Osborne’s flagship Help to Buy scheme to close, Hammond confirms

29 Sep 16

The government’s Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme is to close at the end of the year, chancellor Philip Hammond has announced, as figures show it has supported mortgages worth less than 10% of the total earmarked for the programme.

The programme was announced by Hammond’s predecessor George Osborne in his 2013 Budget to boost the housing market and help people buy a home. At the launch, Osborne said he intended the support to run for three years from its launch in September 2013, and Hammond confirmed it would close to new loans on 31 December.

The programme offers government mortgage guarantees to people who are struggling to raise a deposit. According to figures published today, 86,341 mortgages have been completed with the support of the scheme. Of these, 79% were purchases by first time buyers, while the total value of mortgages supported by the scheme is £12.8bn, less than a tenth of the £130bn worth of mortgages that Osborne initially said the scheme could support.

Ministers confirmed the government would continue to offer Help to Buy equity loans for new build home purchases and the ISA scheme to boost savings for a deposit.

According to figures published today, over 185,000 people have been helped to buy a new home through the suite of Help to Buy schemes.

The average house price for purchases is £191,000, while 95% of transactions have taken place outside London

Housing minister Gavin Barwell said that the figures show Help to Buy was “helping more people realise their home ownership dream”.

He added: “With hundreds of households helped everyday through our range of government-backed schemes, we are building a country that works for everyone and not just the privileged few.”

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