Warning that levels of arrears and repossessions will rise without action

"The current UK safety net for home-buyers is patchy"

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The Independent Online

Steve Wilcox and Peter Williams, authors of a new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, say: "Action needs to be taken now so that a new structure can be put in place to underpin homebuyers and the housing market and in so doing help the wider economy."

"Without action and with the ending of temporary safeguards we are likely to see rising levels of arrears and possessions in the years to 2015. This in turn will act as a brake on economic recovery and any rise in consumer confidence."

Their report, Building an effective safety net for home owners and the housing market, says that the present low levels of arrears and repossessions are largely due to temporary measures such as low interest rates, the funding for lending scheme and extensions to support for mortgage interest.

To improve conditions for homeowners, the authors put the case for two possible options, a sustainable home ownership partnership fund into which borrowers, lenders and the government pay in, and an insurance scheme into which homeowners would be automatically enrolled.

"The current UK safety net for home-buyers is patchy," they say "and is set to be weakened further under Universal Credit and with a further decline in the take-up of mortgage payment protection insurance because of new rules governing the sales process."