BUILDERS and building supplies firms in Oxfordshire are hoping for a business boost when the Government’s Help to Buy mortgage scheme is widened to include secondhand properties.

The measures have already kick-started the new-build sector.

And when they are extended to all homes worth up to £600,000 in January, they are expected to revitalise the rest of the housing market.

Ian Duckitt, of building supplies firm Merkko Enterprises, in Kingston Bagpuize, near Abingdon, said: “The construction industry has been decimated over the past few years but we’ve noticed a change already.

“People who have not been able to do anything are now feeling confident enough to think about selling their existing property and buying a bigger one.

“There’s more potential activity in people buying previously owned properties for us.”

David Dunne, a director of Headington-based Savvy Maintenance and Renovations, said: “It will definitely increase our workload.

“It will mean more people wanting to modernise their homes including adding extensions, refurbishing and upgrading electrical and gas systems.”

The Help to Buy scheme was launched in this year’s Budget to help first-time buyers find a foot on the property ladder, but applied only to new-build homes.

The latest phase will include older houses and run for three years from the start of 2014.

Loans from high street lenders will be underwritten by the Government, which will guarantee 15 per cent of the amount, and buyers will need only a five per cent deposit.

Critics fear the Government’s moves will push house prices even higher.

Brian Melrose, who runs Jericho-based BP Building and Carpentry, is one of those who is sceptical about the policy.

He said: “I appreciate what the Government is doing but that still doesn’t solve the basic problem that house prices are too high in this area. It needs to build more affordable housing.”