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Help to Buy hits record completions in busiest quarter since launch

Written by: Owain Thomas
The government's Help to Buy scheme recorded its busiest quarter over the three months to June since launch in 2013.

According to official data, 14,867 Help to Buy equity loan completions were made between April and June of this year, with loans totalling £962m across England.

During the first half of 2018, 25,036 loans were completed, which were worth £1.63bn. These were used to purchase properties worth £7.23bn.

Completions rose by 13% when compared to the same period in 2017, with the value of loans and properties purchased both up 18%.

This trend was also reflected over the year to the end of June, with purchases in England up 15% to 49,264, while London-based transactions rose by 34% to 4,878.

First-time buyers accounted for 82% of the total number of transactions.

In England, help-to-buy loans for first-timers rose by 16% to 40,162 over the 12 month-period, while in London there was a 32% increase to 4,627.

Considerable appetite

In this year’s Budget, chancellor Philip Hammond addressed criticism that the scheme had skewed the housing market, allowing people to buy bigger properties which had pushed developers to build bigger properties.

He confirmed Help to Buy would become more targeted from 2021, with an end-date of 2023.

Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) executive director Kate Davies said the data highlighted considerable appetite for Help to Buy among homebuyers.

“The government’s programme continues to stimulate the bottom of the housing ladder and indirectly supports the whole of the UK property sector,” she said.

Davies added that 2019 is on course to be the strongest year so far for Help to Buy sales, with total completions since the scheme began likely to pass the 200,000 mark at the start of this quarter.

“This further highlights that Help to Buy will remain invaluable in supporting home buyers into the next decade and will play a crucial role in helping to keep the housing market on an even keel during a period of heightened uncertainty as a result of Brexit,” she concluded.

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