Demand remains high for Help to Buy ahead of deadline

Criteria searches for 'Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme' saw a 10% rise during February, revealing that its looming deadline at the end of the month may be helping to fuel demand, according to data from Legal & General.

Related topics:  Finance,  FTB,  help to buy,  HTB
Property | Reporter
10th March 2023
FTB 362
"As the last elements of the scheme come to an end, there is a real need for new technology-driven initiatives to support brokers and their first-time buyer clients"

Introduced in 2021, as a replacement for the original Help to Buy scheme, the Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme is set to end at the end of the month. The new scheme is only available to first-time buyers, and this is reflected in the data. Criteria searches for Help to Buy increased by 10% in February. Whilst in the same month, First Time Buyer searches rose by 12%.

Overseas interest in the UK market remains buoyant

For consecutive months, Visa has remained the most used criteria search for applicants. This consistency highlights the important role advisers play in securing foreign investment and the resilient nature of London's housing market. Foreign interest in the London area has grown in 2023 with criteria searches from Expat/EU Citizens in UK applicants rising by 9% in February.

Foreign investors see London as an ever-growing market and confidence is high with foreign income applicants increasing by 12%. The Capital, forecasted as a future ‘megacity’, is expected to lead the UK economic recovery, with the housing market playing a key role. London has always been viewed as a desirable city and further investment from foreign sources will lead to greater comparisons with cities like New York.

Cost-of-living remains a key concern

Finally, the February data confirms how rising living costs are still impacting mortgage applicants. Searches for applicants with a second job increased by 19% and applicants with zero-hour contracts rose by 43%.

These figures indicate the financial pressures of applicants in needing a higher income to make mortgage payments. Figures of missed mortgage payments rising by 14% and a 48% increase in payday loans show the direct impact of rising living costs.

Jodie White, Head of Mortgage Products & Transformation, Legal & General Technology: “The increased search results in the Help to Buy scheme show there is still strong demand for schemes which help first-time buyers take a step onto the property ladder. The Help to Buy scheme has been a vital tool in helping new homebuyers. As the last elements of the scheme come to an end, there is a real need for new technology-driven initiatives to support brokers and their first-time buyer clients.”

“Advisers will be key to supporting this segment of the market, but they also have a key role to play for other customers, such as existing homeowners who need to remortgage. To do this effectively, they need access to the right tools and tech. The more that the industry can digitise the mortgage journey, and streamline processes, the better for clients and advisers alike. Indeed, everything from developing cutting edge product sourcing tools to implementing digital ID and Open Banking is a welcome addition to speed up the homebuying journey and improve efficiency across the board.”

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