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Brandon Lewis: 40,000 have bought a home through help to buy

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Brandon Lewis: 40,000 have bought a home through help to buy

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Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing

Opinion: Brandon Lewis' promotion has nothing to do with housing or planning Opinion: Brandon Lewis' promotion has nothing to do with housing or planning

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis has announced that almost 40,000 households have bought a home through the help to buy scheme. Not everyone was impressed, though.

Over 32,500 households bought new build homes through the equity loan and NewBuy options, with a further 7,300 sales though the mortgage guarantee (full figures at the end of this report). Over 80% have gone to first time buyers.

Responding to the limited impact of the scheme in London and other expensive areas, Alex Hilton, director of Generation Rent, said: "These numbers prove that help to buy is not delivering where homes are most needed, which is where there are jobs. And yet the publicity around help to buy continues to prop up a dysfunctional housing market that, like an addict, snorts ever more cash from the pockets of renters and from taxpayers in the form of housing benefit".

That's not how Lewis sees it.

"Hard working families are getting the homes they want, while housebuilding has increased to its highest level since 2007," the minister said Thursday. "It's no accident that since the start of the scheme private housebuilding has shot up by a third and continues to climb. Developers are increasing their output, and taking on new workers at the fastest rate since records began.

"And today, for the first time, we’re publishing post-code level data about the scheme, so communities can see exactly how this vital part of our long-term economic plan is improving the housing market and helping their area."

There has been a 34% increase in private housebuilding during the first year of the scheme. The construction sector has grown for 14 consecutive months, and companies are now taking on new workers at the fastest rate for 17 years.

Lewis said the government had expanded the range of available data about help to buy. Figures published today include, for the first time, sales data broken down by postcode.

The highest number of equity loan sales were in Wiltshire with 469, Leeds with 457 and Central Bedfordshire with 427. Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Bradford, Manchester, Country Durham, Bedford, and Birmingham have all achieved over 300 sales.

THE NUMBERS

27,167 sales have been completed in the first 15 months of the Help to buy: equity loan scheme.

7,313 sales have been completed under help to buy: mortgage guarantee scheme (between 8 October 2013 and 31 March 2014). The mean price of a property bought under the scheme was £151,597

5,388 sales have been completed under help to buy: NewBuy.

The average price of a home is £208,000 under the equity loan and £151,000 under the mortgage guarantee.

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