InSite | How successful was the Help to Buy scheme?

How successful was the Help to Buy scheme?

Introduced by the Government in 2013, the Help to Buy scheme aimed to support those households struggling to save for a substantial deposit towards a new home. Under the equity loan scheme, buyers could obtain a mortgage with a deposit of just 5% for a new home. Although popular with first-time buyers, Help to Buy was available on all types of homes and to all types of buyers, with the ability to borrow up to a maximum of 20% (up to 40% in London) of the purchase price of properties up to £600,000.


With the scheme due to end, completions on homes must meet the deadline of 31 May 2021, the Government has released stats on how the scheme performed during the period of 1 April 2013 to 30 September 2020.


The Government’s new Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme (2021-2023), has already been rolled out, however the new scheme is only available to first-time buyers. Clearly the Government is keen to continue with the scheme, given the success of the first run.


Here is how the 2013-2021 scheme performed.


The headline stats:


  • 291,903 properties were bought under the scheme.
  • 82% of all completions were by first-time buyers.
  • Value of the loans amounts to: £17.4 billion.
  • Value of the properties sold under the scheme: £79.2 billion.


The impact of coronavirus


The coronavirus pandemic caused disruption to house building in 2020. The Help to Buy completions between April and June, the period when the coronavirus restrictions were most in effect, were down by 61% compared with the same timeframe in 2019. But completions were up again in the three months to September by 11% in comparison with 2019. Between 1 July and 30 September 2020, there were 13,211 properties purchased through Help to Buy.


Will German, director of Help to Buy at Homes England, said:


“Housing, like most sectors, has experienced a slowdown during the Covid-crisis. But Help to Buy continues to give homebuilders the confidence to keep on building at a more crucial time than ever.”


Key stats


Purchase price:


  • 33% of Help to Buy completions were for homes worth £200,000 or less.
  • Around 46% of properties had a purchase price ranging between £200,001- £350,000.
  • 21% had a purchase price greater than £350,000.
  • 52% of the homes purchased had a price of £250,000 or less.
  • 56% of properties had a value of £250,000 or less when it came to first-time buyers.


Types of property:


Primarily, Help to Buy has supported the purchase of houses. First-time buyers tended towards purchasing flats, terraced and semi-detached properties.


  • 18% used the scheme to buy flats.
  • 82% bought houses, that figure is split among detached, semi-detached and terraced houses, and two bungalows.


Household incomes:


  • 51% of borrowers had household incomes between £20,000 and £50,000.
  • 2% of applicants had household incomes below £20,000.
  • 5% of applicants had household incomes above £100,000.
  • The majority of first time buyers had household incomes ranging between £20,000 and £50,000.


When speaking about the success of the Help to Buy scheme following a Home Builders Federation (HBF) report*, Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of HBF said:


“It is quite clear that the Help to Buy scheme has been an unmitigated success and has delivered handsomely on all its objectives. It has enabled hundreds of thousands of people to realise their dream of owning a home, the vast majority of whom are first time buyers on average incomes. It has led to an unprecedented increase in house building activity, created tens of thousands of jobs and boosted local economies the length and breadth of the country.


“Government should celebrate its success and use the hard evidence now available to rebut the claims of its critics. As we look to tackle our acute housing crisis and deliver on the Prime Minister’s target to build 300,000 homes per year the scheme has a key part to play. Government should reflect on the huge impact the scheme is having on individuals keen to realise their dreams of home ownership, on housing supply and on the wider economy.”


All of the statistics are available from the GOV.UK site.




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