“Since living on my own I have paid £70,000+ in rent on time yet still struggle to get a mortgage. Unless you’re getting handouts, wealthy or in receipt of inheritance it’s almost impossible. I want paying rent on time to be recognized as evidence that mortgage re-payments can be met.”

The broken housing market is one of the greatest barriers to social progress in Britain today. Whether buying or renting, housing is increasingly unaffordable, particularly for ordinary working-class people who are struggling to get by. The number of people getting joint ownership mortgages has gone up to 74% from 66% 20 years ago because of the need for two people’s incomes. The average age of first-time buyers is also creeping up. Deposits have increased significantly to £48,000 on average across the country. Here in London—I am a London MP—it costs £94,000 on average to get a deposit.

The key to fixing the housing market is clearly to build more homes, which is why the Government are committed to delivering 1 million more homes by the end of 2020. However, finding a deposit is still one of the biggest problems that people face when looking to buy a new home. The Government’s Help to Buy schemes have helped more than 320,000 people across the UK to buy a new home, including more than 275,000 first-time buyers. The equity loan scheme provides buyers with an equity loan of up to 20% of the value of a new-build property, which is repayable once the home is sold. I am pleased by the recent announcement of a further £10 billion investment in the scheme to help an estimated 135,000 new buyers and to ensure that the scheme can continue to 2021.

Since the equity loan scheme’s launch, more than 130,000 properties have been bought with the support of the equity loan scheme; the majority—81%—were bought by first-time buyers. The scheme has not just helped people to buy a new home. Industry experts have also credited Help to Buy with boosting supply and generating benefits for communities, councils and the Exchequer. The London Help to Buy scheme offers an equity loan of up to 40% for Londoners who have a 5% deposit. The help to buy ISA will also continue to help people to save up for their first home by providing them with a maximum Government bonus of £3,000 on £12,000 of savings—a boost of 25%. However, far too many hard-working young people from all walks of life are still struggling to get a foot on the property ladder.