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Mayor of London expects ‘significant’ slice of Help to Buy funds

Julia Rampen
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Julia Rampen

London house hunters will receive ‘significantly more’ than the minimum £500m promised under Help to Buy’s equity loan scheme, the capital’s housing chief has said.

Deputy mayor for housing Richard Blakeway told Your Money’s sister title Mortgage Solutions the mayor’s office was confident there would be significant appetite among Londoners for the £3.5bn of equity loans outlined in the Budget.

He said: “There’s a significant amount of new house building taking place in capital so there’s a lot of opportunity for people to benefit from it and there’s nothing in the criteria that would disadvantage London compared to other parts of England.

“There are long waiting lists for other low-cost ownership products in London so every indication is the product will be a success here, and you will see far more than £500m being committed to the capital.”

The mayor’s office was interested in working with brokers as well as lenders and developers to promote awareness of the scheme, he added.

Blakeway repeated Boris Johnson’s demand for London to reserve its £1.3bn-worth of Stamp Duty receipts for investment in the city’s housing.

Pointing to Scotland, which is set to retain Stamp Duty receipts, he said: “The reality is there needs to be greater fiscal autonomy for the mayor of London and there needs to be a greater retention of taxes raised in London for the benefit of Londoners. Stamp duty is a very clear example of that.”

The market for low-cost schemes such as shared equity should be simplified, he added, so house buyers could choose their property and then look at the financial products available to him.

He said it should be more akin to taking out a mortgage on the open market: “On the open market, you would choose the house you want to live in and you would choose a suitable mortgage product for it, whether that be fixed or variable. It should be the same here. You choose the property then choose the financial product for low-cost ownership that suits your needs.”