The UK government has pledged to get a million people onto the housing ladder by 2023, through abolishing Stamp Duty for homes under £300,000, introduced in November 2017, and its Help to Buy scheme.
Almost 70,000 first time buyers have benefited from the Stamp Duty change, while 387,000 have now used the Help to Buy scheme, together with opening 1.1 million Help to Buy ISA accounts.
After a series of failed government schemes aiming to energise the lower end of the housing market, Help to Buy has proved a welcome success. It now makes up 27 per cent of all new housing completions, while 43 per cent of all current new build properties are dependent upon the scheme.
“The government has emphasised its commitment to mend the broken housing market, to speed up the planning process and to improve the whole buying and selling experience for consumers,” said Kate Davies, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA).
Davies warned that the potential closure of the scheme in 2021 could cause problems, however. “Help to Buy’s impact has been fairly immediate and its’ unclear why it should not continue.”
The recent softening of house prices in some areas may also help increase the number of first time buyers.