The growth in more flexible mortgage products has helped more homeowners get on the housing ladder, yet this has led to many overstretching themselves, making them more vulnerable to arrears and repossession - finds a new LSE paper launched today.
The policy discussion paper, At any cost? Access to housing in a changing financial marketplace, was written by Professor Christine Whitehead, professor of housing in the Department of Economics at LSE, and Katrina Gaus, who has recently completed a masters in housing and regeneration at LSE.
The paper recommends that better safety nets and insurance products are needed to protect the growing number of people facing difficulties and financial awareness education should be available to enable people to make more informed choices.
Commissioned by the housing charity Shelter, the paper looks at how people access housing in a changing financial market place. The charity hopes it will spark further debate around solutions to various problems such as affordability, rising mortgage possessions, irresponsible lending and the impact of buy-to-let on first time buyers.
Professor Whitehead said: 'Changes in the finance markets have been helpful to the majority of households - but there are increased risks which bear heavily on those least able to cope. It's not simply up to households to make careful decisions. The industry, the regulators and the government all have responsibility to manage these risks.'
A copy of the discussion paper At any cost? Access to housing in a changing financial marketplace can be downloaded as a PDF here.
Christine Whitehead is professor of housing in the Department of Economics at LSE, and director of the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research. She can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 020 7955 7527.
For more information contact Vicky Smith, Shelter media officer on 020 7505 2162.
12 September 2007