Building Live: Stephen Stone says he’s ‘horrified’ by prospect of any changes to funding scheme

Stephen Stone has said that he would be “horrified” if the government capped at £400,000 the value of homes eligible for assistance under the Help to Buy scheme.

Speaking in a panel debate on the housing crisis at yesterday’s Building Live conference, the Crest Nicholson chief executive welcomed the government’s decision to maintain the mortgage guarantee scheme until 2021 but warned against any move to cut the £600,000 cap on the value of properties that it covers.

“If we reduce it from £600,000 to £400,000, I would be horrified”, he said, adding that in areas of suburban London, home purchases supported by Help to Buy guarantees supported between 60 and 70 per cent of the company’s total sales.

Across Crest Nicholson, Stone said Help to Buy-had increased the company’s annual new build output by around 15%

Stone also queried the trend by housing associations to build more for sale homes.

However David Montague, chief executive of L&Q, said that the London-based association had increased by tenfold the size of its affordable housing programme, which now accounted for half of its overall 100,000 dwelling pipeline.

in the same session, Duncan Cumberland, residential development director at Muse Developments said that the Morgan Sindall regeneration arm faced acute supply chain constraints in the south west, where it is working on a number of projects.

“We are struggling to get many contractors to tender let alone come up with  a competitive price for schemes.”

Cumberland also raised concerns that cutbacks ‘left, right and centre” at the Homes and Communities Agency meant that the agency had less capacity to help progress projects at a local level.