Help to Buy can only end in tears

Posted on

The Treasury Select Committee has asked what might be the best question yet about the government's Help to Buy scheme, which is how would you stop it? Some things are easy to start. That's not been true of this scheme, to which only RBS and Lloyds have signed up as yet. But many schemes, once going, are a nightmare to stop and this one is very likely to fall into that category.

Just imagine the turmoil in the market in three years time when the scheme is drawing to a close and people rush to buy. We saw what happened in 1988 when people rushed to buy property to get tax relief for mortgage loans for the last time: a bubble was created and a crash followed. MIRAS, as it was called, was much less significant than this new relief in many ways. What Osborne's creating is a monster: the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae scenario for the UK where the government's finances are inextricably linked to overvalued property prices.

There is only one way this scheme can end, and its tears whatever happens before this one is over.