One in four unaware of Help to Buy option


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The Independent Online

The Government hoped to give a serious jolt in the arm to the housing market and the building industry by rushing forward the second part of its Help to Buy initiative from next January to last month. But its message appears to be failing to get through to the people who really matter: potential home-movers.

One in four remains unaware of the Phase Two extension of Help to Buy, while some potential homemovers have not heard of Help to Buy at all.

That’s according to figures published today by the property website Rightmove, which suggests that despite the hype following the Prime Minister’s decision in September to bring forward Phase Two, it is still too early to assess its impact.

Estate agents have reported that the move has contributed to a growing mood of optimism among potential buyers, but that appears to have failed to filter through to homemovers.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, said: “There is no doubt that Help to Buy has helped raise frustrated movers’ spirits. However, our survey shows widespread confusion among those who stand to benefit most from Help to Buy.

“There is more work to be done by government and industry if one in four people currently hunting for property risks missing out on a leg-up on to the ladder or a welcome shove up to their second home.”

The monthly survey shows that the average asking price of property coming to market fell by 2.4 per cent – down £6,181 – in November, in line with the usual pre-Christmas slowdown. This compares with an average November fall over the last three years of 3 per cent, so while this year’s drop is slightly more muted, it still reflects a reduction in the number of good-quality higher-priced properties coming to market as the festive season approaches, according to Rightmove.