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Govt housing schemes 'helped to boost first time buyer purchases'


A flagship scheme unveiled by the government has helped to dramatically increase the number of first time buyers, according to new research.

Figures published by the government showed that more than 71,000 people across the UK are now able to purchase a property, due to the new scheme.

In total over 66,000 households have been helped by the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee and Equity Loan.

Furthermore, the analysis revealed that 81 per cent of Help to Buy sales are to first time buyers. Every region in the country appears to be benefiting from different aspects of the initiative.

The figures showed that the north-west is the highest region for the mortgage guarantee, while the Equity Loan scheme for new build properties is particularly successful in the east and south-east.

In addition, 94 per cent of completions under the scheme remain outside London.

Commenting on the scheme, prime minister David Cameron, said: "Getting the keys to your first home is a moment that no one forgets. It’s about being able to start planning for the future and enjoying the security that you’ve worked hard for.

"But in the aftermath of the great recession the prospect of buying a first home was nothing more than a pipe dream for many thousands of hardworking people in Britain. That is now changing. Today, Help to Buy has helped thousands of hard working people buy a new home and enjoy the security and peace of mind that comes with that."

Mr Cameron added that Help to Buy has also increased the number of properties being built across the country.

Empty homes

However, some campaigners have called for the government to do more to boost the supply of new homes in the country.

A report published by Halifax and the Empty Home Agency, a national charity, revealed that 74 per cent believe their local authority should place a higher priority on tackling empty homes.

Furthermore, two thirds of respondents said that empty homes should be used to help young people get on the housing ladder.

Just a third of respondents, 34 per cent, believe that turning empty homes into usable homes will not help to resolve the housing crisis.

High Value Properties

Communities secretary Eric Pickles recently weighed into the debate and urged local authorities across the UK to sell vacant buildings and reinvest the money in more affordable homes.

Mr Pickles claimed that too many are sitting on multi-million pound vacant houses yet the sale of just one high value council house could help fund more affordable house building.

He added: "Councils across the country are sitting on millions of pounds which could be put to far better use and get them building elsewhere in the area. Instead of holding that money as equity in expensive empty properties, the councils should sell up those vacant buildings and reinvest the money to get the country building."
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