Under 200 take up Help to Buy offer on new-build homes

Chief executive of Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils, Charlie Adan

Chief executive of Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils, Charlie Adan - Credit: Contributed

Fewer than 200 home-buyers in Suffolk purchased properties in the first year of the Government’s flagship Help to Buy equity loan scheme.

A total of 188 sales were completed in the first 12 months under the equity loan scheme across the county – the same amount as Colchester on its own.

The highest number of sales to March 31 was 57 in Mid Suffolk, while there were 43 in Babergh, 29 in Forest Heath and only 28 in Ipswich – an average of one around every two weeks.

Elsewhere, there were 14 in Suffolk Coastal, 12 in St Edmundsbury and only five in Waveney. Nationally, 19,394 sales were completed.

The Help to Buy equity loan scheme was launched last April and is specifically aimed at people buying a new-build worth up to £600,000.


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Someone taking out a loan under the scheme can get a loan from the Government for up to a fifth of the property price. With the borrower also putting at least 5% in, they would need a mortgage of up to 75% to cover the remainder.

Phase two of the initiative has now extended the scheme to all homes and not just new-builds until 2020.

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Critics say the scheme will drive up prices by increasing housing demand without stimulating the supply of new properties, fuelling a new house price bubble.

But Jan Hytch, the East Anglian-based president of the National Association of Estate Agents, said the scheme has helped those unable to afford a large deposit to buy their own home by encouraging them to explore the new-build market.

Claire Astbury, east of England external affairs manager for the National Housing Federation, said: “The average home in Suffolk costs 10 and a half times the average local wage.

“It may well be that Help to Buy simply is not making enough of a difference to turn buying a home into a realistic option for most people.”

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