Help to Buy running smoothly

In the first nine months 12,875 buyers completing purchases through Help to Buy, with the department loaning £518m to buyers.

The scheme’s cost will come to £3.7bn long-term, while the Department for Communities and Local Government are currently unsure whether it has economically benefitted the UK.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “The Help to Buy equity loan scheme is improving access to mortgage finance and for the most part is running smoothly.

“If the Help to Buy equity loan scheme is to protect public value, the department and the agency need to quantify the scheme’s impact on construction and homebuyers, and manage as far as possible the risks to taxpayers’ money which is now exposed to the housing market.”

For economic benefits to exceed the costs, over a quarter of sales from the scheme would have to lead to a new home being built.

The report added that although there are more affordable homes for buyers this has been at the cost of the taxpayer.

Investment in the scheme is expected to be recouped in cash terms in around 15 years before coming to £4.8bn. This depends on when buyers redeem their equity loans and the value of the department’s stake at the time.

The scheme’s cost in today’s terms is £494m, while 89% of Help to Buy equity loan sales have been to first-time buyers.

Emma Reynolds MP, Labour’s shadow housing minister, said: “Any help for first-time buyers struggling to get on the property ladder is to be welcomed.”