[Estate Agent Today was ‘off air’ for some of Wednesday and most of Thursday thanks to technical problems - we apologise to readers but we’re delighted to be back in action now…]
Zoopla has calculated where Help To Buy has made the most dramatic impact on the housing market - and the West Yorkshire town of Wakefield is top of the list.
In the 12 months to the end of the second quarter of this year Wakefield was the most popular area for Help to Buy loans, followed iby Central Bedfordshire.
In London the borough of Tower Hamlets saw the capital’s most Help to Buy loans followed by Barnet.
Zoopla found Waltham Forest saw the largest H2B increase in demand in one year - up 241.3 per cent.
“Whilst it might be presumed that first-time buyers only use Help to Buy in markets with stretched affordability such as London, our analysis shows that its popularity spans the entire country” claims Alex Rose, the portal’s director of new homes.
“Without doubt, the scheme has unlocked home ownership for many first-time buyers across England and, in some instances, has enabled them to access larger properties – in effect skipping that first rung on the property ladder and going straight to the second step.”
Between its introduction in April 2013 and the end of last year, some 211,000 properties were bought with a Help To Buy equity loan in England - 81 per cent by first-time buyers.
However, there has been widespread criticism of the scheme.
Critics, including many MPs, say it has boosted new build house prices whose developers ‘built in’ inflated asking prices.
Consumer group Which? says: “While it’s normal that new-builds might cost more than existing properties, the size of this gap lends legitimacy to the criticism. When we look at the median prices paid by people using Help to Buy and compare them to the overall house price figures for England, we see a gap of around 25 per cent.”