I’ve written before about the help-to-buy scheme and generally speaking, I’m in favour of the aims behind it. So far, the majority of news coverage about the scheme has covered the consumer angle and questions have been raised in particular about whether it’s fuelling another housing bubble – something denied by the prime minister in January.
To date, the initial figures released by the government on the equity loan element of the scheme have revealed that the majority of help-to-buy deals are being done outside of London. These statistics may now help to allay fears of a bubble, particularly given that house prices in the provinces are rising at a far slower rate than in the capital.
The government’s figures show strong take-up by the house-buying public, with 12,875 sales completed since the launch of the equity loan element of the scheme back in April 2013, with 6,446 sales in the pipeline.
But looking behind the scheme, has it also helped housebuilders?
According to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the initiative is certainly supporting the rejuvenation of the construction industry. However, the organisation has called upon the government to do more to ensure that the smaller players in the market have access to business finance to get projects off the ground, to improve the supply of small and easy to deliver sites and to cut the heavy regulations that bind developers. There are currently 900+ builders offering access to the scheme, and of these, 600+ are smaller builders, creating developments with less than 40 homes. Visiting a development in Yorkshire recently, housing minister Kris Hopkins sought to emphasise the benefits of the scheme for regional economies, with that particular development relying heavily upon both local labour and supplies.
Interesting figures released by the National Federation of Builders have also revealed that the construction industry grew by 4.5% during Q3 2013 with those figures based purely upon private and public housebuilding, up on 1.9% for the same period in 2013. However, that was a drop of 0.3% from Q3 2013. and was also marred by 2,976 construction companies going out of business up to the end of Q3 2013, higher levels than in any other industry.
Whilst these are a mixed bag of results, they do show signs of an upturn in the industry, indicating that help-to-buy may be having somewhat of a positive effect.
So if help-to-buy can support builders, what can they do to reap the benefits of the scheme? Housebuilders can apply to become help-to-buy providers by completing an application form via the Homes and Communities Agency. The Agency also provides a helpful FAQ sheet which may be of interest to potential applicants to the scheme.
If this post has been of interest, and you would like advice on any of the matters covered above, or if you require information or advice on commercial or residential property transactions and investments, please contact Gisella Alberici on 0161 0281, or by email: email@example.com