Scheme should help thousands get on housing ladder according to HBF and RICS

First-time buyers are to benefit from a £250m cash injection to help them onto the property ladder. Around 10,000 people buying newly built homes are expected to receive 20% of the cost from the Government and the builder in low interest loans to put towards a deposit.

The loans will have to be for first-time buyers earning less than £60,000 jointly and who are looking to purchase a newly built home. Mr Osborne hopes the policy will help to support 40,000 construction jobs.

Brian Green, commentator on construction economics

Yes, there was plenty to perk up the new build housing market with the Home Builders Federation getting what it wanted in a replacement for HomeBuy Direct.

But one observation I would make is that the forecast from the Office of Budget Responsibility within the Budget documents presents a picture of real earnings under much more pressure now than last year’s Budget forecast suggested. That is because inflation is well above expectations.

If we start from a base of 100 in 2009 and use the use the RPI measure of inflation, real earnings fall are expected to fall to about 93.1 by the end of 2012. This compares with a figure of 96.4, if you do the same calculation with last year’s forecast. What was expected to be a nasty squeeze now looks a lot nastier.

That means, from where we are now, that there will be less money for home improvements and potential homebuyers will be much harder pressed.”

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist

Access to equity loans could help many people who thought they were locked out of home ownership take their first step on the housing ladder.

Opening up the housing market to first time buyers will be essential to help support economic growth. This is a key area as the lack of mortgage lending has significantly reduced the number of homes being bought and sold which in turn has led to low housing housebuilding levels. Although it would not be a solution to all housing problems this could represent the first step towards a vibrant and sustainable property market and assist the economy recovery.

Stewart Baseley, HBF executive chairman

The HBF commented: Introducing ’Firstbuy’ is a vital and extremely positive move to help thousands of potential FTBs currently being thwarted by the chronic lack of mortgage availability. The HBF has long campaigned for the introduction of this measure which will also ensure more homes are built, providing a much needed economic boost to local economies up and down the country and creating tens of thousands of jobs.’

Baseley said: “We are pleased the Government is listening to industry concerns and has recognised the economic and social benefits of building more homes. With Firstbuy the Government has stepped up with a policy that will help first time buyers, boost economic growth and provide a vital shot in the arm for the house-building industry.”

David Orr, National Housing Federation chief executive

First-time buyers have effectively been locked out of the housing market since the credit crunch by the mortgage drought.

Only those lucky few who have been able to put down huge deposits up front have had any chance of getting a foot on the property ladder up until now.

This scheme will offer first-time buyers on moderate incomes a much needed helping hand towards buying an affordable home and is a very welcome move.

Pete Redfern, Taylor Wimpey, chief executive

We are pleased to see George Osborne’s announcement about FBD in today’s budget. Whilst we control our use of shared equity schemes carefully, we do believe that they have a place given the current challenges in the mortgage market. This new government scheme will allow us to maximise our support to FTBs whilst focusing more of our capital on investment in new sites.

Graham Kean, head of public sector at EC Harris

The Chancellor unveiled a £250 million shared equity fund (very similar to the previous government’s Homebuy Direct initiative) and underpinned by the Bank Levy; targeted at the first time buyer market. This fund is only for new build homes also providing support to house builders. It is believed that the Government will contribute 10%, house builder 10% and the purchaser only 5% of the cost of a newly built home; making a 25% deposit of considerable interest to the mortgage market. This is most welcomed, but does not address the crisis in the second hand housing market, which is suffering hugely from an inability to sell houses and for families to move as their needs change.