"2018 looks set to be the strongest year so far for Help to Buy sales, with total completions since the scheme began likely to have passed the 200,000 mark"
Q2 2018 saw the strongest quarter of Help to Buy activity since its inception, according to the latest government statistics.
The second quarter saw 14,867 completions with a total value of £962m.
The number of completions that went to first-time buyers also hit a record high of 12,229, totalling £787m in value.
Since the launch of the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme in April 2013, 183,947 properties have been bought with an equity loan.
The total value of these equity loans is £9.90bn, with the value of the properties sold under the scheme totalling £46.52bn.
Kate Davies, executive director of IMLA, commented: “These statistics underline that there is considerable appetite for Help to Buy among homebuyers. The Government’s programme continues to stimulate the bottom of the housing ladder and indirectly support the whole of the UK property sector.
“2018 looks set to be the strongest year so far for Help to Buy sales, with total completions since the scheme began likely to have passed the 200,000 mark at the start of this quarter. This further highlights that Help to Buy will remain invaluable in supporting home buyers into the next decade and will play a crucial role in helping to keep the housing market on an even keel during a period of heightened uncertainty as a result of Brexit.
“Mortgage brokers have remained indispensable in facilitating the Help to Buy remortgaging process, especially to first-time buyers who have never navigated the home buying process before. Indeed, intermediaries’ role in the process is becoming even more important as early Help to Buy adopters seek a broader range of refinancing options, with a number of Help to Buy remortgage products already on the market to address growing demand.
“We welcome Homes England’s commitment to work even more closely with lenders and mortgage brokers to provide regular policy updates and arm intermediaries with the vital information necessary for home buyers to successfully manage the Help to Buy process over its entire life.”
Lucy Pendleton, founder and director James Pendleton estate agents, added: “Those looking for some clues as to what is propping up house prices across the country need look no further. First-time buyers are piling into Help To Buy and they don’t seem to give two hoots about the Brexit uncertainty that is holding back the rest of the market.
“First-time buyers, still under huge financial pressure despite relatively low borrowing rates, still account for the lion’s share of these loans and their appetite isn’t waning. They have taken 16% more Help To Buy loans nationally in the past year and in London they are literally hoovering them up.
“It’s here they are putting the scheme to particularly good use because house prices are still relatively high despite the fact they are cooling. That’s not that surprising but the scale of the increase certainly is, with first-time buyers’ use of the scheme ballooning a massive 32% in the capital.
“Transaction levels nationally remain depressed but hunger for Help To Buy shows no sign of abating with the scheme helping first-time buyers buy £5.8bn worth of property in the first half of 2018.”