Belfast Telegraph

Lenders face first-time buyer probe

Mortgage lenders are set to be hauled before a government minister to explain why they are still not advancing money to first-time buyers.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps will hold a summit on February 15 in which banks and building societies will be asked to explain why lending figures are still so low.

The minister wants to have a "frank and open" discussion about the scale of the problems facing first-time buyers, and why lending to this group is not increasing.

Mr Shapps is particularly concerned that the average age of a first-time buyer who does not receive family support has risen to 37.

Mr Shapps is expected to use the meeting to call on banks to offer more help to first-time buyers, including designing new products to enable them to get on to the property ladder.

These products will include schemes to enable parents to help their children buy their first home, as well as shared ownership initiatives and an increase in the availability of equity loans.

The minister said: "We want to do more to help aspiring first-time buyers - the average age of the first-time buyer with no support from their family is now 37, and there are 1.4 million households who aspire to own a home but are simply unable to do so because of house prices and mortgage availability."

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.