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Thousands use Help to Buy to get on the property ladder

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Thousands of first-time buyers have got on the property ladder using the Help to Buy scheme, government figures have revealed.

According to statistics from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), 5,375 new homes were bought using Help to Buy in the six months since the initial phase of the scheme lauched in April.

Of these, 92% were bought by first-time buyers.

Completions under the first phase of the Help to Buy housing scheme more than doubled in September compared to the previous month to hit an all-time high of 1,895.

The average price of a property bought under the scheme was £194,167, with the highest number of Help to Buy sales in Leeds, Wiltshire, Milton Keynes and Reading. 

Mortgage Advice Bureau new homes director Andy Frankish said the figures demonstrate the success of the scheme: “It is hitting exactly where it needs to hit, which is first-time buyers outside London in areas where local people want to get on the housing ladder in their home town.”

But he added NewBuy remains relevant: “NewBuy provides 100% ownership from day one. We have got a distinct lack of lenders supporting Help to Buy 2 at the moment and while that is the case, NewBuy still has a role to play.”

Just 26 Help to Buy equity loan sales involved properties worth more than £500,000. The bulk of homes were purchased for £250,000 or less.

More than a quarter of purchases were made by households with income between £30,001 and £40,000 per year, while more than a fifth were made by those earning between £20,001 and £30,000 per year. More than 85% of purchasers had an income of £60,000 or less.

The total value of equity loans made under the scheme was £208m, while the value of properties sold under the scheme hit £1.04bn.

By contrast, completions under the other new-build scheme, NewBuy, fell to their lowest this year in the third quarter. Just 676 completions took place, compared to 1,477 in the previous quarter. In total, there have been 4,450 completions under NewBuy since it began in 2012.

E.surv chartered surveyors director Richard Sexton said Help to Buy had replenished the property market’s energy: “In little over six months there’s been a tremendous turnaround in fortunes for new buyers.

“The majority taking advantage of Help to Buy are new buyers, which is largely down to a radical improvement in mortgage availability – the once distant dream of owning a home has now already become a real, tangible reality for thousands under the scheme.”

However, he said the UK continued to suffer from a severe shortage of housing: “While we already have Help to Buy, what we really need now is a ‘Help to Build’ scheme, and this should be a government priority moving into 2014.”


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