The Government's Help to Buy scheme, launched last year, has enjoyed a wealth of media coverage since its inception – both good and bad. It's perhaps surprising, then, that a large proportion of both homeowners and prospective buyers haven't actually heard of the scheme, even though it could well prove to be beneficial.
Research from removal company Bishop's Move has found that almost a quarter (22%) of current or prospective homeowners have either never heard of the initiative, or admitted to "hearing the name but not knowing what it was". Overall just 3% were fully aware of the benefits and had either used the scheme themselves or knew someone who had, but in slightly more encouraging news, some 52% were aware that it was helping first-time buyers get on the property ladder.
Looking on a regional basis marks even bigger differences. In the North East, for example, 25% had never heard of the scheme compared to just 7% in Yorkshire and 6% in the West Midlands, highlighting the need to improve awareness in areas where the property market is still under-performing.
Chris Marshall, sales & marketing director at Bishop's Move, comments on the findings: "Help to Buy has certainly been making the headlines for some time, yet there are pockets of homeowners and property buyers across the UK that remain completely unaware of the scheme.
"In areas such as the North East, where the property market is somewhat stagnant, it is a worrying statistic that over a quarter of those surveyed haven't even heard of Help to Buy. In order to improve local economies through the housing market, more needs to be done from a regional perspective to ensure people are fully aware of the many benefits Help to Buy can bring."
So, do you know about the scheme? Hopefully the answer is yes, particularly if you're hoping to get your foot on the ladder. Knowledge of schemes such as this could be a great way to help first-time buyers take that first step, even more so in the climate of rising house prices.
According to Halifax the typical UK home now costs in the region of £183,000, 8.8% higher than this time last year, and although there are signs of moderation – the average price actually dropped by 0.6% on a monthly basis – it could still mean a lot of first-time buyers need extra support.
Help to Buy has the potential to provide that kind of support, and even if you're not considering using the scheme itself, you've probably got it to thank should you be after a high loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage. Since the launch of the mortgage guarantee element of the scheme in October, the number of mortgages available to borrowers with a small deposit has more than trebled, meaning there's now far more choice if you can afford the repayments but can't necessarily amass a significant deposit.
It could be a great time to get on board, and if you're thinking of taking the plunge make sure to arm yourself with the knowledge you need. Check out our guides on Help to Buy to see if you could benefit, or if you've already found that must-have property make sure to compare first-time mortgage options using our best buy tables or handy mortgage calculator. Either way, you could be one step closer to realising your dream of homeownership.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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