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Good: First time buyers aware of help to buy. Bad: They don't understand it

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Good: First time buyers aware of help to buy. Bad: They don't understand it

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Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing

Study to consider higher housing numbers in West Midlands Study to consider higher housing numbers in West Midlands

Good and bad news for the government's beloved help to buy programme.

New research from YouGov says that, among first time buyers, it's the most well-known government home buying scheme (the name must help). Altogether, 58% of existing first time buyers and 53% of potential first time buyers are aware of the scheme.

However, YouGov’s 'First Time Buyers 2014' report says first time buyers lack understanding of the scheme. YouGov asked respondents to rank how well they understood how the schemes work on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 meaning "I have no idea" (in 24housing staff terms, a "Max Salsbury") and 7 meaning "I understand completely" (a "Jon Land").

The equity element of the help to buy scheme scored 3.7 among those who have recently bought their first property and 3.8 among those currently looking to get on the property ladder. The mortgage guarantee part of the scheme scored 3.8 among both groups.

First time buyers are also unsure whether help to buy is a good initiative. Over a third (36%) existing first time buyers and close to three in 10 (28%) potential first time buyers associate help to buy with making "home ownership affordable". However, three in 10 (30%) of those who have recently bought their first home and almost one in three (32%) of those looking to get their first property believe the programme will "cause a house price bubble". Indeed, 24% of existing first time buyers and 22% of potential first time buyers say the scheme is risky.

The report shows that overall seven in 10 (71%) people who have got on the property ladder in the past two years and almost two thirds (65%) of people in the process of buying their first home are aware of any government home buying scheme.

Tom Rees, research manager for YouGov Reports, said: "The government has regularly trumpeted the help to buy scheme as a way of getting first time buyers on the property ladder and making housing more affordable for young people. However, while many people looking to purchase their first home know about the scheme, they have lower levels of understanding about how it works … With the Bank of England watching the housing market closely and the government hoping that the property market will continue to aid the recovery, help to buy is sure to remain a controversial subject for the foreseeable future.”

YouGov Reports commissioned a survey among its online panel, drawing on a sample of 1,019 adults aged 18+ who bought their first home with a mortgage within the last two years (635) or are in the process of buying their first home (384). The survey was conducted over the period 23 April – 12 May 2014.

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