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£350Bn needed to stop house prices halving

Economist John Wriglesworth says the Government needs to pump a massive £350bn into the mortgage market through its special liquidity scheme to stop a 50 per cent fall in prices.

At Mortgage Business Expo in Manchester last week, Wriglesworth said the £50bn Bank of England package was a “snowflake on an iceberg”.

He said: “£350bn might just give the kickstart to get the market going and give the message to investors that this economy is not going down the tube.”

He believes lenders’ relaxation of credit criteria from 2000 fuelled the housing boom of the last six years. He said lenders are now working “in reverse” which has resulted in a collapse in transactions and house prices. He said: “If the Government does not inject more money, I can see this getting worse. If lenders go back to three times income, I think house prices will go back to what they were in early 2000 before credit criteria were relaxed. That is a fall of 50 per cent.”

He said the Government has to wake up to the issues. “If lending criteria are going back to what they were in 2000, why should house prices stay up?”

Wriglesworth does not believe affordability is the reason for price falls. He said rises would have slowed due to affordability pressures but would not have fallen for two or three years.

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