Charity criticises Help to Buy despite Burnley property buyers receiving on average £1,000

First-time home buyers in Burnley receive an average of £1,013 in support from the Government through Help to Buy ISAs, new figures show.

Friday, 24th May 2019, 1:51 pm
Updated Friday, 24th May 2019, 2:51 pm
The Government's Help To Buy scheme has helped some, but has also caused house builders' profits to soar.

Despite the figures, housing charity Shelter says the scheme only helps the better-off while most renters cannot benefit from it because of a minimum cut-off for savings. The latest Treasury data shows that 139 people in Burnley recieved support from a Help to Buy ISA in 2018 – 11 fewer than in the previous year.

But in total, £141,000 was paid to first-time buyers in the area, compared with £120,000 the previous year. The scheme aims to help people buy their first house. Their property must be purchased with a mortgage and cannot be buy-to-let.

With a Help to Buy ISA, the Government adds 25% to the funds saved in the in buyer's account at the point the property is purchased. The minimum they will add is £400, meaning the buyer needs to save at least £1,600, and the maximum is £3,000.

Only individuals can open an account, but two people buying a property together can each use the bonus, giving them up to £6,000. The Treasury estimates these subsidies helped buyers purchase up to 275 properties in Burnley in 2018.

The maximum purchase price for which buyers are allowed to receive financial help under the scheme is £250,000, or £450,000 in London. The average sale price of homes for first-time buyers in Burnley in December 2018 was £84,000.

Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: "Right now millions of people are stuck in the rent trap, paying well over the odds to put a roof over their head, with little hope of saving anything.

"It’s the failure of successive governments to build social homes that got us into this mess, so while Help to Buy ISAs may help a lucky few who are already better off, for most renters it will bring them no closer to a stable home," she added. "If the Government genuinely wants to help the nation's struggling renters, it needs to seriously invest in social housing. That’s why we want them to back our bold call for 3.1 million new social homes over the next twenty years."

Nationally, first-time buyers received £1,070 on average under Help to Buy from the Government to acquire their properties.