The Help to Buy scheme launched by the government has never been far from the news since its inception. Now official figures have revealed encouraging results over the first nine months the scheme has been in operation. More than 17,000 properties have been bought with the help of the scheme during this period.
In addition some interesting facts have arisen from the official data that shed more light on how – and who – the scheme is helping.
Many first time buyers taking advantage of the scheme
While the Help to Buy scheme is not purely open to first time buyers, the vast majority of the 17,395 purchases have been to first time buyers. An impressive 88% of the purchases went to people who were previously unable to get on the housing ladder. No doubt the government will be keen to point out the success of the scheme in this way.
Less than a quarter of the homes purchased were in the South East and the capital
No doubt this will be another piece of good news for those who feared the scheme would be largely taken up in this part of the country. In reality 77% of home purchases under the scheme were completed in other parts of the country.
The two elements of the scheme have also proved useful in different areas. According to the official figures Scotland saw the highest number of people taking advantage of the mortgage guarantee part of the deal. Those in north-west England also took full advantage of this offer.
Perhaps not surprisingly given the higher house prices in the south east of England, this was the area that had the highest proportion of people using the equity loan. This is a loan totalling a maximum of 20% that is offered by the government. It means those who apply for a 75% mortgage through the scheme need to find a more accessible 5% for the deposit, rather than a challenging 25%.
Difference in property values between the two parts of the scheme
The official figures also revealed the average property value was £148,048 when the mortgage guarantee portion of the deal was used. In contrast, those opting for the equity loan had an average purchase price of £203,137.
Clearly the scheme is helping more people get on the housing ladder. There is little indication that the scheme will end anytime soon, but it will be interesting to note whether these results are replicated over the next nine months. Many are still looking to get onto the housing ladder for the first time, and the scheme will help them achieve it.
Labour has pointed out that more new properties need to be built on a continual basis to make sure demand is met. However, house building is looking more encouraging anyway. According to the government sales of new homes have rocketed by 29% since last April. This figure alone is encouraging and will hopefully lead to more good news for the Help to Buy scheme in the future.