Belfast Telegraph

Mortgage initiative sees boost in housing purchases

More than 6,000 people across the UK have put offers in on homes and applied for mortgages thanks to the Help to Buy scheme, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

Less than three months since the mortgage guarantee scheme was offered, nearly 750 homeowners have completed their purchases, and hundreds were able to spend Christmas in their new homes.

In November, ministers published figures showing that in the first month after being launched, more than 2,000 people had put in offers on homes and applied for a Help to Buy mortgage. That number has now trebled.

The mortgages, once approved, would represent nearly £1bn of new lending to aspiring home owners who may have previously found the property market out-of-reach because of the size of deposit required.

Mr Cameron said he hoped the new year would see "thousands more realise their dream of home ownership".

Barclays and Santander will introduce their own Help to Buy products this month, joining Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, HSBC, Virgin Money and Aldermore, who have all launched products over the last three months.

The expansion will mean two-thirds of the entire UK mortgage market will offer products under the Help to Buy scheme, bringing home ownership to a growing number of people.

New figures also show that an additional 20,000 households have also been supported by the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, a separate scheme where the government provides an interest-free loan to support the purchase of the newly built home.

House building is now growing at its fastest rate since 2008, and is seen as a critical part of the country's economic recovery.

On average, applicants are looking to buy homes worth £160,000, which remains below the UK average house price of £247,000.

They will face average monthly repayments of around £900 and have an annual household income of around £45,000.

Belfast Telegraph

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