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Borrowers rush to use Help to Buy before 2021

Written by: Lana Clements
The Government's flagship homeownership scheme is changing next year and it will end completely in 2023
Borrowers rush to use Help to Buy before 2021

The number of buyers using the Help to Buy equity loan scheme increased by 4.6 per cent in the year to the end of September 2019, ahead of changes to the initiative in 2021.

There were 52,703 transactions in the time period, with first-time buyers accounting for 43,686 of these sales – an increase of 6.2 per cent, according to official data.

The scheme has now supported almost 250,000 transactions since its launch in 2013.

The total value of these equity loans, which enable buyers to put down a bigger deposit, stands at £14.31bn, with the value of the properties sold under the scheme coming in at £65.69bn.

First-time buyers accounted for 201,784, or 81 per cent, of total purchases.

The average price of a property bought under the scheme was £264,785, with buyers using a mean equity loan of £57,694.

In London, the maximum equity loan was increased from 20 per cent to 40 per cent in February 2016.

Between then and the end of September 2019 there were 17,287 completions in the capital, with 15,085 made with an equity loan higher than 20 per cent.

In 2021, regional price caps will be placed on the scheme, limiting the size of the properties bought.
Buyers planning to use the current scheme have a deadline of 31 March 2021 for legal completions.

The amended Help to Buy will run until March 2023.

Craig Hall, head of broker relationships and propositions at Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Help to Buy was never meant to be a permanent fix, and it is great to see that both providers and lenders are already innovating to fill the gap, launching more higher-loan to value (LTV) mortgages that reduce the deposits first-time buyers need.

“Shared ownership and mooted schemes such as the First Homes initiative could also play a role in the post-Help to Buy mix.

“For those already using the scheme, the journey isn’t over.

“Ensuring a smooth transition for these borrowers with clear Help to Buy remortgage options will be vital to helping them with their housing plans in the future.

“It’s crucial mortgage advisers are on hand to explore the best and most affordable options to suit the individual customer needs.”

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