Financial News

  • 3 January 2014, 13:09

Help To Buy Numbers Treble In Two Months

The number of people attempting to get on the property ladder using the Government's Help to Buy scheme has trebled in the last two months.

In November, figures showed in the first month of the scheme's launch more than 2,000 people had put in offers on homes and applied for a Help to Buy mortgage - that has now topped 6,000.

Nearly 750 homeowners have completed their purchases and hundreds were able to spend Christmas in their new homes.

The mortgages, once approved, would represent nearly 1bn of new lending to aspiring home owners who had previously been put off due to the size of deposit required.

Under the scheme, which came into effect at the beginning of October, people can buy homes of up to 600,000 with a deposit of just 5% as the Government guarantees up to 20% of the mortgage.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he hoped the new year would see "thousands more realise their dream of home ownership".

"The new year is often a time when people look to make those big life-changing decisions like moving home or taking that first step on the housing ladder.

"But too many people have found themselves frozen out of the market in recent years as a result of the size of the deposit required.

"That is why as part of our long-term economic plan we introduced the Help to Buy scheme, so hardworking people with sufficient earnings can get on, fulfil their aspirations and enjoy the security of owning their own home."

However, the significant take-up of the loans will further fuel fears of a housing bubble.

Barclays and Santander will introduce their own Help to Buy products on to the market this month, joining Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, HSBC, Virgin Money and Aldermore who have all launched products over the last three months.

Lloyds said on Thursday its Help to Buy range included a two year fixed rate of 5.19% with a 995 fee, for homebuyers with a Lloyds Bank current account.

The scheme's expansion will mean two thirds of the entire UK mortgage market will offer products under Help to Buy, bringing home ownership to a growing number of people.

Shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds said: "Any help for first-time buyers struggling to get on the property ladder is to be welcomed.

"But rising demand for housing must be matched with rising supply if this scheme is to bring the cost of housing within the reach of low and middle income earners.

"Instead, under this Government, house-building is at its lowest level since the 1920s."

On average applicants are looking to buy homes worth 160,000, which remains below the UK average house price of 247,000.

They will face average monthly repayments of around 900 and have an annual household income of around 45,000. This means a Help to Buy mortgage represents 23% of borrowers' gross income.

Around three quarters are from outside London and the South East, while more than 80% are from first-time buyers.

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