One in five first time buyers have been given a hand by Help to Buy

Helen Cahill
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The government scheme started this time last year (Source: Getty)

One in five house purchases made by first time buyers are now being supported by the government's Help to Buy Isa.

The scheme, which was started on 1 December last year, gives aspiring home owners a 25 per cent boost to their savings when buying a property worth £250,000 or less. The price limit rises to £450,000 in the capital.

Read more: Bellway boosted by Help to Buy

According to statistics from HM Treasury out today, £20m has been paid out in through the scheme so far, accounting for 38,595 bonuses. The average Help to Buy Isa bonus was £530 as of November (the maximum bonus the government will pay is £3,000).

The median age of a first time buyer using the scheme is 27, as compared to the national median age of 30.

Danny Cox, chartered financial planner at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Help to Buy Isa is helping to support younger home buyers and push down the average age at which people first step onto the property ladder.

"The majority using the Help to Buy Isa are under the age of 35 which shows the Lifetime Isa age limit of 40 is well placed to support first time buyers."

Read more: House prices are on course to fall below £300,000 in December

However, the government has come under pressure to do more to increase housing supply, rather than supporting schemes that push up demand.

Housebuilder Bellway said this week that it had been boosted by the loan scheme; Help to Buy was responsible for nearly 40 per cent of the housebuilder's sales over the last four months.

Housing charity Shelter has said that the government has been spending two thirds of its housing money on pushing up demand through schemes such as the Lifetime Isa and Help to Buy. Only a third of its housing budget has been going towards building new homes.

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