Increasing numbers of high earners using Help to Buy

The number of properties purchased using a Help to Buy equity loan reached a record high in 2018.

Last year, the scheme helped 1,000 households every week, and 143 households a day, to get on the property ladder.

Launched in April 2013, the initiative was set up to help buyers purchase a new-build with just a 5% deposit, backed by a Government equity loan worth up to 20% and interest-free for the first five years.

The latest figures show 210,964 properties have been purchased under the Government scheme in total, with 42,748 completed last year.

The majority, 81% or 171,053, of purchases have been by first-time buyers.

But analysis by EYE suggests increasing numbers of higher earning first-time buyers are using the scheme, when they may have been able to access products and properties elsewhere.

The Government data shows the majority of the first-time buyers using the scheme are earning household incomes of £30,000 to £50,000.

However, the biggest increase in first-time buyer users during 2018 came from households in higher earning brackets.

The largest increase by buyer type was households earning between £60,001 to £80,000 during 2018, up 46% to 26,043.

Purchases from households earning £80,001 to £100,000 and for those on more than £100,000 were up 44.7% and 45.4% respectively.

In contrast, the number of buyers earning within the national average of £20,001 to £30,000 was up 19.5%.

Most of these first-time buyers will also have been helped by the Stamp Duty relief on the first £300,000 of a purchase.

Separate HMRC data showed that 46,800 transactions claimed first-time buyers’ relief in the first quarter of this year, making a total of 288,300 claims since the relief’s introduction in November 2017.

Only 65% of residential transactions were liable for Stamp Duty in the first quarter of this year, HMRC said, which is the lowest proportion since the second quarter of 2013.

In total, HMRC recorded 225,500 residential transactions during the first three months of this year.

Of these, 146,500 were liable for Stamp Duty, down 23% on a quarterly basis and 7% annually.

The number of properties liable for the additional Stamp Duty rate also decreased by 15% over the quarter to 51,100, a 7% drop compared with the same period of 2018.

These declines have also resulted in a drop in Stamp Duty receipts.

Residential receipts decreased by 8% annually to £1.7bn in the first three months of the year.

From this figure, standard residential receipts, excluding the extra Stamp Duty surcharge, decreased 10% annually to £913m during the quarter, while takings for the additional rate were down 6% annually to £811m.

Paul Smith, chief executive of haart estate agents, warned that the Government’s tax clampdown on landlords was also hitting Stamp Duty receipts.

He said: “The Government’s continued assault on landlords is also fuelling an overall drop in receipts, as additional property transactions decrease by a further 15% over the first quarter of this year.

“But despite this, our branches noticed green shoots appear towards the end of the first quarter, as the number of landlords registering to buy jumped up by 8% in March, as some dare to re-enter the market.

“But until the Government can incentivise more landlords to return to the market, they risk causing a permanent and detrimental impact on the rental market.”

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  1. ArthurHouse02

    Help to buy should be renamed Help to Sell.

  2. RadPropertyDude

    Help to Buy a disgraceful scheme more often harming those it’s supposed to be helping.  I wish I could use more aggressive wording here.   The future will unravel some very dark facts about all of this.  


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