RICS calls on government to boost mortgage lending as it reveals worse housing sales figures for 30 years

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has called on the government to take “decisive action” as it revealed housing sales were at a 30-year low.

The body has written to the chancellor and housing minister urging immediate action and better consultation with the industry.

It said the government should help boost the number of available mortgages by allowing the Bank of England to guarantee the issue of new mortgage-backed securities.

The Bank is currently able to guarantee existing mortgage securities but the RICS wants to see this extended to new investments.

Other recommendations include a tax-free saving scheme to help first time buyers build up a deposit, a stamp duty holiday and government-backed mortgage rescue schemes to prevent people being evicted from their homes.

Home Information Packs should be less costly and VAT should be cut on repair and maintenance costs, it added.

The body said: “It is essential that the government takes this opportunity to kick start the housing market and at the same time introduce long term reform that will benefit all those involved in property including renters, letters, buyers and sellers.”