The subsidy scheme, which reduces the need for a big deposit, is credited with contributing to 31,400 first-timers clinching a property in March — the highest monthly number since the peak of the market in 2007, according to LSL Property Services.
Help to Buy (helptobuy.org.uk) works by allowing buyers to borrow up to 20 per cent of the value of a new-build home from the Government, interest free for five years, meaning they only need to raise five per cent of the asking price, borrowing the remaining 75 per cent with a conventional mortgage.
After five years buyers will be charged 1.75 per cent interest on their Government loan, rising annually by one per cent above inflation, and when they sell they repay it entirely.
From £399,950: for flats at More West, with Notting Hill on the doorstep
A separate scheme allows the purchase of older homes, with the Government chipping in 15 per cent towards a deposit. Almost 20,000 buyers have taken this route.
In London there were 12,700 first-time buyer sales in the first three months of this year, each spending an average £293,589.
On the downside, the scheme’s £600,000 limit means first-time buyers are still locked out of most new developments in central London, and it has emerged that homes in Chobham Manor, the first of five new suburbs being built within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at Stratford, will not be included in Help to Buy.
These gripes aside, there are some great current — and imminent — opportunities in Zones 2 and 3 for those keen to get on the ladder:
Close to prime central London is More West, 28 flats within an easy walk of Latimer Road Tube station in Zone 2. Portobello Road and Notting Hill are on the doorstep, so the location is great for shopping, eating, drinking and hanging out. Prices start at £399,950 and the homes will be completed in November. Visit hamptons.co.uk for details.
From £475,000: two-bedroom flats at Prime Place in Greenwich
The last phase of Prime Place in Greenwich has launched, with prices from £475,000 for a two-bedroom flat (primeplacegreenwich.com). On-site facilities include a health and fitness club, restaurants and café, and all homes have private balcony or terrace, some with great City views. It’s a swift walk to Greenwich DLR and Overground station in Zone 2, with quick links to Canary Wharf and Cannon Street.
Also in Greenwich, New Capital Quay is a riverside development on the former dockyards of Henry VIII. Almost 1,000 homes, plus bars, restaurants, cafés, shops and a museum are being built, with an easy walk to either Greenwich or Deptford stations. Two-bedroom flats start at £470,000.
If high-rise living appeals, prices at The Tower, in Great West Quarter, Brentford start at £420,000 for a one-bedroom flat. Ready to move into next month, the homes are well-located for Heathrow, while from South Ealing station in Zone 3 it’s less than half an hour to central London.