Spring success on the cards for those looking to buy their first home

Release Date: 19 February 2018

This Spring will mark five-years since the Help to Buy scheme was introduced by the then Chancellor George Osbourne.

In that period more than 300,000 first-time buyers have used its various schemes to purchase their first home, according to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG).

This time of year also signals the start of the Spring buying season, when sales of houses are typically high.

Mainly due to sellers making the decision to move on after Christmas, they usually want to be settled by the end of the school year which makes March – June the perfect time to buy.

As rents continue to increase, buying a house is becoming easier than ever before. For instance, the Help to Buy equity loan scheme allows families to buy new-builds worth up to £600,000 using deposits of only five-per-cent – or £30,000.

The Government loans up to another 20-per-cent, or £120,000, interest-free for five years. And in London, where prices are typically higher, buyers can get a 40 per cent loan worth up to £240,000.

Jackie Woodward, sales manager forom Jelson Homes, comments: “It’s been a runaway success, not only buoying the construction industry up to figures not seen since the economic crash but also enabling thousands of first time buyers to get a foot on the ladder.”

From its launch in April 2013 to the end of September 2017, MHCLG data show 144,826 homes were bought using a Help to Buy equity loan, with 81% (116,898) purchased by first-time buyers. There’s no sign of enthusiasm slowing down either – in the last quarter of 2017, statistics show 10,132 completions on new homes in England, up from 8,542 the previous year.

Figures show nearly £7.4billion of taxpayers’ cash has been lent to 144,826 families since its launch, which led to worries that it could become a victim of its success. However, Prime Minister Theresa May has instead pledged to plough another £10billion into the scheme by 2021.

Derry Walton, director, Meridian Mortgages said: “There is no doubt that since the Help to Buy Shared Equity loan scheme was introduced it has been a great success.

“Combined with a low Bank of England base rate and subsequently low-priced, fixed-rate deals on mortgages makes for a very attractive proposition for people stepping onto, and indeed up, the property ladder.

“As with any transaction of this scale it is important to budget properly and take the right advice financially to ensure that the correct products are recommended and even more so if you are a First Time Buyer.”

And as home owners struggle with their own self-imposed deadlines, such as moving before the school year or the start of a new job, it allows better news for buyers as sellers will more often entertain lower offers to leave on time.

With just a small 5% deposit to save when using the Help to Buy scheme, sellers beware: it’s time to get ready for the start of Spring success house-buying season.

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