Nearly 3,000 homes sold in region under Help to Buy

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HOUSE hunters in Yorkshire have been among the keenest in the country in getting onto the property ladder through the Government’s Help to Buy programme.

Figures have revealed that 2,780 homes in the region have been sold under the flagship mortgage support scheme so far, the seventh-highest uptake rate in the whole of the UK.

While the scheme has been criticised for failing to make an impact in parts of the country where house price rises are at their most heated, Help to Buy, which offers first-time buyers a mortgage with a deposit of five per cent, now represents 1.8 per cent of all mortgage lending in the Yorkshire and the Humber region.

In the South East, it makes up 0.9 per cent and is even less in London, where the figure is 0.6 per cent.

Both the Help to Buy equity loan scheme which was launched in England last spring and the UK-wide Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme, which came in last autumn, have been included in the latest set of results. Experts say they should serve to allay fears that Help to Buy is fuelling a housing bubble.

Paul Smee, director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), which represents banks and building societies, said: “Broadly, we should be reassured by the latest data on Help to Buy.

“Throughout the UK, the proportion of business accounted for by Help to Buy has been modest overall. Any worry that the scheme risks stoking a housing boom, fortunately, does not seem to be playing out in practice.”

Andrew Montlake, director at Coreco Mortgage Brokers, said anecdotal evidence suggests that a natural correction in house price growth may be on its way, with some buyers becoming less willing to pay higher prices and the introduction of tougher mortgage-lending rules subjecting applicants to more stringent checks to ensure they can afford to pay back their home loan.

Mr Montlake said: “As these figures show, it is sometimes dangerous to fly to conclusions about the causes of price rises and how to deal with them.”