Help to Buy in Wales mostly first-time buyers, figures show

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Estate agent boards outside houses in Cardiff
Image caption,
The average value of properties bought under scheme is just under £115,000

A total of 369 homes in Wales have been sold under the UK government's Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme, new figures show.

That amounts to about 5% of the total of 7,313 completions across the UK since it was launched late last year.

First-time buyers accounted for most of the sales in Wales - a total of 309.

The statistics from the UK Treasury released on Thursday are the first comprehensive measure of the scheme since it began.

The average value of Welsh properties bought under this mortgage guarantee scheme is just under £115,000, the Treasury statistics show.

The average value of homes across Wales is just below £164,000.

There are two Help to Buy schemes operating in Wales, one run by the UK government and the other by the Welsh government.

In January the Welsh government scheme - Help to Buy Cymru - was launched.

It has approved 700 loans so far, of which 161 have been completed.

The Welsh government's version is available for new build homes up to £300,000 as long as borrowers have a 5% deposit. It will provide up to 20% of the value of the property as an interest-free loan.

No 'bubble' effect

The UK government's version means buyers can purchase any home up to the value of £600,000, and part of their loan is underwritten by the Treasury.

The UK mortgage guarantee figures officially cover the first three months of 2014, but include all applications since October 2013, when homebuyers were first able to register for the mortgage guarantee scheme.

The number of completed sales in Wales was only just below the total of 385 in London. BBC economics editor Robert Peston said the figures showed it was "absurd" to argue that the bubble in the London housing market has been caused by Help to Buy.

Prices across the UK are rising by 8% a year, according to the Office for National Statistics, and by 17% a year in London. Prices rose by 5.3% in Wales, the Office for National Statistics reported last month.

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