Malcolm Hurlston, chairman of debt charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service, says mortgages for first-time buyers should be sold like driving licences and applicants should have to sit exams.
In a speech at CCCS’ recent annual convention Hurlston called for the Financial Services Authority to issue certificates to anyone buying their first home.
He told attendees that pre-mortgage counselling has already been launched in the US by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and that the UK should follow this lead.
Hurlston says that those most likely to have a debt problem in the UK are borrowers on low incomes who have embarked on home ownership wrongly or too early.
He says: “Home ownership is a lifestyle choice but a trap for many. First-time mortgages should be sold not with pretty ribbons and tax breaks, but with health warnings.”