Osborne extends Help to Buy 1

Speaking on the BBC Osborne said the first phase of the scheme would be extended until 2020. The scheme was due to end in 2016 or as soon as funding ran out.

Nicholas Ayre, managing director of homebuying agency Home Fusion, said: “The extension of the first phase of Help to Buy until 2020 will be welcomed by house builders who have received a significant boost since the scheme was introduced last April.

“It is telling that the Chancellor has not made the same commitment to extend the mortgage guarantee element of Help to Buy: this may be because it has not been long introduced so it's too early to judge its full impact.”

Ayre also speculated that with fears of a housing bubble in London and the South East still rife the Chancellor could be opening himself up to criticism.

The Chancellor also announced plans for a new “garden city” at Ebbsfleet, where 15,000 homes are to be built in the Thames estuary.

Osborne said: “Ebbsfleet has the land available, it has fantastic infrastructure and is in the south-east, where all the pressure has been.

“This will be a proper garden city, which is not something this country has attempted for decades.”

Charles Haresnape, managing director, residential mortgages at Aldermore Bank, who has long been a proponent of such schemes welcomed the Chancellors plan but questioned its location.

He said: “I have been suggesting this for some time now but the main question is why is this another southern based initiative rather than boosting infrastructure in the north where land prices are cheaper and more employment could be encouraged.”

Ayre was also sceptical of the scheme. He said “Ebbsfleet garden city is no overnight solution to the paucity of houses being built but it is a huge step in the right direction.

“Even assuming that planning has already been agreed, building 15,000 homes and the infrastructure that is needed to go with them - doctors' surgeries, schools, etc - will take time.

“But build it and they will come: while there may be little in Ebbsfleet at the moment, cheap housing with a super fast rail connection into London is bound to be attractive to buyers.