Woolwich sets out programme of reforms for first-time buyers

17 March 2005
The Woolwich has called on banks and building societies to scrap the higher lending charge often levied on first-time buyers.

In the wake of chancellor Gordon Brown's announcement in yesterday's Budget that the stamp duty threshold would be doubled, the Woolwich urged lenders to go further, helping first-time buyers by saving them around £2,000.

According to the building society's research, some lenders could charge first-time buyers about £2,000 on an average property price of £155,000 when borrowing 95 per cent (£147,250).

"Whilst today's stamp duty announcement is a positive step forward we would still urge the government for more widespread reform," said Andy Gray, head of mortgages at the Woolwich.

"With the average property price now around £155,000 we would urge lenders to pull together and find ways of reducing fees to help young people who really need support to get onto the housing ladder."

As well as scrapping the lending charge, the building society suggested that lenders offer exclusive deals with lower charges for first timers, and explore offset mortgages, in which families can help reduce a mortgage burden by offsetting it against their savings and investments.

Click here to find out more about first time buyer mortgages.
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