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NAO: Most buyers did not need help-to-buy equity loan

13th June 2019

Most of the households using the Government's help-to-buy equity loan scheme could have bought property without it, a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) shows.

While the scheme had increased home ownership and housing supply since it was introduced in April 2013, only 37% of buyers would not have been able to buy a property without it.

Around 60% could have bought a property without the support of help-to-buy, but not necessarily a property they wanted, and 31% could have purchased a property they wanted.

The help-to-buy equity loan scheme offers buyers an equity loan of up to 20% (or 40% in London) of the market value of an eligible new-build property.

This remains interest-free for five years, and the value of the loan changes in proportion to changes in the property's value.

As of December 2018, 211,000 equity loans had been made through the scheme, with a total value of £11.7 billion.

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, said:

"Help-to-buy has increased home ownership and housing supply, particularly for first-time buyers.

"However, a proportion of participants could have afforded to buy a home without the Government's help.

"Until we can observe its longer-term effects on the property market, we cannot say whether the scheme has delivered value for money."

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