Help To Buy May Not Be Affecting House Prices As Much As Feared

The Government’s Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme has supported 7,313 home loans worth a total of £1bn, according to official figures published by the Treasury today (May 29).

The figures, which officially cover the first three months of 2014 but include all applications since October 2013 when the second part of the scheme launched, are its first comprehensive measure and showed that the mean value of a property purchased or remortgaged through it was £151,597, well below the average house price of £252,000 recorded by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

According to the Treasury, 80 per cent of the supported loans were given to first-time buyers located outside London and the South East, which will help the Government to argue that the scheme has not had a major effect on house prices, which are rising by 8 per cent a year on average across the UK, according to the ONS, but by 17 per cent in London and 14 per cent in the South East.

The figures show that just 5 per cent of Help to Buy mortgages were taken out in London, with an average property value of £288,390 and given to applicants with an average income of £80,395.

Meanwhile, the rest of the South East accounted for only 14 per cent of loans, with the average property purchase coming in at £206,731. The same proportion of loans was taken out in the North West, where the average purchase price was £125,953.

In addition, new figures on the first part of Help to Buy, which is the equity loan scheme, show that 20,548 new homes have been sold through it in the 13 months since it began, making 27,861 homes sold under both parts, which is a small proportion of the total number of homes sold over the same period.

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