Twenty-seven builders, including listed players, back 95% mortgages despite cash-call

At least 27 major housebuilders, including the vast majority of listed firms, have signed up to the government’s mortgage guarantee scheme, the centrepiece of the government’s housing strategy, launched this morning.

The mortgage insurance scheme will see individual housebuilders sign deals with banks to provide 95% mortgages on sales of new homes. Housebuilders will have to put 3.5% of the sale value into an insurance pot, with the government contributing 5.5%.

A spokesman for the Home Builders’ Federation, which led negoations over creating the new scheme, said all of the major banks have already signed up in principle to the terms of the deal. In a letter to the government this morning the HBF said 27 of its members have already committed to participating in the scheme designed to make housing more accessible to first-time buyers.

Signatories include Barratt, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Bovis, Linden Homes and Redrow.

Other announcements in the government package this morning include:

  • A £400m Get Britain Building funding pot, designed to get stalled schemes restarted, and based on the Kickstart scheme devised by Labour. It will restart schemes for 16,000 homes
  • A competition inviting councils and communities to identify sites large scale development, which will take advantage of a streamlined planning processes
  • Confirmation of policy changes designed to increase institutional investment in the private rented sector, with changes to stamp duty rules around bulk purchases, and reforms to the Real Estqate Investment Trust regime
  • Reform of the Right to Buy regime designed to encourage more sales, with receipt re-invested in new homes. Social housing tenants will get up to half off the value of their home to encourage them to purchase.
  • A £50m funding pot to bring empty homes back in to use
  • A £30m funding boost for self-builders

The mortgage scheme, known as a mortgage indemnity guarantee, will only see sales of new homes covered, and therefore only new home-buyers will be able to access the agreed 95% mortgages. Homeowners and then housebuidlers will shoulder the any initial losses in value of a home under the scheme, with the government picking up the tab only if homes fall in value by more than 8.5%.

The pot created by the cash put aside when each home is sold will be used to cover all losses, however big.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF said: “This is a great deal for people wanting to buy a new home, whether first-time buyers or existing home owners who are unable to trade up.

“It will also be a huge boost to house building. Since 2007, the biggest constraint on homes being built has been mortgage availability. This scheme will see more desperately needed homes being built, create jobs and give the economy the boost it needs.” 

However, smaller housebuilders with no cash reserves may be less keen to use the scheme as it ties up capital in new homes, potentially reducing construction capacity.

Prime minister David Cameron said that the strategy was “radical and unashamedly ambitious” and was designed to both spread opportunity to home buyers, and “drive local economies and create jobs.”

The full list of housebuilders to sign up to the scheme, according to the HBF, so far is:

Antler, Aquinna, Banner, Barratt Developments PLC, Bellway, Bloor Homes, Bovis, Cala, Croudace, Fairview New Homes Ltd, Galliford Try PLC, Gladedale, Grainger, The Miller Group Ltd., Morris , Nicholas King, Octagon, Persimmon, Places for People, Redrow, Simon Wright, Stewart Milne, Strata, Taylor Wimpey, Urban Renaissance Villages Ltd, William Davis.

In addition Berkeley Group chair Tony Pidgley has said the group is likely to participate.