Homes bid welcomed

EFFORTS to ‘unstick’ the housing market by underwriting mortgages and injecting �400million into schemes which have stalled through lack of finance have been broadly welcomed in East Anglia.

Prime Minister David Cameron has unveiled plans to turn dreams of home ownership into reality for more people as the gap between price and affordability puts it out of many prospective owners’ reach.

A Government report, Laying The Foundations: A Housing Strategy For England, sets out policies to revive the industry and solve the homes shortage, such as boosting right-to-buy council home discounts.

Ipswich Building Society welcomed the Government’s aim of creating more than 400,000 new homes and introduce a new mortgage indemnity scheme where buyers can borrow up to 95% of the property’s value with Government underwriting part of the risk, but said more needs to be done at Government level to keep the housing market moving.

Labour has branded the action “small beer” and insisted far more is needed to get the economy going again.

The Federation of Master Builders said the plans were “not radical enough”, arguing it did little to help small and medium-sized housebuilders.

Ipswich Building Society chief executive Paul Winter gave a cautious welcome to proposals to support higher loan to value mortgages, saying the process needed to be simple.

Most Read

“The number of new homes being built is at its lowest level since World War II so there is a strong demand for more housing,” he said.

“The society therefore welcomes the prospect of more funding for affordable housing.”

A spokesman for construction firm ISG Jackson, which employs 230 people at its Ipswich headquarters, said it “very much welcomed” any moves to support house building, and the social housing sector. “It’s a massive win for everyone,” he said. “Construction is such a driver of economic growth. A healthy building sector is a healthy economy.”

Orwell Housing Association boss Stephen Javes welcomed the prospect of new homes and jobs. The key thing was to give young people, through shared equity, access to homes, he said.

Any help is good news,” he said. “The devil will be in the detail.”

Fears have been growing of a “perfect storm” in housing, with construction at its lowest since the Second World War, mortgage lending tightly restricted, and rent and purchase prices stubbornly high.

More public land is being made available for development, and money has been earmarked to bring empty houses back into use. The �400m Get Britain Building fund will target housebuilding schemes that have stalled through a lack of development finance. It is set to “unlock” the construction of up to 16,000 homes.