March 9, 2010 11:00 AM

Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has today welcomed reports of an increase in house sales and in first-time buyers, but warns that these increases must not mean leaving the worst off behind.

Estate agents in South Wales have reported a 50% increase in sales during the first two months of the year compared with 2009, and a large jump in the number of first time buyers. The sales appear to have come without the feared increase in house prices that made owning a house impossible for many prior to the recession.

While the news looks good for young people and first time buyers, there is still concern that many will be unable to buy a house due to banks being less likely to lend money for a deposit.

The most recent figures show that mortgage loans made in Wales fell 18% between 2007 and 2008. Average borrowing rates available to first time buyers in Wales fell from 3.2 times their salary to 2.9. These figures show no sign of increasing and mean that many less well-off people looking to buy their first home will not be able to afford a deposit.

Speaking today Jenny Willott said:

"The news that the housing market is getting back on its feet is to be welcomed. I am particularly pleased by the reported increases in first time buyers, many of whom have been priced out of the property market in recent years.

"However, I am still worried that the lack of lending by banks to those who are less well-off and may need a bit more help, could mean a large proportion of society is excluded from buying their own home.

"Clearly the banks shouldn't return to making risky loans to people who can't afford to pay them back, but there are a lot of responsible people who are being hurt by banks' refusal to lend at reasonable mortgage rates.

"We need to continue to encourage lending, while also investing in new, low-cost housing that will give young, first-time buyers a foot on the property ladder."

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