Nearly 2,000 Help to Buy customers in arrears

Housing Minister says the debt reflects “short-term administrative issues”.

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Nearly 2,000 Help to Buy customers were in arrears as of November last year – but Housing Minister Esther McVey maintained most were ”only one or two payments behind.”

The 1,983 figure was secured by Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey through a written Commons question.

McVey said the large majority of those in arrears were “only one or two payments behind” with this debt “very largely” reflecting short-term administrative issues with direct debit set-up at the start of the interest fee paying period.

Total interest fee arrears of £189,000 at end of November 2019 represent 2.7 per cent of total amounts charged to customer accounts.

A regional breakdown revealed the number of customer in arrears by region as:  East Midlands – 221; East of England – 210; London – 103; North East – 174; North West – 352; South East – 270; South West – 182; West Midlands – 230; Yorkshire and the Humber – 241.

Healey followed up to ask what assessment MHCLG had made of the reasons why some Help to Buy equity loans had been redeemed – and if estimates had been made of future redemption rates.

McVey said that of the 221,362 Help to Buy equity loans issued by March 31 last year, 30,645 or 13.8% had been redeemed by that date.

She confirmed that of the 30,645 full redemptions to that date, 49.5% (15,184) occurred via the sale of the home and 50.5% (15,461) via customers remaining in their home and paying off their loan by re-mortgaging or with other funds.

As reported by 24housing, a report from the Commons Public Accounts Committee said Help To Buy will have tied up some £29bn in cash terms by the time in concludes in 2023 – but the value of what it has achieved is uncertain when many of those helped could have bought anyway.

That backed a report on Help To Buy released by the National Audit Office in June that found almost a third of buyers could have purchased a property they wanted without the help of the scheme.

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