Between April and June this year, the government’s Help to Buy scheme recorded its busiest quarter since its launch five years ago.
Newly released data has shown that 14,867 Help to Buy loan completions worth £926 million were made across England in that quarter.
The figure for total loan completions now stands at 458,000, of which 402,000 were first time buyers.
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.”
1.2 million Help to Buy ISAs have now been opened by prospective first-time buyers, which offer up to £3,000 in government bonuses on top of their savings.
James Brokenshire, Communities Secretary, said: “I am committed to making the housing market work for everyone and restore the dream of home ownership for a new generation.
It’s great news that since 2010 we have helped over half a million people get on the housing ladder, through programmes such as Help to Buy.
We are determined to do more, which is why we have dedicated over £44 billion of investment to help deliver the homes communities need.”
Across the Help to Buy schemes, 93% of the completions have occurred outside of London, with the most –almost 170,000 – taking place in the North West and Yorkshire & the Humber.
Grainne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank told Property Wire that the increase in the numbers of loan completions across the country “may reflect the rise in new homes completions in the second quarter of the year, as well as discussions through this period around the future of Help to Buy.”
However, she noted that “the Government has now confirmed that the scheme will be changed in 2021, and from then will only be available to first time buyers for a further two years, with regional caps on sale prices”.
The Government expects to have invested around £22 billion in the scheme by March 2021. The scheme hopes to help up to 360,000 households achieve ownership of their home.
However, Rupert Dawes, joint head of residential development at Knight Frank encouraged that more be done to tackle taxation issues, saying: “The latest numbers on Help to Buy released today will be seen as encouraging within the UK’s residential development sector. Its two year extension, announced early in the year, has given developers certainty for the medium term, helping to drive home ownership across the UK,”
“However, if the Government is serious about boosting home ownership, and reaching its annual housing target, it needs to address the high level of taxation when buying a property as well as supporting land owners and developers via a review of the planning system.”