Latest News

Northern Ireland house prices end the decade showing continuous growth

19 February 2020

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency have released their findings for the Northern Ireland House Price Index for the period between October and December 2019 and show the positive figures from previous quarters have continued throughout the year. Read More...

Scotland house prices end the year over 2 per cent higher

19 February 2020

The most recent report from the Registers of Scotland has revealed the average house price for a property in Scotland during December 2019 was £151,603, an annual price increase of 2.2 per cent. Read More...

£16 million to go to survivors of domestic violence

17 February 2020

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick confirmed that 75 councils across England will benefit from funding to help boost their domestic abuse refuge services. Read More...

Christopher Pincher is tenth Housing Minister in a decade

14 February 2020

Christopher Pincher MP has been appointed Housing Minister in the cabinet reshuffle replacing Esther McVey. Mr Pincher is the MP for Tamworth and was previously the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas. Read More...

MHCLG responds to business rates concerns

12 February 2020

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has responded to Propertymark’s concerns about the level of business rates faced by agents on the high street. Read More...

Report finds that most buyers did not need Help to Buy

Thursday 13 June 2019

The National Audit Office (NAO) report has found that two-thirds of homebuyers who used the Government's Help to Buy scheme could have bought a home without it.

The report, that used figures supplied by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government showed however, that buyers may not have been able to purchase the house they wanted without the help.

Report statistics

  • More than 8,000 participants had household incomes of over £100,000.
  • The scheme did help boost the profits of building firms
  • Between 2013 and 2018 more than half the sales in England made by Redrow, Bellway, Taylor Wimpey, Barratt and Persimmon involved Help to Buy
  • One fifth of people using the scheme already own property
  • About 38% of all new-build property sales have been supported by the loans
  • The number of new-build properties sold has risen from 61,357 a year to 104,245 a year in 2017-18
  • Only 37% of buyers said they could not have bought a property without the support of Help to Buy

The NAO said it was too early to determine if the scheme had delivered value for money for the taxpayer.

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, said: "A proportion of participants could have afforded to buy a home without the government's help.

"The scheme has also exposed the Government to significant market risk if property values fall, as well as tying up a significant public financial capacity.

"The government's greatest challenge now is to wean the property market off the scheme with as little impact as possible on its ambition of creating 300,000 homes a year by 2021."

The scheme comes in two forms, Help to Buy loans and Help to Buy Individual Savings Accounts (Isas).

In the first version, the Government lends up to 20% of the cost of a newly built property, or 40% within Greater London, so buyers need only a 5% deposit and a 75% mortgage to buy it.

Those purchasing a new-build home are not charged interest for the first five years.

The Help to Buy ISA was launched later, in December 2015, and is open to first-time buyers in the UK.

Savers receive a 25% bonus from the government when they withdraw the money they have saved to buy their first property. The maximum purchase price is £250,000, or £450,000 in London.

The maximum government bonus that someone can receive is £3,000, if they have saved £12,000.

From 30 November 2019, new applicants will no longer be able to apply for the Help to Buy ISA. Existing customers will benefit from the 25% Government subsidy until 30 November 2029.

"By 2023, the government will have invested up to £29bn in the scheme, tying up cash which cannot be used elsewhere," the NAO said.

Persimmon is the biggest beneficiary, with almost 15% of the sales made under the Help to Buy Scheme.

From April 2021, the scheme will be restricted just to first-time buyers.

Propertymark resources

Propertymark has a range of guides for NAEA Propertymark clients to discover which provide important information in an easy-to-read format. Members can direct their customers to the Advice and Guides section of the Propertymark website. Guides include:

  • Video on 6 top tips to help first time buyers get on the property ladder
  • Speeding Up Your Property Purchase or Sale guide
  • Help to Buy – What You Need to Know guide
  • How to Make an Offer on Your Dream Home guide