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The supply of homes available under the UK’s flagship Help to Buy scheme has declined by 7.4% in a year and the average prices has risen by 5.5%. The worst affected area is Stockport where the number of available homes has fallen by 24.3%, according to new research from property firm Zoopla. The analysis of properties for sale in England and Wales up to a value of £600,000 also shows that on a regional basis the biggest fall in properties eligible for Help to Buy has been in the East of England, with a 12.3% reduction in suitable stock on the market, while average prices have climbed 6.1% over the same period. Also, compared to March 2014, there are now 16.9% fewer properties on the market in Rochdale that meet the scheme’s criteria, and 15.6% less in Huddersfield. Further south, the number of properties for sale in Worcester, Cheltenham and Exeter that qualify for Help to Buy support has increased by 5.4%, 3.3%, and 3.2% respectively in the past 12 months. In London, the typical value of a property qualifying for Help to Buy has risen by 11.7% since March 2014 and of all London boroughs, Southwark, Lambeth, Waltham Forest and Newham have seen the greatest annual rise in supply of homes with a rise of over 15%. ‘The Help to Buy scheme was intended as a leg up for first time buyers, but in some areas that footrest has since been pulled from under their feet,’ said Lawrence Hall of Zoopla. ‘Greater demand hasn’t been met by greater supply of homes on the market, and instead the soaring price growth of the past year appears to have airlifted many properties out of the starter home sector,’ he explained. ‘The pool of homes on the market within reach of Help to Buy assistance needs to expand, or this pinch on supply will continue to inflate prices at the bottom rungs of the ladder,’ he added. Continue reading →
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