Help to Buy sales hit 73,000 homes

The number of people joining the housing ladder continues to grow as new figures show more than 73,000 homes have been bought under the government’s flagship Help to Buy schemes.

With housebuilding at its highest level since 2007, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said the figures demonstrated how the schemes were getting the country building, as part of the government’s long-term economic plan.

Mr Lewis said: “Our long-term economic plan has turned this country around from the one we inherited, suffering from a crashed economy and a housing market where builders wouldn’t build, lenders wouldn’t lend and buyers couldn’t buy.

Now numbers of first-time buyers are at their highest since 2007, housebuilding continues to climb and planning permissions are at record levels.

All these measures combined are helping record numbers of people into a new home, including 73,000 households benefiting from Help to Buy and we will keep striving to get that total even higher.”

The figures show that more than 38,000 households have been supported by the government’s Help to Buy (equity loan) scheme, with the average price of homes under the scheme £212,000, well below the £271,000 UK average. The scheme has also brought down the average deposit needed.

Government schemes represent only part of the total, with Halifax figures this week showing 326,500 first time buyer purchases last year, up 22% on 2013.

The Help to Buy (equity loan) scheme was introduced (along with other Help to Buy products) to support people who can afford a mortgage, but struggle to save the deposits required by lenders in the wake of the financial crisis.

As it applies to new build homes it creates much needed new housing to meet long term need, and stimulates economic growth by creating and protecting up to 76,000 construction sector jobs.

National success story

The figures show the government schemes are helping every part of the country, with some of the main towns and cities benefiting from the Help to Buy (equity loan) scheme being:

  • Leeds – 628 sales

  • Milton Keynes – 516 sales

  • Peterborough – 512 sales

  • Birmingham – 465 sales

  • Bedford – 454 sales

Deputy PM seals £357m Growth Deal for the Midlands

Nick Clegg

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has signed a historic Growth Deal for Birmingham and Solihull, bringing over £357 million of investment to the region to support economic growth.

The Growth Deal will help to deliver at least 13,000 jobs, allow up to 4,000 homes to be built and up-skill 7,633 people by 2021, as well as generating up to £80 million in public and private investment.

In addition, the Regional Growth Fund is providing £1.8 million towards a £17 million investment which has enabled HydraForce UK to build a new, bespoke 120,000 square-foot factory in Birmingham.

This will create and safeguard almost 200 long-term jobs while generating upwards of 100 jobs in HydraForce’s supply chain.

The Deputy Prime Minister confirmed other Regional Growth Fund awards, including Dana UK Axle, which has secured a £1 million grant to increase capacity and install cutting-edge technology, creating 400 jobs in high-tech manufacturing.

Sertec Group Holdings secured a £1.425 million RGF grant to help deliver its project to invest in new stamping equipment and robotic welding cells at their plants in Aston, Coleshill and Tyseley. This will lead to 200 new jobs.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: I’m delighted to be finalising this historic deal bringing real change to our second largest city in the UK. This significant Growth Deal will enable a whole host of jobs to be created, see scores of homes built and transport services improved. All of this is a major boost to the economy in Greater Birmingham and Solihull.

Growth Deals are about local areas leading their own growth, giving more power to people in the regions so we can work together to build a strong economy and a fairer society.

I was impressed with HydraForce’s ambitious plans to double its turnover and significantly increase its UK workforce. This US company has been in Birmingham for over a quarter of a century and this investment is securing its future in the Midlands.”

House builders get £40m Cambridge Uni new town deal

House builders get £40m Cambridge Uni new town deal

The University of Cambridge has awarded contracts to two residential developers, Countryside and Hill, to build the market housing on the North West Cambridge Development.

The combined investment will see the house builders delivering 400 homes in the first phase of the development that will boost the trades and create new jobs.

Brian Nearney, Commercial Director of the North West Cambridge Development said: “Our partnerships with Countryside and Hill mark another major chapter in development.

Both developers have demonstrated to the University that they will create new homes that will meet our objectives of sustainable living and exemplar design. We look forward to working with them in delivering this new quarter of the City.”

All 400 market homes as well as the 700 University key worker homes that are part of the first phase of the development will be designed to high levels of sustainability meeting the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5.

They will be integrated into the Sustainable Urban Drainage System including the UK’s largest non-potable water recycling system, as well as the district heating network, and make extensive use of photovoltaics.

Hill, working with Pollard Thomas Edwards and Alison Brooks Architects, and Countryside, working with Proctor and Matthews Architects, will deliver a mix of housing types, including apartments, terraces, semi-detached and detached houses for the scheme.

Graham Cherry, Chief Executive of Countryside’s New Homes & Communities division said: “We are delighted to have been selected by the University of Cambridge to help create a dynamic new district that will form the next chapter in the evolution of Cambridge.

Working with Proctor and Matthews we will use our design and place making skills to create a quarter that will set new standards for 21st century living.”

Brian Buckingham, Partner of Bidwells said: “It is exciting to have worked with the University to secure two strong local developers from the competition to deliver the market housing – they will set the benchmark for the quality of homes for the later phases of the scheme and underpin the ambitions of the University to create a long-lasting place.”