Research: How much help is Help to Buy?

By: Adam van Lohuizen  Published: September 2015


Drawing on official statistics and analysis, this research finds that Help to Buy has added around £8,250 to the average house price. In other words, it has helped a small number of people to buy, at the expense of worsening the overall affordability crisis for everyone else.

Summary

In the 2013 Budget, the Chancellor George Osborne launched two schemes under the title 'Help to Buy', which were intended to slow the decline in homeownership in England by helping buyers get access to a mortgage. Since then, the two distinct Help to Buy schemes have supported over 100,000 home purchases across the UK. With the extension of the scheme until 2020, the government will spend up to £6 billion on equity loans and will guarantee up to £12 billion worth of mortgages. While these home buyers no doubt appreciate the assistance they have received, Shelter has serious concerns about the schemes' impact on the wider housing market. The fundamental problem with Help to Buy is that it tries to solve the problem of unaffordable house prices by making it easier for potential buyers to access a mortgage. As the amount of mortgages issued are a key driver of house prices, the schemes push up prices further.

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