David Cameron courts first-time buyers as 50,000 sign on to home discount scheme

 
Guy Bentley
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Cameron courts first-time buyers (Source: Getty)

Over 50,000 people have signed up to the government's programme to give first-time buyers a 20 per cent discount on their new home.

An extension of the controversial Help to Buy initiative, the programme means new properties up to £250,000 and £450,000 in London will be subject to deep discounts. However, only those under the age of 40 are eligible for the discount.

Launched last month, the scheme is intended to double the number of starter homes to 200,000. In total, 52,225 have signed onto the programme. Housebuilders have, unsurprisingly, endorsed the scheme enthusiastically, with 40 of them publicly supporting the policy including listed firms Taylor Wimpey and Barratt.

David Cameron speaking today in the wake of last night's seven-way debate, said:

Home ownership goes to the heart of our political beliefs. It’s simple: we believe having a home of their own gives people and families independence; it helps people stand on their own two feet; and it’s one of the ultimate symbols of a country where if you work hard, you can get on.

Tory strategists believe key moves to increase home ownership will reap electoral dividends come polling day. In George Osborne's last budget, he unveiled a Help to Buy Isa. For every £200 saved by first-time buyers, the taxpayer will chip in another £50.

Labour's shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds hit back at Cameron's remarks saying:

Warm words from David Cameron about home ownership will ring hollow for those young people and families who have been priced out of home ownership over the past five years.

Rapidly rising prices have created a difficult environment for first-time buyers. A recent survey suggested first-time buyers are accepting lower quality properties thanks to the housing shortage.

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