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Builder still upbeat over new homes.

Byline: GRAEME BROWN Regional Business Editor graeme.brown?trinitymirror.com

HOUSEBUILDER Bellway added to cheer over the property market as it reported higher prices and a surge in demand since the Help to Buy scheme was launched.

The group, which has housing developments in Birmingham, Solihull and Halewowen, 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 five per cent to PS200,300 after achieving better-than-expected sale prices.

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 per cent year-on-year to PS166,898 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 yesterday 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 fourthbiggest 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 lenders start to offer shared equity loans through the scheme.

Help to Buy offers buyers loans of up to 20 per cent of the value of a new home worth up to PS600,000, interest-free for five years.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 10, 2013
Words:303
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