The old Help to Buy equity loan scheme expired last month, replaced by a similar government scheme that launched at the start of April. This new and enhanced version of H2B is restricted to first-time buyers and includes regional property price caps to ensure ‘it helps those who need it most’.
Announced during last month's budget, Help to Buy is set to become a firm favourite amongst the UK's first-time-buyers and with house prices up 7.5% in the last year alone, it’s no surprise that a third of all H2B homes listed for sale in the UK have already been snapped up.
But where is demand highest?
Lettings and estate agent, Benham and Reeves, analysed what proportion of Help to Buy stock was already sold subject to contract (SSTC) or listed as under offer across 25 major UK cities and what this demand translates to as a percentage of all H2B stock listed.
According to the data, Bristol is currently the UK’s H2B homebuyer hotspot, with 60% of all homes eligible for the scheme already SSTC or under offer. Portsmouth and Swansea also rank high, with half of all homes listed with the help of H2B already taken by homebuyers.
Oxford is home to the next highest level of H2B homebuyer demand at 48%, with Leeds (35%), Southampton (34%), Glasgow (33%), Cambridge (32%) and Bournemouth (31%) also ranking within the top 10.
It’s a three-way tie for the 10th top spot, as three of the nation’s big hitters in London, Manchester and Liverpool all see Help to Buy demand from homebuyers current sit at 29%.
Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, commented: “While the stamp duty holiday has been a great way of boosting market health during a very tough period, further fuelling demand has only helped push house prices further out of reach for many first-time buyers.
"This has made the aspiration of homeownership all the harder and it’s clear that many are reliant on a leg up via the Help to Buy scheme as a result, with high demand for homes that qualify in cities all over the UK.
"Of course, it’s fair to say that Help to Buy in its various forms has also helped drive demand with homebuyers purchasing property that they would otherwise have been unable to afford.
"So perhaps instead of introducing yet another demand-based initiative to artificially inflate house prices, it’s time the Government really start looking at building more houses if they do wish to ‘help those that need it most’.”