Government’s Help to Buy scheme

The Government’s Help to Buy scheme will provide a ‘negligible’ boost to banks and could hammer savers and renters, experts warned last night. It came as Britain’s housebuilders said the second phase of the controversial initiative would enable them to build more homes and bolster confidence in the market. Senior executives at Britain’s biggest banks and housebuilders were yesterday provided with details of how the mortgage guarantee scheme will work.

Critics have warned the three-year programme could create a housing bubble by artificially pumping up property prices.
But analysts at Espirito Santo reckon banks counting on a profits bonanza will be disappointed.

It predicts Lloyds will receive a boost of just £64m to its income over three years despite its 26 per cent share of the mortgage market.

Although banks will attract more customers, Espirito Santo believes their profit margins will be squeezed.

This is because customers with small deposits trapped on expensive standard variable rates will now be able to remortgage with a different lender.

Analyst Shailesh Raikundlia said benefits to lenders will be ‘negligible’. But consumer campaigner Dr Ros Altmann warned savers and renters will be the big losers.

She said: ‘Savers will lose out once again, as if lenders are getting cheap money, they don’t need to pay much interest to attract deposits. Rents will also go up as house prices increase.

‘People will get sucked into buying an overvalued house as prices are artificially inflated. When the scheme stops they may end up going into negative equity or losing the house.’

Barratt Developments said the initiative would help it to buy over £1bn of land in the year to the end of June and take on 600 apprentices and graduates.

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