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Leading Surrey & Berkshire estate agent Aston Mead has joined the rising tide of concern over the size of mortgages that householders are able to secure.

The call comes just days after the Bank of England revealed that the number of borrowers being offered very large mortgages is at a record high – with some people borrowing as much as 5.5 times their annual salary.

Aston Mead Managing Director Charles Hesse said: “Whilst we’ve been calling for easier access to mortgage funding for years, there still needs to be a sensible limit on the amount that individuals are able to borrow. As a responsible estate agent, we want to see a long, slow, sustainable housing recovery – not an artificial boom fuelled by irresponsible lending, which could all too easily lead us back into recession.”

The latest national statistics indicate that one in ten housebuyers is now borrowing more than four times their income. In the capital, figures are even higher, with almost a fifth of buyers taking out “high income-multiple” loans.

Charles Hesse added: “The slow recovery of the property market over the past few years was, in part, down to the lack of access to mortgage lending. But that situation has improved considerably – assisted by the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, which the Government announced in last month’s budget will now be extended to 2020, and will continue to assist first time buyers and people moving at the lower end of the market.

“But allowing people to borrow more than they can afford will not only harm the interests of those involved. It will also harm the recovery of the property market in general, and the fortunes of the wider economy.

“We have to remember that one day interest rates will rise from their record low levels – and the sheer pace of the economic recovery means that day might arrive more quickly than many people expect.”

 
 

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