Barratt says Help to Buy has fired up the market

George Osborne's Help to Buy scheme is jump-starting the property market, according to the housebuilder Barratt, which is taking on 600 graduates and apprentices over the next three years to deal with demand.

Barratt, one of the UK's largest housebuilders by market value, said buyer demand and mortgage supply were both at the best rate for five years thanks to the Government's scheme, with around 400 people using Help to Buy to reserve properties since its launch on 1 April.

Across the UK, Barratt said net reservations per week rose 18 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier. Overall it saw a 9.7 per cent year-on-year increase in reservations from 1 January 1 to 5 May. Private forward sales so far this year were also up 28.5 per cent at £1bn. The company plans a "conservative" dividend for the year.