Housing minister doesn’t rule out extending HTB

Michael Lloyd

July 29, 2019

The new secretary of state for housing, communities and local government Robert Jenrick MP hasn’t ruled out extending the Help to Buy scheme beyond 2023.

Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have showed 52,404 homes were completed under the scheme in England in the year to 31 March, 9% more than that the previous year.

The Help to Buy scheme is due to end in 2023 but from 2021 will be restricted to first-time buyers only and to homes up to a certain price, which depends on the region.

There will be a maximum price of £600,000 in London and the caps will be set at 1.5 times the regional average first-time buyer price currently forecasted.

Since the scheme has launched in 2013 there have been 221,405 properties purchased through Help to Buy.

However, critics of the scheme have said it has inflated property prices and made housebuilders huge profits.

In June data from the MHCLG showed around three-fifths of homebuyers could have bought a property without the support of the scheme, although not necessarily a property they wanted.

Piero Bassu, head of mortgages at Bankrate, said: “The Help to Buy scheme has helped first time buyers get a foot on the property ladder and I welcome news that the government is considering extending it.

“However, I would encourage Mr Jenrick to learn the lessons from when Help to Buy was first put in place, including any unintended consequences of the scheme.

“I think there is also more that could be done to educate first-time buyers about the viable alternatives that they should consider.

“While the Help to Buy scheme goes some way towards solving first time buyers’ financing challenges, in my opinion the UK’s mortgage market is still ripe for disruption. I believe there is significant room for innovation and I encourage the government to play its part in driving that.”

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