Younger first-time buyers use Help to Buy

John Hewitt Jones

September 29, 2016

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The median age of first-time buyers using the Help to Buy scheme is lower than the open market, quarterly statistics published by The Treasury show.

Today’s figures indicate a median age of 28 compared to 30 on the open market.

A total of 86,341 people were helped to buy using the scheme between 1 December 2015 and 30 June 2016. Since its launch, 79% of transactions registered with the scheme were purchases made by first-time buyers.

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The mean value of a property completion in the Help to Buy: ISA scheme was £167,250, compared to the average UK house price of £216,000.

The highest proportion of property completions supported by the scheme occurred in the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber and East Midlands, with a lower proportion in the North East and Northern Ireland.

78% of bonuses paid were in England and this supported 79% of total property completions through the scheme. London and the South East received 14% of total bonuses paid and made up 15% of total property completions.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv, said: “The increase in the number of mortgages completed through the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme is an indication that the UK housing market remains open for business. The fact that the majority of approvals were for first-time buyers also shows that the scheme is helping many borrowers to take an important first step towards owning their own home.

“However, while the scheme is important, it is still a drop in the ocean of what is required to get first time buyers onto the property ladder, especially in London. Help to Buy is clearly a welcome initiative, but it doesn’t tackle the UK’s chronic shortage of housing supply. Until this key issue is addressed, nothing will truly change.

“Demand is continuing to outstrip supply at a worrying level. The government urgently needs to build around 300,000 new homes a year to even out this imbalance, yet only 180,000 were built in 2015. Although the government has prioritised housing on its agenda, actions speak louder than words. If we want to see any real change in this area, we will need the government to work more closely with the industry to tackle this important issue head-on.”