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Row over Government help scheme for house buyers
MORE than 350 families have bought a new home in the region through a Government help scheme - triggering a row over whether it is working.
The 357 mortgages have been handed out under the ‘NewBuy’ initiative - allowing a deposit of just five per cent, on new-build properties – over a 15-month period.
Housing minister Mark Prisk hailed the figure as evidence that the housing market is “clearly moving again” – fulfilling the dream of home ownership.
From next year, the £130bn ‘Help to Buy’ will extend similar help to purchasers of all homes, rather than just new-build properties.
But, across England, only 3,749 NewBuy mortgages have been signed – a fraction of the 100,000 promised by David Cameron when the scheme was launched.
Seizing on that figure, Labour branded the initiative an embarrassing flop, the latest in a long line of housing promises to have turned to dust.
Jack Dromey, Labour’s housing spokesman, said: “Less than five per cent of the number promised have actually been helped on to the housing ladder.
“It shows how out of touch David Cameron is that, while he claims to have turned things around, home ownership remains out of reach for many young families.”
It is the first time that detailed figures, revealing the performance of NewBuy in each area of the country, have been released by the Government.
They show that, in the North-East and North Yorkshire, the scheme has been most popular in the Newcastle postcode area, where 135 deals have been signed.
The next highest numbers are in the Durham postcode zone (82) and are in Teesside (77), with a much lower take-up in Darlington (23) and Sunderland (23).
NewBuy has been less successful in North Yorkshire, with only 17 families helped in the York postcode area and none at all with a Harrogate postcode.
The scheme has also offered part-exchange - allowing a builder to buy an existing property, when it sells a homeowner a newly-built property.
The much bigger ‘Help to Buy’ is aimed at areas where sky-high prices have made home ownership an impossible dream for so many.
Buyers will put down a five per cent deposit on a home worth up to £600,000, with 20 per cent of the cost funded by a “shared equity” loan, repayable when the home is sold.
But many critics have warned the scheme risks creating another “housing bubble” – pushing prices up at the expense of buyers and destabilising the economy.
Housing minister Mark Prisk said: “The housing market is clearly moving again, through the range of government-backed schemes on offer.
“That includes the industry-led NewBuy scheme, which today’s figures show has helped 3,749 people buy with a fraction of the deposit they would normally require.”
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