Housing minister Kris Hopkins showcased the success of the government’s Help to Buy initiative on a trip to Leeds to visit award-winning Linden Homes’ Southfield Park development where nearly a third (31 per cent) of sales have been through the scheme.
Mr Hopkins toured the new development located just outside Leeds in the village of South Milford. He met Linden Homes representatives, as well as a resident and an apprentice, as they discussed a wide range of issues affecting the housebuilding industry.
The minister was in Leeds on Friday February 14th because the city has achieved the highest number of Help to Buy sales nationally – 230 since April 2013 when the scheme launched.
Mr Hopkins said: “I’m delighted that the Help to Buy: Equity Loan is helping hard-working people in Leeds realise their dream of becoming homeowners.
“The scheme is a valuable alternative for those without access to the Bank of Mum and Dad. It’s also getting Britain building, with workers returning to sites across the country and housebuilding at its highest levels since 2007.”
Mr Hopkins was given a guided tour by Linden Homes divisional managing director, Tom Nicholson, Linden Homes North managing director, Ian Hessay and Linden Homes North sales director, Steve Woomble.
They discussed issues including the national success and importance of Help To Buy, public sector land release, planning reform, apprenticeships and skills.
The minister also took the time to visit Southfield Park resident Tristan Gretton (23), a first-time buyer for whom Help to Buy was a crucial factor in securing his £140,000 two-bedroom end-terrace house.
A customer analytics and decision analyst at Lloyds Banking Group, Tristan had previously been living with his parents in Harvington in Worcestershire. He wanted a new-build home in the Leeds area and chose Southfield Park for its location and train links to work.
In the first seven days following the announcement of Help to Buy in the 2013 Budget, over
1,000 enquiries were received on Linden Homes’ website. Its figures show first-time buyers and renters represent 70 per cent of those making use of the scheme.
Linden Homes properties sell for an average £228,000, for which purchasers require a deposit of £11,400; the government provides £45,600 to assist with the purchase.
As well as meeting Tristan, Mr Hopkins also spoke with one of Linden Homes’ local apprentices working on the development, 19 year-old Ken Vowles. The company is committed to training hundreds of people under its Linden Homes National Apprentice Programme.
Linden Homes divisional managing director Tom Nicholson said: “We were delighted to meet the minister and discuss some major issues. It was very encouraging too to see the government’s commitment to supporting and promoting Help to Buy.
“Help to Buy has made the difference to thousands of people by giving them a route into home ownership. It’s provided important stability for the housebuilding industry, boosting the broader economy, and we would welcome it continuing to help thousands more.
“We welcome the reform to the planning system the Government has undertaken too, particularly in regards to the National Planning Policy Framework which has had a positive impact.
“Apprenticeships are very important to Linden Homes so we were particularly delighted that the minister had an opportunity to meet an apprentice on site and see the undoubted benefits training brings.”
Providing 150 new homes, Southfield Park represents a total investment in the area of over £25 million, with all sub-contractors working there based in Yorkshire. Of the properties sold, 68 per cent have been bought by people living within 15 miles of the development; highlighting the positive impact to both the local economy and provision of homes for local people.
PICTURE CAPTION: Linden Homes’ Tom Nicholson and team host Housing Minister, Kris Hopkins at Southfield Park development
For further information, contact Tracy Mannion or Claire McCowan at Remarkable Group on 01962 893893.
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