More than 2,000 apply for government's Help to Buy scheme

12th November 2013

Not enough laid by for a deposit? Help to Buy is the solution the government is offering, a taxpayer funded guarantee on your mortgage which means you only have to put down 5% of the price; and estate agents say it's making a difference.

In an interview with BBC News, Simon Rubinsohn, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said: "What that scheme is doing is effectively making more generous mortgages available to the population and it's not a surprise that with higher loan-to-value mortgages on offer, more people are showing an interest in purchasing a property."

A month after the launch of Help to Buy, nearly 2,400 have applied wanting to borrow £155,000 on average, although so far only 10 buyers have actually completed purchases using the scheme. With prices now back to pre-recession levels in many places, the average monthly payment for applicants is a budget-straining £900 and there are fears that Help to Buy will cause a price bubble and put homes further out of reach.

Against the charge that Help to Buy will simply inflate another housing bubble, the Prime Minister has been pointing out that most of the people trying to take advantage so far are first-time buyers looking to buy something below average value and outside London and the South East of England where prices have been rising fastest.

It's too early to test the bubble theory. Until now, only Halifax and RBS have been offering Help to Buy mortgages with more lenders following later, but so far business is brisk.