Housebuilders and lenders tell us what they think of the government's loan scheme to help first time buyers

The government's affordable housing agency has unveiled a new scheme to help first time buyers to afford a home. Homebuy Direct provides equity loans for up to 30 per cent of the price of a house with the cash provided by the Housing Corporation and the developer of the home. The Corporation and the developer would lose out if the home is sold for less than the purchase price but would share in any appreciation.

Barratt spokesman: “We welcome the Homebuy Direct scheme, which could be an effective government measure to stimulate the market during an intensely challenging period. In particular, we welcome the fact that it is product-led, which means that the housebuilder has much more control over the process. Potential home buyers know for certain that they can obtain funding for a given unit, which is preferable than leaving them to find a unit and then have to apply from scratch for funding on it.”

Alan Cherry

Alan Cherry, chairman, Countryside Properties:“Anything aimed at helping first time buyers has to be welcome. The English Partnerships first time buyers initiative went down very well. House prices are not going to stabilise until there is more assistance for first time buyers because they are no longer going to be able to get 100 per cent mortgages. They are going to have to raise a 10 per cent deposit, sometimes more, and their income is going to be much more seriously considered than has been the case in the last few years. I was very pleased that the support the government is giving the banks is conditional on them providing support to small business and getting home loans going. This will help get some stability in the housing market and will help housebuilders.

David Wood, urban regeneration director, Galliford Try:“We are going to go for it [Homebuy Direct].”

David Cowans

David Cowans, chief executive, Places for People:“Anything that gives people an equity share in this market is a good thing. On the face of it, it looks worth pursuing and in this market I think we have to come up with innovative ideas.”

John Slaughter, director external affairs, Home Builders Federation:“From a purchaser’s point of view, it gives people assurance about their position in the short term and it is something government and companies are prepared to look at in terms of keeping the market going and meeting the demand that is out there.It will give reassurance to purchasers that they are not exposing themselves to price risk.It gives a 30 per cent equity share while splitting the risk between the state and the developer. Our feeling is it works from every party’s point of view so we are positive about supporting it and expect there will be quite a lot of interest from the industry in bidding into it.”

Andrew Heywood, deputy head of policy, Council of Mortgage Lenders:“Currently equity loans are preferred to shared ownership from a lender perspective. What we would not wish to see would be Homebuy Direct being used to subsidise new social rented housing. We feel in the present climate that is not a sensible option. There is probably already an oversupply of low cost home ownership, shared ownership and shared equity units and the best thing to promote development going forward is for government to provide higher rate of grant or some other form of subsidy for direct development of social rented housing. We are confident those [housing associations] who have unsold units will shift it but think situation should not be exacerbated. The CML has been warning about localised oversupply of new build flats since 2005 and that needs to be addressed. Lenders do tend to feel that anyone buying in the present market where prices are falling should have a stake themselves in property so they are less likely to offer to fund 100 per cent of a borrower’s stake.”