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Help to Buy scheme warnings

George Osborne has announced details of an extension to his mortgage guarantee scheme to help people buy existing homes, pledging that the plans "will boost housebuilding." But industry representatives have warned about the dangers of the policy.

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What is the 'Help to Buy' housing scheme?

George Osborne is meeting major housebuilders and mortgage lenders today to discuss an extension to the Government's flagship housing stimulus programme.

The 'Help to Buy' scheme is available to first-time buyers and existing homeowners on properties worth up to £600,000.

How does it work?

  • The first stage of Help to Buy, offering loans to buy a new-build home with a deposit of just 5%, launched in April
  • Government loans up to 20% of property value, interest-free for five years, to boost a buyer's deposit
  • Scheme credited with spurring a surge in home sales and driving up prices
  • The second stage of the scheme, 'mortgage guarantees', is due to launch in January
  • Will see state take on risk of default by borrowers by guaranteeing proportion of loan
  • Scheme aims to boost mortgage availability by reducing risk for lenders
  • Will be extended to existing homes, not just new-builds
  • Criticisms include risk of creating housing bubble and piling huge housing risk on Government
  • Pete Redfern, boss of Taylor Wimpey, said scheme could be a "hazard to the economy" unless a clear exit plan is laid out
  • Former Bank of England governor Lord King warned scheme is "too close for comfort"

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