§ 14. Mr. Marten
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will make a statement about the current availability of mortgages for house purchase.
§ Mr. Greenwood
In the first quarter of this year, building societies advanced £428 million for house purchase and at the end of March their commitments for advances amounted to nearly £450 million. The funds available for lending have been affected by the low net inflow of money in the same quarter and there are reports that some societies are at present being compelled to limit the number of their new mortgage commitments but I hope that the recent change in the investment rate will restore the position and enable societies to continue to make loans freely.
§ Mr. Marten
By what date does the right hon. Gentleman imagine that the position will be restored? What steps is he taking in the long term to secure mortgage finance for borrowers?
§ Mr. Greenwood
The hon. Gentleman will no doubt have noticed that some of the building societies have not found it necessary to increase interest rates. They have found it possible to defer a decision. This points to the fact that they are confident that the inflow of money will improve over the next few months. That is the confident expectation of the Government as well.
§ Mr. Dickens
In the long term, in an age of rapidly appreciating property values, should we not ensure that build- 202 ing societies and depositors get some advantage from this appreciation by giving societies equity shares in the mortgages they advance?