Thousands helped by housing scheme

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More than 6,000 people have put offers in on homes and applied for mortgages thanks to the Help to Buy scheme, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

In the less than three months that the mortgage guarantee scheme has been offered, nearly 750 homeowners have completed their purchases and hundreds were able to spend Christmas in their new homes.


In November, ministers published figures showing that in the first month after being launched more than 2,000 people had put in offers on homes and applied for a Help to Buy mortgage. That number has now trebled.

The mortgages, once approved, would represent nearly £1 billion of new lending to aspiring home owners who may have previously found the property market out-of-reach because of the size of deposit required.

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

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

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

New figures also show that an additional 20,000 households have also been supported by the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, a separate scheme where the Government provides an interest-free loan to support the purchase of the newly built home.

House building is now growing at its fastest rate since 2008, and is seen as a critical part of the country's economic recovery.

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.

Mr Cameron said: "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.

"In less than three months, the scheme has already helped thousands of people. I want to see that continue in 2014 and for Help to Buy to help thousands more realise their dream of home ownership."

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.

"You can't deal with the cost-of-living crisis without building more homes. That's why Labour has committed to building 200,000 homes a year by 2020."