The latest government figures reveal who has used the flagship scheme to step onto or up the housing ladder – and how.

More than 290,000 people have used the government’s flagship Help to Buy equity loan scheme to buy a home.

A total of 291,903 buyers had used the scheme by the end of September, seven-and-half years after it was first launched.

Help to Buy enables people to purchase a new-build home with just a 5% deposit, which the government tops up with a 20% equity loan that is interest-free for five years.

The average cost of a home purchased through the scheme was £290,000 between July and August 2020, while more than half of those using Help to Buy had a household income of £50,000 or less.

Who has used Help to Buy?

First-time buyers

First-time buyers have benefitted the most from Help to Buy, accounting for 82% of all purchases made through the initiative, government figures showed.

The average property bought using Help to Buy by people taking their first step onto the housing ladder cost £279,995, while they had a typical household income of £53,218.

A new version of the scheme is being launched on 1 April that will be available exclusively to first-time buyers.

It will also see the introduction of regional price caps on the value of properties that can be purchased through the scheme.

These price caps range from £186,100 in the north east to £437,600 in the south east and £600,000 in London.

Homeowners

People who already owned a home or had previously done so have also benefitted from Help to Buy.

While they only account for 18% of all purchases made using the scheme, the typical home they bought was significantly more expensive than those purchased by first-time buyers at an average of £346,995, while they had an average household income of £60,960.

Homeowners were also more likely to put down deposits that were higher than 5%, with nearly a third putting down a deposit of more than 15%.

Buyers in London

Unlike the rest of the country, where the size of the equity loan is capped at 20% of the property’s value, people buying a home in London can apply for an equity loan worth 40% of their property’s value.

Unsurprisingly, the average purchase price paid by people using Help to Buy in London was significantly higher than the national average at £430,168.

What sort of property have they bought?

A quarter of all properties bought by first-time buyers since Help to Buy’s launch have been detached houses, while 34% have been semi-detached homes.

Only one in five properties bought using the initiative have been flats, which are typically seen as first-time buyer homes.

What’s the background?

The Help to Buy equity loan scheme was designed to overcome one of the biggest barriers many people faced to homeownership, namely saving a large enough deposit to enable them to qualify for a mortgage.

The number of homes bought using the government scheme has increased every year since its launch, apart from in 2020 when transaction levels were impacted by the pandemic lockdowns.

Even then, the number of homes bought using Help to Buy were still 11% higher between July and August 2020, once the housing market had fully reopened, than they were in the same three months the previous year.

How Zoopla can help

You can explore a wide range of new-build homes for sale on Zoopla. And if you are interested in Help to Buy, use our Advanced Search tool or filter your search results to find homes where the scheme is available. 

Register with Zoopla to get instant email alerts for your preferred types of property - you can save as many searches as you want. 

And if you need any help decoding property jargon, don't forget to check out our jargon-buster.

Top three takeaways

  • More than 290,000 buyers have used the Help to Buy equity loan scheme since it was first launched
  • First-time buyers have been the biggest beneficiaries, accounting for 82% of all purchases made through the scheme
  • The average cost of a home bought through Help to Buy was £290,000 between July and August 2020

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