ONE hundred and twenty people have bought homes in Southampton through the Government’s flagship Help to Buy scheme.
More than 27,000 people across the UK have bought homes through Help To Buy’s two separate Equity Loan and Mortgage Guarantee schemes.
But while a Conservative parliamentary candidate in Southampton says that the policy has allowed families in the city to enjoy greater financial stability, critics have said that it “isn’t enough” and have urged the Government to concentrate on building new homes instead.
The Equity Loan scheme works by providing a Government loan of up to 20 per cent, meaning that people only require a five per cent cash deposit to bid for a 75 per cent mortgage for a newly-built home.
Through the Mortgage Guarantee scheme, the Government guarantees the mortgages of people who can afford repayments but do not have large deposits for new or old homes.
Prime Minister David Cameron visited Southampton in January, shortly after the Mortgage Guarantee scheme was launched, to champion the initiative.
Speaking after Government figures revealed both schemes had helped 120 families in Southampton, Itchen Conservative candidate Cllr Royston Smith said: “Labour’s Great Recession led to a collapse in house-building and meant hard-working people found it nearly impossible to buy their own home.
“That’s why the Conservatives, as part of our long-term economic plan, launched Help to Buy so that more people could get an affordable mortgage and get on the housing ladder.
“Thanks to the Conservatives, even more families have been able to achieve their dream of owning their own home and can now enjoy greater financial security allowing them to plan for their future.”
His rival for the Itchen seat, Labour candidate Rowenna Davis, said: “It’s great news that 120 families have new homes in our city.
“We have a savage housing shortage in Southampton, and too many people can’t afford a decent home to bring up their families.
“But Help to Buy is not enough, and as the Governor of the Bank of England warned last week, we have to be careful not to create another housing bubble. We need to tackle the root cause of this problem, which is the critical shortage of affordable housing.
“Our solution is to increase housing supply. Nationally Labour has promised a mass house building programme, while Southampton’s Labour council has pledged to build one new home a day.
“That way homes become more affordable for everyone, and we all have less debt.”