TV architect George Clarke’s praise for first-time buyer scheme

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WASHINGTON-born architect George Clarke has heaped praise on a scheme to give more young people a helping hand up the property ladder.

The TV presenter believes Help to Buy, a scheme by the Government to get the housing market moving again, is working.

George, who grew up in Blackfell and advised the Prime Minister on the empty homes crisis, said: “I do welcome Help to Buy. The people who criticise it need to realise that house builders are not going to build houses unless there’s demand for them.

“People are saying it’s creating a bubble, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t give people a financial incentive and then say it’s working too well, it’s actually picking up house prices.

“I realise that it’s a worry but the Government have got to do something. In order for these new houses to be built, they need to create the demand.”

Statistics have revealed that the take-up of the five per cent mortgage programme to buy new build homes is increasing, and County Durham is the sixth most popular place for the scheme in the UK.

The scheme guarantees a mortgage to people with a five per cent deposit with the Government guaranteeing another 20 per cent of the property’s value.

Nearly 13,000 families have bought a new house through the offer in the nine months it’s been running and there were nearly 7,000 more potential sales in progress at the end of the year.

In Sunderland, there have been 81 completed sales and 241 scheduled to be finalised with house building firms participating in the scheme.