Shapps calls for more FTB support ahead of summit

Housing minister Grant Shapps says more can be done to help first-time buyers ahead of a summit next week.

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Shapps is chairing a meeting with the Financial Services Authority, Council of Mortgage Lenders and representatives from major banks on February 15.

The meeting will focus on ways in which the industry can help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Shapps says house prices need to become closer to the average income but this must happen in the long-term.

But he says: “There are short-term measures which we would like to see. These include the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers buying up to £250,000.

“And next week I am calling a summit to put heads together within the industry to find out what else can be done. One simple thing is that we know as a fact that it is very difficult to get a mortgage even when you have quite a large deposit and that is obviously something that we want to drill down on.”

Shapps also repeated his criticism of mortgage regulation saying he does not want to see “down in the dirt” regulation of individuals.

He says: “There are some concerns about the FSA’s Mortgage Market Review and I’m keeping a very close eye on the recommendations that come out of that.

“What we don’t need is the individual down-in-the-dirt regulation over innovations that can take place in mortgage market products. That should be for the innovators at mortgage companies to work out and what I want to see them do is come together to develop products that will help in the short-term.”

But he says there needs to be top-level regulation to ensure the stability of the industry and prevent lending getting out of hand.

Shapps also echoes Prime Minister David Cameron’s criticism of lenders by claiming the pendulum has swung too far the other way from “crazy” lending previously.

He says: “Now we’ve gone too far the other way meaning it is very hard to get a mortgage even when you have a 20% deposit.”