Help to Buy  

Help to Buy schemes taken up by 402k first time buyers

Help to Buy schemes taken up by 402k first time buyers

More than 400,000 people have opted for the government’s Help to Buy schemes to buy their first home, official figures have shown.

Figures released by the Treasury today (November 30) showed more than 458,000 completions have taken place using one or more of the Help to Buy schemes, of which some 402,000 were made by first time buyers.

The government has offered a number of Help to Buy guarantees since their inception in April 2013, including a mortgage guarantee scheme which ended in December 2016, and an equity loan scheme, which was extended to 2023 in the latest Budget.

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It also offers a government bonus for people saving in an Help to Buy Isa.

The Treasury said today its Isa programme, which launched in December 2015, has helped support 169,980 property completions between then and June 2018.

The scheme enables people saving for their first home to receive a 25 per cent boost to their savings from the government when they buy a property of £250,000 or less—with a higher price limit of £450,000 in London.

The maximum government bonus is £3,000.

In total 225,618 bonuses were paid with an average bonus value of £836. The total value of the bonuses paid in this period was £189m, which were used to finance properties worth £29.4bn in total.

First time buyers have opened 1.2 million Help to Buy Isas, according to the Treasury.

John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: "We want to help as many people as possible experience the fantastic feeling of pride you get when you collect the keys to your first home.

"That’s why we offer the special Help to Buy Isa for them to save, cut their stamp duty and introduced a new Help to Buy equity loan to run until March 2023."

The equity loan scheme will be open to new savers until November 30 2019 while Help to Buy Isa account holders can continue to save into their accounts until November 30 2029 when accounts will close to additional contributions. The Help to Buy Isa government bonus must be claimed by December 1 2030.

Tom Riley, Nationwide’s director of savings, urged the government to extend the deadline, stating that "home ownership continues to be a desire for many people, but saving for the deposit remains the biggest challenge for those hoping to secure a home of their own."

He believes the existing scheme offers flexibility and simplicity and has been a proven success, but added it was particularly important "during a period of rising housing prices and living costs, and where any assistance for those saving for a deposit is a major bonus".

The statistics also showed the mean value of a property completion in the scheme since inception was £172,787, compared to the average first-time buyer price of £193,006 and the average UK house price of £228,384.

About 73 per cent of completions were in the lower value bands of £200,000 or less. And 20 per cent of completions were on properties valued at between £200,000 and £250,000.