Flagship Help to Buy schemes in UK now helped over 350,000, official data shows

Over 350,000 people across the UK have now used the Government’s flagship Help to Buy schemes, including more than 300,000 first time buyers, official figures show.

First time buyers have also embraced the Help to Buy Isa with more than 1.1 million now opened which offer Government top up bonuses of up to £3,000 for saving towards a home deposit.

The figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCL) also show that over 93% of completions across the Help to Buy schemes have taken place outside of London.

A breakdown of the figures show that the most completions using the Help to Buy ISA have taken place in the North West, and Yorkshire and the Humber and in total, 106,612 completions have taken place across the UK using the ISA bonus since its launch in December 2015.

The London Help to Buy scheme provides an equity loan of up to 40% for buyers in the capital with a 5% deposit. It has helped 5,715 buyers in the capital across 33 boroughs purchase their own property between February 2016 and September 2017.

John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, said that Help to Buy remains part of the wider plan to tackle housing issues and get people onto the housing ladder.

‘The Government’s Help to Buy schemes has helped make that dream a reality for more than 350,000 people so far, with the ISA currently being used by many more future buyers to save towards that goal,’ he added.

New Housing Minister Dominic Raab said that it shows how committed the Government is to getting more people into home ownership. ‘Thanks to our Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme the dream of home ownership continues to become a reality for thousands more households across the country,’ he pointed out.

More than 140,000 completions have now taken place through the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, which offers buyers up to 20% of a newly built home’s costs so they only need to provide a 5% deposit.

He also pointed out that 95% of first time buyers who pay stamp duty will also benefit from the tax changes announced in the Budget which saw the property tax abolished for first time buyer purchases up to £300,000, and made this relief available for the first £300,000 of properties worth up to £500,000, providing help for people in higher value areas.

Shaun Church, director at mortgage broker Private Finance, pointed out that the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is on track to have enjoyed its most successful year to date, with completions to the end of the third quarter of 2017 up 23% on the previous year.

‘Help to Buy is a vital lifeline for first time buyers, many of whom struggle to save for a deposit amidst rising house prices. Given that the average value of a property bought through the scheme falls around £200,000, the scheme is clearly successful in benefiting its intended audience. Consistently growing take-up of the equity loan scheme suggests the market would benefit from more high loan to value (LTV) mortgage products, though the availability of these has improved significantly in recent years,’ he explained.

He also pointed out that the first users of the equity loan scheme who purchased in 2013 will begin to incur interest on their loans this year, which could motivate them to move up the property ladder.

‘Our own analysis shows many areas, particularly in the South of England, have seen significant house price growth since 2013, putting buyers in good stead to repay their equity loan debt. However, those in areas that have experienced limited house price growth will have to look to alternative methods of settling their debts before they can climb the ladder,’ he added.

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