Schemes to help buyers get foot on the housing ladder

A lack of homes for buyers to choose from has frequently been cited as a key factor behind the strong property price growth seen in many parts of the country in recent years.

Figures have shown there were 21,304 affordable homes being built across England in 2015-16, compared with 38,226 in 2009-10. 

Here are some initiatives previously unveiled as part of efforts to help people step onto or move up the housing ladder:

:: The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme.

This UK-wide scheme opened in October 2013, to help people with deposits as low as 5% to purchase a property.

Recent figures have shown more than 95,000 mortgages have been completed with the support of the scheme, which enabled lenders to purchase a guarantee on mortgage loans to protect them against losses.

The scheme closed, as planned, at the end of 2016, but other initiatives continue to run under the Help to Buy banner.

Critics of the scheme have argued it helped to push up house prices.

But there were also signs it stimulated competition between lenders, prompting a fresh wave of low-deposit deals onto the market, many of which were not part of the Help to Buy scheme.

:: Help to Buy Isas.

These were launched in December 2015 and they have been described as a "no brainer" by experts.

Help to Buy Isas allow people to save for their first home with the help of a Government bonus, the size of which depends on how much the saver puts in.

The maximum bonus is £3,000 and to receive that, someone will need to have saved £12,000.

Recent Treasury figures showed more than £20 million of bonuses have been paid out so far - and the average bonus value is £530. 

The average age of first-time buyers using the scheme is 27.

Treasury documents released alongside the Autumn Statement showed take-up of Help to Buy Isas had been lower than expected, and around half of that assumed in original costings.

:: The reinvigorated Right to Buy scheme.

This scheme allows council tenants to buy their council home at a discount.

The rules around the scheme vary, depending on where someone lives in the UK.

:: The Lifetime Isa.

Available from April 2017, Lifetime Isa accounts will provide people aged between 18 and 40 years old with somewhere to save for their first home or their pension in one place.

People can save up to £4,000 each year, and receive a bonus of 25% - equating to a bonus of up to £1,000 a year. 

The savings can be used towards a deposit on a first home worth up to £450,000.

Alternatively, the money can be used as a retirement pot, and taken out after the saver turns 60.

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