The number of properties purchased through the Help to Buy scheme fell by 9% in Q1, according to the latest government statistics.
The total number of properties purchased fell to 9,515 in Q1 2020, down from 10,405 in Q1 2019.
The total value of properties sold through the Help to Buy scheme dropped 4% on the same quarter last year, falling to £2.9bn, from £3.1bn in Q1 2019.
Andy Sommerville, director of Search Acumen commented, “The latest Help to Buy data reveals the severe impact the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic had on a key driver of activity in the UK’s property market.
“The UK’s lockdown and tight safety measures caused an enforced sharp drop in demand for new properties eligible under the Help to Buy scheme. However, as restrictions start to loosen and Government incentives such as raising the stamp duty threshold come into play, we are starting to see early signs of an uplift.
“The average property price purchased by first-time buyers under the Help to Buy Scheme now stands at £305,414 for Q1 2020, well below the new £500,000 threshold. Any cost savings gained through the stamp duty subsidy may be enough to incentivise first-time buyers to push ahead with purchases.
“First-time buyers are more likely to have been hardest hit by the pandemic, meaning they should be prioritised. Ensuring they are given adequate support will be key to speeding up the property market’s recovery.
“In order for the market to meet any surge in demand, we need to cut delays in the sales process through the adoption of technology and better use of data at the very start of the transaction. This will save headaches for conveyancers, ensure housebuilders get paid faster and that buyers can move in quicker, all contributing to a more resilient property market.”