Despite Help to Buy being available to all types of homebuyers, the uptake has been, and remains to be, largely by first time buyers. However, Linden Homes has noticed a shift in this national trend with almost a third (32%) of homes sold to existing home owners who are now increasingly taking advantage of the equity loan scheme.
The latest national data from the DCLG revealed that in the last 42 months (up to 30 Sept 2016) 100,284 properties were bought with Help to Buy. Of this, the majority of sales were first time buyers, totalling 80,811, representing 81% of the total sales.
Tom Nicholson, Divisional Chairman at Linden Homes said, “We are pleased to see that first time buyers are continuing to utilise the Help to Buy scheme in order to get on to the property ladder. However, to see such strong growth among existing homeowners is really encouraging – it demonstrates that the Help to Buy equity loan scheme is not only for first time buyers, but is now increasingly enabling families to take the step up the ladder to ensure they have a home fit for the future. Families utilising the Help to Buy scheme are now able to take their next steps on the property ladder, permitting them to buy a larger house to accommodate a growing family – a home that they may not otherwise have been able to afford.
“Low mortgage rates, increasing employment statistics and more accessible, local new home developments have made it possible for wider audience groups to purchase their dream home.”
First time buyers continue to benefit most from access to the scheme, due to run through to 2021. According to the latest Halifax First-Time Buyer Review, the number of first-time buyers is estimated to have reached 335,750 in 2016 up by 7.3% compared with 2015 and the highest level since the start of the financial crisis in 2007.
The Kaleidoscope development in Dunstable was crowned as the development which attracted the most buyers using Help to Buy contributing to the Midlands region, ranking as the area with the highest amount of Help to Buy buyers (51%) in 2016. Linden Homes’ Eastern region, which covers Essex and East London, came a close second with 49% of buyers taking advantage of the scheme.
Tom Nicholson continued, “Supporting first time buyers as they take their step on the property ladder is very important to us. 68% of our Help to Buy purchasers are first time buyers, allowing us to make the dream of owning a home a reality for so many people. The uptake in existing homeowners and families using Help to Buy means that we are able to assist those from all walks of life – individuals, couples and families – in finding their dream home. This is, and continues to be, a real driver for our business.
“The growing trend of existing homeowners using Help to Buy is intriguing and one that we will continue to monitor against national data. We believe that getting the blend of house types on our developments right in parallel to our reputation for quality and neighbourhood development are contributing factors to these findings.
“Over the course of 2016 we witnessed growth in the use of Help to Buy, in Q1 (Jan-Mar) just 28% of our buyers accessed the scheme, peaking at 41% in Q3 (July-Sept). It will be interesting to see whether the uptake of Help to Buy will continue to increase across 2017 and what future trends we will see emerge.”