Housing boom fears were a recurring narrative in the media during the lead-up to the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee launch. So it was interesting 18 months on, during the election – in which housing was a big issue – that we heard barely a mention of it. Most party manifestos declared they would be keeping it largely intact.
The distinct change in mood since its introduction has been significant, with media feelings towards Help to Buy verging on indifference these days. This is because there has been no housing boom, no crisis, and its take-up has been neither high enough to cause worries about market stability nor low enough to be deemed a failure. The mortgage guarantee has been used as intended by first-time buyers outside the South-east and London for homes below average market value.
The latest quarterly figures from the Treasury show further and continuing consistency, with 46,877 loans completed through the scheme since it began. Of these, 78 per cent were purchases by first-time buyers with a higher proportion of total mortgage completions in the North-west and east of England.
This is good news as the scheme will not be around forever.