CONSTRUCTION firms in the North-East are feeling the benefit of the Government's Help to Buy scheme, according to new figures.

A report says more than 1,000 buyers have joined the property ladder using the Help to Buy equity loan scheme.

The programme allows people to buy a new home with a deposit of at least five per cent of the price, with the Government offering a 20 per cent loan.

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New figures say 194 new-build properties have been sold using Help to Buy in the last 11 months, including 19 deals in Darlington, with 168 sales in Stockton, 62 in Redcar and Cleveland and 35 in Middlesbrough.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “ I’m really pleased to see people across the North-East voting with their feet and using the Help to Buy to get a foothold on the property ladder.

“It is getting the North-East building again and creating careers for local people.”

The figures come as firms report increased market confidence.

Last week, the UK's largest housebuilder Barratt Developments, which was founded by North-East property tycoon Sir Lawrie Barratt, revealed plans to create about 3,000 jobs after Help to Buy was extended to 2020.