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First-time Buyer

Half a million homes bought with Help to Buy schemes

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Almost half a million properties have been bought since 2013 using one of the government’s Help to Buy schemes, new figures reveal.

Statistics from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show 494,108 completions have taken place using one or more Help to Buy schemes and over 93% took place outside of London.

The Help to Buy equity loan scheme supported around 1,000 sales a week in 2018, the data shows.

And first time buyers have now opened 1.4 million Help to Buy: ISAs, which offer government bonuses of up to £3,000.

In total, 194,379 completions have taken place across the UK since the Help to Buy ISA launched in December 2015.

Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse MP, said: “This government is committed to helping more people get on the housing ladder as we power through to delivering 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

“Our Help to Buy equity loan scheme has supported more than 190,000 households in purchasing their home, helping to make the dream of home ownership a reality for a new generation.”

The London Help to Buy scheme – which provides an equity loan of up to 40% for buyers in the capital with a 5% deposit – has helped 15,056 buyers across 33 boroughs purchase their own property between February 2016 and September 2018.

Kate Davies, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), said: “These statistics show that Help to Buy has become a cornerstone of the UK property market. The government’s programme continues to stimulate the bottom of the housing ladder, providing essential support to the whole of the UK property sector.”

Data published last week showed first-time buyer figures reached their highest number since the financial crisis in 2018 thanks to competitive rates and government schemes.

But the Help to Buy schemes are due to close over the next four years.

Davies said: “Given the important role Help to Buy plays in lifting households into home ownership and the large number of people who have not been able to climb onto the first rung of the property ladder, long-term solutions are required to ensure the continuing prosperity of the housing market, post-2023.”

The schemes explained

Help to Buy equity loan – the government lends you up to 20% (40% in London) of the cost of a new build home, so you’ll only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest. This scheme was due to close in 2021 but it will now run until 2023 and will be restricted to first-time buyers only and to houses with a market value up to new regional price caps, including £186,100 in the north east stretching up to £600,000 in London.

Help to Buy ISA – this product lets first-time buyers save up to £200 a month (£1,200 in the first month) and receive a government bonus of 25%. They are only available to open until 30 November 2019 but you can still claim the government bonus and save in to a Help to Buy ISA until 1 December 2030.