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Virgin Money launches Help to Buy home loans early

  • by GARETH MACKIE
 

Virgin Money has joined a UK government scheme aimed at helping more people onto the housing ladder “several weeks” ahead of schedule.

The Edinburgh-based lender had been expected to launch its first products under the scheme – which offers government-backed guarantees to those with a deposit of as little as 5 per cent – next year, but director of financial services Anthony Mooney said the loans would be available from today.

He added: “Joining the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme today, several weeks ahead of our original plans, further strengthens our commitment to consumers in this under-served part of the market.

“It is encouraging to see that the scheme has got off to a strong start, and we are pleased to be widening the choice of products available to those looking to get on to or move up the housing ladder.”

Other lenders taking part in the scheme include Lloyds Banking Group’s Bank of Scotland and Halifax brands, and Royal Bank of Scotland, which also owns NatWest.

There have been fears that Help to Buy is fuelling a house-price bubble, and the Bank of England recently announced that its Funding for Lending scheme (FLS), which offers cheap funds to banks on condition that they pass on the benefits to customers, would withdraw its support to the mortgage market next year. Instead, FLS will focus on small business lending.

 

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