The government has announced a change to the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme amid concerns over rising house prices. New loans granted under the scheme must now be less than 4.5 times the borrower’s income. In a separate move, the Bank of England has told mortgage lenders that only 15% of loans they grant can be at or above 4.5 times the borrower’s salary. The aim is to prevent house prices rising too quickly and to ensure that borrowers will still be able to pay back the mortgage if there is an increase in interest rates. It’s hoped the new measures will provide safeguards without stifling growth in the housing market or reducing the number of new homes being built. The government says that the latest official statistics show that the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme is only supporting responsible lending. The cost of the average house within the scheme is £150,000 at a ratio of 3.1 times salary. Ministers say Help to Buy is not a significant factor in driving rising house prices as mortgages supported by the scheme account for only 1.3% of total lending. So far, the Help to Buy schemes have enabled 35,000 people to buy their own home. Please contact Hanah Wright or Emma Whale for more information about the legal aspects of buying and selling a home.