Nationwide call for greater government support for first-time buyers

It asks the government to commission a market-wide review and reintroduce Help to Buy ISA

Nationwide call for greater government support for first-time buyers

Ahead of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement, Nationwide Building Society has called on the government for measures to help first-time buyers, as rising costs delay many aspiring homeowners from stepping onto the property ladder.

Nationwide, one of the UK’s largest mortgage lenders, has also published a range of measures that it deems necessary in making a positive difference, especially for first-time buyers.

The lender is urging the government and policymakers to support borrowers by commissioning an independent review of the first-time buyer market, pointing out that while raising a deposit and affordability remain the biggest barriers to homeownership for first-time buyers, a wider review is needed to set out and address the significant challenges facing the sector.

These challenges include the gap between income growth and house price growth, inadequate supply, the need for planning reforms, and the impact of regulations on mortgage lending. A review, Nationwide said, would help the government produce a sustainable plan to support people hoping to buy a home of their own.

The mutual is also pushing for the reintroduction of the Help to Buy individual savings account (ISA).

Given the success of the previous Help to Buy ISA, Nationwide wants the government to reintroduce the scheme and increase the amount that can be saved per month from £200 to £500. The lender would also like to see a proportionate increase in the redeemable bonus in line with house prices. Nationwide said that it has opened over 542,000 Help to Buy ISAs to date.

“Homeownership for many first-time buyers is a huge challenge,” commented Rachael Sinclair (pictured), director of mortgages and financial wellbeing for Nationwide Building Society.

“Reintroducing the Help to Buy ISA would make a big difference to building a deposit, while a review of the first-time buyer market would help determine the right solutions for helping people get a home of their own.”

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