Number of Help to Buy loans jumps 9% this year

The number of homes bought through the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme in England rose by 9 per cent to 52,404 in the year to April, the latest government figures show.

Of these purchases, 83 per cent were made by first-time buyers.

The total number of first-time buyers using the scheme was 11 per cent higher than the previous year at 43,248.

In London there were 6,115 purchases using a Help to Buy Loan, up by 30 per cent on the previous 12 months.

First-time buyers made up 95 per cent or 5,838 of these purchases in the capital.

The average price of properties bought through the scheme across England reached £300,487 at the end of April, up 4 per cent from £288,462 at the same point in 2018.

Total household income of borrowers using Help to Buy has also increased by 3 per cent year on year from £55,133 to £56,674.

The amount borrowed through the scheme has risen by nearly 13 per cent from £660m in Q1 2018 to £743m in the first quarter of this year.

However, quarterly borrowing was down from more than £1bn in the final four months of 2018.

Since the scheme first launched in April 2013, 221,405 properties have been bought with equity loans worth £12.46bn. 

Modular housing developer Project Etopia founder Joseph Daniels says: “The number of people using Help to Buy is still growing slightly and the amount they are borrowing has risen 12.5 per cent in a year. 

“This is streets ahead of the rate of house price growth across England. 

“Incredibly though, this still represents a significant slowdown. 

“In fact, more than a billion pounds was taken in the final quarter of 2018 alone, which was 18.7 per cent up on the previous year and that annual rate of growth was consistent throughout 2018.

“The slowdown in this figure chimes with a slowing in the annual rate of house price growth nationally.” 

He adds: “An explosion of interest in the scheme sparked by the announcement of the 2021 and 2023 deadlines also seems to have come and gone. 

“Those headlines focused minds on getting onto the ladder and squeezing every bit of value out of the scheme while it lasted, but that pace of growth appears to have rapidly fallen away.

“Earlier this week HMRC revealed transaction volumes had crashed 16.5 per cent annually in June.

“Without the Help to Buy scheme continuing to provide some support, this figure would have been even worse.”

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