Record number of Wiganers sign up to the Help to Buy scheme

A record number of households bought their first home in Wigan through the Government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme last year, figures reveal.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 1:57 pm
Updated Friday, 10th September 2021, 2:01 pm

But housing campaigners claim the scheme is “sticking a plaster” on the failure to build enough homes nationally, while doing nothing to help renters with no savings.

Until March 31, the scheme allowed buyers to borrow up to 20 per cent of the value of a new build home – rising to 40 per cent in London – provided they paid at least a five per cent deposit and the home cost no more than £600,000.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows 533 loans were given to first-time buyers in Wigan using the scheme in the year to March – 109 more than the previous year and the highest number since the scheme launched in 2013.

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They were among 615 households in the area which benefitted from the scheme, meaning 87 per cent of the loans were handed out to people buying their first home. The loans amounted to £27.2m in total: equating to a £44,300 average.

Across England, £4bn worth of Help to Buy loans were handed out in 2020-21, when more than 55,600 households benefitted from the scheme: a record high. More than four in five were first-time buyers.

But Priced Out, which campaigns for affordable homes, said the fact so many people have to borrow money to buy their first home shows a “failure” to control house price inflation.

Director Anya Martin said: “Prices have risen faster than incomes for decades now, and all because we have failed to meet higher demand with higher supply. The Government is not doing enough to ensure more people can buy their first home.

“They hold the levers to stabilise or bring down house prices, but instead of allowing more homes to be built, they keep pumping up the market with more cash.”

Since April 2013, the average purchase price of properties bought with a Help to Buy equity loan nationally has been £277,300, with an average loan of £61,200.

Housing charity Shelter said the Government must focus on doing more for the “huge” number of people across the UK who are closer to homelessness than home ownership.

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