Help to BuyEquity loans taken out under the Help to Buy scheme since its inception have reached a total value of £600m, government figures have revealed.

Since the scheme launched in April 2013 14,823 equity loans have completed to the end of January, 89% of which were for first-time buyers.

Leeds topped the table as the council which completed the most purchases with 268.

The Help to Buy equity loan scheme can be used to purchase a new build property up to the value of £600,000 with a 20% equity loan up to a maximum of £120,000.

The government has set aside a pot of £3.5bn to service the equity loan scheme.

The availability of a government loan to purchase a new build home helped to drive up house building activity last year.

Planning permissions granted in 2013 reached their highest level since 2007 climbing to 174,471, a report from the House Builders Federation showed.

The report revealed the scheme was delivering around 2500 reservations a month.

But despite the upward trend, the 2013 total figure is still short of meeting the country’s annual housing demands.

The Office of National Statistics predicted that 232,000 households are projected to form each year.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said: “Help to Buy equity loan is increasing demand for new homes and the industry is increasing its output as a result.

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