Completions through equity loan scheme are 41% down on the same period pre-pandemic

Purchases of properties using the Help to Buy equity loan scheme have fallen 57% year-on-year, as tighter eligibility criteria continues to restrict sales.

Official figures show there were 8,913 completions using the scheme in October 1 and December 31, compared to 21,106 in the same period 2020, when delayed sales inflated figures.

However, the figures were also 41% down on the same period in 2019 pre-pandemic.

The last three months of 2021 was the second quarter in which new rules restricting access to the scheme were fully in place. Help to Buy sales fell 46% in July 1 and September 30 compared to the same period last year.

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 The new version of Help to Buy launched in April last year includes tightened eligibility criteria to ensure it is only used by first time buyers.

The government also introduced regional purchase price caps based on 1.5 times the average regional first-time buyer price, ranging from £186,100 in the North east to £600,000 in London. Since last April, the scheme, which offers an equity loan of 20% of the price of a new build home (40% in London), has only been available to first time buyers who have not previously “acquired via purchase, gift, trust or inheritance, a major interest in a property either in the UK or abroad”. 

The latest data also showed a continuing trend for bigger falls in Help to Buy completions in the north of england and the midlands. Completions in the north west, west midlands and north east fell 62%, 51% and 49% respectively, compared to just 15% in London (see below).

The Home Builders Federation has previously warned the tighter criteria and price caps would have a particularly big impact in “areas where the scheme had been very popular such as Manchester, Wigan, Cheshire, Newcastle and Rugby”.

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 Help to Buy completions in Q4 2021 v Q4 2019

Region Q4 2019Q4 2020Change YoY% change YOY
North East                704                   359 -345 -49.01
North West             1,772                   667 -1105 -62.36
Yorkshire and The Humber             1,315                   688 -627 -47.68
East Midlands             1,569                   828 -741 -47.23
West Midlands             1,472                   721 -751 -51.02
East of England             1,999                1,361 -638 -31.92
London             1,507                1,280 -227 -15.06
South East             3,054                1,872 -1182 -38.70
South West             1,658                1,137 -521 -31.42