Uncomplicated feelings about mortgage subsidies

I doff my cap to Quantitative Politics who ably skewers the demented Government plans to subsidise the risk of first-time buyers' mortgages. Let's remember that the UK housing market is in the doldrums because of a) potential buyers facing an income squeeze from the current depression, b) limited supply of capital for mortgages, ensuring the available capital is concentrated in low-risk LTV ratio mortgages, c) house prices being sticky-downwards such that vendors are very reluctant to lower their prices and d) ultra-low interest rates ensuring that house vendors aren't pressed to sell with any urgency, while at the same time savers' deposits accumulate interest at a miserable rate.

What is the Government analysis of the situation? Given that first time buyers are risky loans, let's remove that risk from the banks by subsidising it with taxpayer money.

Pardon my language, but what the hell? Have the Government not heard of the notion that what you subsidise increases? If the Government wants to un-stick the housing market (and it's by no means obvious that it should even get involved) it could reduce transaction costs by slashing stamp duty, or maybe fire Mervyn "inflation will come down soon, honest" King and tell the MPC committee to stick to its 2% inflation mandate, or else.

QP puts their finger on what is probably behind this all:

So all in all a thorough package to boost the finances of existing homeowners. And we all know who are the biggest homeowners, currently holding the most property title deeds, the banks of course!
Bailing out the mortgage-holding banks in some way or another might even be defensible. But I wish, I really wish that the Government would have the stones to do it explicitly rather than hiding behind a smokescreen of concern for the welfare of first time buyers.

The Guardian article has the usual clamour of rent seeking:

Marc Vlessing, co-founder of Pocket, one of London's affordable homes agencies, said: "This helping hand for mortgage deposits is not a panacea, but will be welcomed by frustrated first-time buyers as well as those of us concerned about the destabilising prospect of an entire generation locked out of home ownership."

If you want affordable houses, speed up the streamlining of the planning process you silly arse. Tell the NIMBYs to sod off and build a lot more houses.

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