The dream of owning a home has become a reality for thousands of Britons in recent months, due to government-backed mortgages aimed at helping people get onto the property ladder. More than 27,000 homes have been bought under the Help to Buy schemes since they were launched last year, according to new figures released today.
There had been fears that the schemes, which allow people to get a mortgage with a five per cent deposit, would help fuel rising house prices in London and elsewhere. Yet the figures show that the 7,313 homes bought under the mortgage guarantee scheme since it was launched last year cost £151,597 on average – far less than the average £252,000 house price. And the typical price for the 20,548 homes bought under the equity loan scheme – which only applies to new build homes - is £204,805. The vast majority (85 per cent) of sales have been to first-time buyers and most of the mortgages (94 per cent) are for properties outside London.
Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking during a visit to a new housing development in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, said: “Help to Buy has helped thousands of hardworking people to buy a new home and crucially it is helping to increase the number of new homes being built around the country.”
But Roger Harding, director of campaigns at Shelter, said: “Despite the fanfare over today’s figures, the reality is that Help to Buy will only ever be a sticking plaster solution.”
In England alone, a quarter of a million new homes need to be built each year to deal with the shortfall in housing, but only 109,000 new homes were built in the past 12 months.