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Help to Buy sees most popular quarter

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  • 30/03/2017
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Help to Buy sees most popular quarter
The last three months of 2016 were the most successful for the Help to buy equity loan scheme since its launch.

More than 12,000 purchases involving the scheme were completed in the final quarter of last year – 82% of which were first-time buyers, according to the latest data from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The scheme lent more than £700m for the first time during the period – far higher than the previous peak of £582m between April and June last year.

Expanding the scheme in February 2016 to include a deposit of up to 40% for new-build properties within greater London has boosted its attraction to borrowers.

However, earlier the week, communities secretary Sajid Javid told house builders that to help cut “feudal” leasehold arrangements he would legislate to only allow the scheme to be used when buying new build properties on “acceptable terms”.

Brokers have also been vocal about the dearth of options within the Help to Buy remortgage market meaning borrowers were stuck with a lack of product choice, high fees and poor service.

Overall the scheme has made 112,338 loans (90,724 to first-time buyers) totalling £5.34bn (£4.13 to first-time buyers) since April 2013.

Search Acumen director Andy Sommerville said the data showed the scheme was generally working to support first-time buyers, but noted it did raise issues about pushing up prices.

“The underlying question of affordability still remains,” he said.

“The average price of £233,403 paid under the scheme jumps 6% above that paid on average for all properties in the UK in December 2016.

“This reveals that although the scheme has gone some way to facilitating house buyers onto the ladder, the overarching purpose of bringing the value down still needs addressing. The industry must pull together to overturn our housing shortage and answer the cries of those struggling to make that first purchase,” he added.

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