Help to Buy lifts Persimmon new sales past 3,000

Kasmira Jefford
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HOUSEBUILDER Persimmon said yesterday it has sold over 3,000 homes under the government sponsored Help to Buy scheme, in yet another sign of rising confidence in the housing market.

Chief executive Jeff Fairburn said that while 90 per cent of sales were to first-time buyers, growing market confidence was prompting more second and third-time buyers to move homes.

“We are seeing more people with houses to sell wanting to enter the new-build market. They see houses down the street starting to sell and they think now is the time to move,” he said.

Housebuilders have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of government efforts to help homebuyers and free up mortgage lending, primarily through the equity loan part of the Help to Buy scheme for new-build properties.

The launch of the second part of the scheme, guaranteeing up to £130bn of mortgages on new and existing properties, was brought forward to 8 October across the UK.

However Fairburn said the impact of the second part of the Help to Buy scheme has so far been muted due to the higher level of interest rates being charged.

In a third quarter update, Persimmon said the weekly private sales rate has been 45 per cent ahead of last year since the beginning of July, while visitor levels were 20 per cent ahead in the period to 5 November.

The company said it is now fully sold for the current year, with £650m in forward sales reserved beyond 2013.