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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

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Three months on from the start of the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme and more than 6000 people have put in offers on a home and applied for a mortgage.

In November, ministers published figures showing that in the first month of the scheme more than 2000 people had put in offers on homes and applied for a Help to Buy mortgage. That number has now trebled.

The mortgages, once approved, would represent nearly £1billion of new lending to aspiring home owners who may have previously found the property market out of reach because of the size of deposit required.

Barclays and Santander will introduce their own Help to Buy products onto the market this month, joining Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, HSBC, Virgin Money and Aldermore who have all launched products over the last three months, providing a wide range of options for first time buyers and other potential applicants in 2014.

The expansion will mean two-thirds of the entire UK mortgage market will offer products under the Help to Buy scheme, bringing home ownership to a growing number of people.

New figures also show that an additional 20,000 households have also been supported by the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, a separate scheme where the Government provides an interest-free loan to support the purchase of the newly built home.

The Government said that the large number of applications for Help to Buy mortgages suggested the high Loan-To-Value part of the mortgage market was moving again.

High Loan-To-Value mortgages were the main route to ownership for most first time buyers over the last 30 years, but there have been fewer products available in recent years.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "The New Year is often a time when people look to make those big life-changing decisions like moving home or taking that first step on the housing ladder.

"But too many people have found themselves frozen out of the market in recent years as a result of the size of the deposit required.

"That is why as part of our long-term economic plan we introduced the Help to Buy scheme, so hardworking people with sufficient earnings can get on, fulfil their aspirations and enjoy the security of owning their own home.

"In less than three months, the scheme has already helped thousands of people.

"I want to see that continue in 2014 and for Help to Buy to help thousands more realise their dream of home ownership."

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