Housebuilder Bellway said this month that it has been buoyed by the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, reporting higher prices and a surge in demand since its introduction.

The Newcastle-based group said it has seen average weekly reservations jump by nearly a third since the beginning of February, with 360 homes already reserved through the Help to Buy initiative since it launched in April.

Its average property value has also risen by 5% to £200,300 after achieving better-than-expected sale prices across some new sites in the South.

The figures provide the latest sign that the UK housing market is gathering momentum, with Halifax reporting the strongest annual increase in prices for more than two years in May, up 2.6% year-on-year to £166,898 on average.

Chancellor George Osborne’s Help to Buy loan scheme is credited with having helped spur on the housing recovery, with the Home Builders Federation (HBF) also releasing figures showing that it has helped lead to 4,000 home reservations in just two months.

The HBF said builders were seeing 500 reservations for purchase every week through the scheme.

Bellway – the UK’s fourth-biggest housebuilder – said it had been “encouraged” by the pick-up in the property market.

“Wider accessibility to affordable, higher loan-to-value mortgages has led to visitor numbers and reservations being ahead of expectations and these have been further enhanced by an increase in the number of active sales outlets,” it said.

It added Help to Buy was set to boost the market further as more lenders start to offer shared equity loans through the scheme.

Help to Buy offers buyers loans of up to 20% of the value of a new home worth up to £600,000, interest-free for five years. It allows people to buy homes with deposits of just 5%.

The next stage of Help to Buy will prop up the industry with mortgage guarantees and launches in January.

It will offer buyers the ability to buy a home, new or old, with just a 5% deposit, while the state will insure against losses on the next 15% of a loan.

Bellway said the buoyant recent trading meant it has already reached its goal to increase sales by 5% and now expects completions to be around 7% higher in the year to July 31.

It has also secured reservations expected to lead to sales of £380 million in the new financial year, which compares with £270 million sold in the year to July 2012.


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