Analysis: FTBs need global solution on finance

Pad Bamford

If you thought the challenges facing first-time buyers were a particularly British issue, the latest research results from ING International should put paid to that.

In a survey of 15,000 people, many agreed it was increasingly difficult to secure that first property, regardless of which country they lived in. Admittedly, only people from Luxembourg (94 per cent) suggested it was more difficult than getting a home in the UK (89 per cent) but, in countries such as Australia (89 per cent), Turkey and Spain (both 88 per cent), Belgium (87 per cent) and Italy (83 per cent), the results were just as worrying.

In this scenario, and certainly from a European perspective, the issue seems to require a global solution and, as a business active in many countries, we are in no doubt that private mortgage insurance delivers a more constant supply of low-deposit mortgages, giving first-timers a far better chance of buying.

Our own Government clearly recognised this when establishing Help to Buy 2. But it may be concerned that, almost two years in to the scheme, there seems to be a plateau of both use and the expectation of buying success.

However, it is not too late and we hope lenders that remain active within H2B 2 will continue to do so when it finishes at the end of 2016.

The problem is universally recognised but perhaps the solution is not so developed. We need an industry-wide, collective push on delivering access to finance for first-timers. Combined with increased housing supply, it should provide light at the end of the first-time buyer housing tunnel.