Bid to get people on housing ladder welcomed

GOVERNMENT proposals to get more people get on the housing ladder have been welcomed by the leader of Crawley Borough Council.

First-time buyers could pay as little as a five per cent deposit on new-build homes and have their mortgage guaranteed by the government, according to the plans.

The measures are intended to stimulate the housing market by encouraging lending.

Council leader Bob Lanzer also welcomed an option of allowing social housing tenants to buy their homes for as little as half the market value, with the money raised used to build more social housing.

He said: “I support this initiative, which is backed by a government policy commitment to locally replace homes bought through Right to Buy, on a one-for-one basis. This policy would preserve the social housing stock.”

An opposition councillor said the scheme was ‘out of touch’.

Peter Lamb, Labour councillor for Northgate, said: “What Crawley desperately needs is more affordable housing, 8,000 new properties over the next 20 years to be exact. The government’s scheme is out of touch with local needs.”

Mr Lanzer said the mortgage guarantee scheme would not encourage irresponsible lending.

He said: “The government is launching a mortgage indemnity scheme whereby it underwrites part of the risk to lenders. There is still an obligation on the part of lenders to make sensible decisions and to assist borrowers to make the right choices as well. This is a fact re-learnt through the recession.

“There will be a long-term benefit from this indirect public sector investment in the housing market. When that market gets moving, there are benefits for everyone including a return on the state investment, in the form of new tax revenues.”