HUNDREDS of first-time buyers bought homes under the government’s Help to Buy equity loan program in Bracknell Forest last year, figures show.
But housing activists say the program “sticks a cast” on the inability to build enough housing nationwide, while doing nothing to help tenants with no savings.
Until March 31, the program allowed buyers to borrow up to 20% of the value of a new home – up to 40% in London – provided they put at least a 5% down payment and that the house does not cost more than Â£ 600,000.
Data from the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government shows that 284 loans were made to first-time buyers in Bracknell Forest using the program during the year through March, 26 less than the previous year.
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They were among the 326 households in the region that benefited from the program, meaning that 87% of loans went to people buying their first home.
The loans totaled Â£ 25.5million, an average of Â£ 78,100.
Across England, Â£ 4bn in Help to Buy loans were made in 2020-2021, when more than 55,600 households benefited from the program – a record.
More than four out of five were first-time buyers.
But Priced Out, which advocates for affordable house prices, said the fact that so many people have to borrow money to buy their first home shows a “failure” to control house price inflation.
Director Anya Martin said: âPrices have been rising faster than revenues for decades now, and all because we have failed to meet higher demand with higher supply.
âThe government is not doing enough to ensure that more people can buy their first homes.
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“They have the levers to stabilize or lower house prices, but instead of allowing more housing to be built, they continue to pump the market with more money.”
As of April 2013, the average purchase price for properties purchased with a Nationwide Purchase Assistance loan has been Â£ 277,300, with an average loan of Â£ 61,200.
The Shelter for Housing charity said the government needs to focus on doing more for the “huge” number of people across the country who are closer to homelessness than to home ownership.
Polly Neate, CEO of the charity, said: âOver a million homes are eagerly awaiting a social home, but less than 7,000 were built last year.
“Expensive home ownership programs will never solve the housing crisis, investing in truly affordable social housing will actually do it.”
Changes to the purchase assistance equity loan program were made from April, meaning it is now only open to first-time buyers, with price caps from the real estate set at regional rather than national level.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: âMore than 55,000 households bought their homes with the support of Help to Buy Equity Loan last year: a banner year for the program, which helps young people and first-time people. first-time buyers feel the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with owning your own home.
He added that the government was doing everything possible to make buying a home an “affordable and realistic ambition”, through various programs, including Home Buyer’s Assistance.