Bellway hails UK government Help to Buy scheme

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Bellway yesterday became the latest housebuilder to hail the UK government’s Help to Buy scheme for driving a surge in demand, as its order book increased by more than 50 per cent.

The Newcastle-based company said that incentive schemes, including Help to Buy, had boosted consumer confidence, sending visitors flocking to its sites and lifting reservations by 27 per cent.

Bellway’s revenues for the year to 31 July rose by 12 per cent to around £1.1 billion, with profit margins also improving.

It said “resilience in consumer demand” boosted its order book of new homes by 54 per cent to £679.5 million from £441.2m a year earlier, giving it “optimism for future volume growth”.

“The new homes market has benefited from improving consumer confidence throughout the year, having been supported by government schemes,” said the group, which has 19 developments across the Central Belt.

The Help to Buy equity programme was launched in April, offering loans to give people the chance to buy a new-build home with a deposit of just 5 per cent.

In May, the Scottish Government announced the launch of a similar scheme – called Mi New Home – aimed at boosting the housing market by using a shared-equity arrangement.

Meanwhile, trade body the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) yesterday warned the sector faced a skills “time bomb” as nearly one in five workers was expected to retire over the next ten years. The CITB urged employers to recruit young people and invest in training of existing workforces.