OXFORD residents have used just 48 loans from the Government's Help to Buy loan scheme to buy homes, figures show.

Housing industry leaders across the UK are calling on the Government to extend the scheme beyond 2021 because of the 'significant' effect it would have in helping the country recover from the coronavirus outbreak.

The loans can be used to buy a new-build property up to the value of £600,000, and can cover up to 20 per cent of the price.

Read also: Police on horseback chase suspected bike thief through city centre

However, since it was launched in 2013, only 48 loans have been used in Oxford to buy properties, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures have revealed.

The loans have been worth a total of £3.82 million in the city.

Houses sold under the scheme have now reached £70.3 billion nationally over seven years, with 2019 responsible for nearly £16 billion of this.

The current scheme is to be replaced by a new one in April 2021, which is limited to first-time buyers with reduced regional property price caps – set at £437,600 for the South East.

Read also: How much are the most expensive properties to rent in Oxfordshire?

Almost all the loans (98 per cent) in Oxford were taken out by first-time buyers – meaning the scheme in the area has one of the highest percentages of first-time buyers in the whole of England.

Separate figures show the average property price for Oxford in February was £420,000, which is below both the current cap and the proposed one.

The Home Builders Federation said the scheme, which has been 'integral' to housing supply, will effectively end in December as qualifying sales transactions need to be agreed by then.

Oxford Mail:

Executive chairman Stewart Baseley added: "The requirement for thousands of builders to register for a new scheme with as-yet undefined rules would cause an inevitable interruption in take-up.

"As we look to increase production and restart the housing market, removing this barrier by extending the scheme could play a significant part in supporting and sustaining the recovery.”

Last year saw 11 loans used in Oxford – which was a decrease on 2018, when there were 29.

Read also: Latest court results for Oxfordshire

The average amount loaned to house buyers in Oxford was £86,600, which is significantly above the £69,400 average across the whole of England.

The Mortgage Advice Bureau said house building has a huge economic footprint each year, and financial support for buyers must be maintained during the Covid-19 outbreak.

James Chidgey, its new homes relationship manager, said: “Since the aftermath of the credit crisis back in 2013, the innovative and very popular Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme has been a key driver in getting Britain building again, taken up by over a quarter of a million households when buying a new home.

"With housebuilders having construction work halted by Covid-19 for well over two months, it is imperative that the closure of the existing scheme is postponed enabling housebuilders to get sites up and running again over the summer.”

Read also: Council homes are being sold off faster than they are being replaced in Oxford

A spokeswoman from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Building the homes the country needs is a priority for the Government and we have re-started the housing market this week to help families and business return to normality in a safe way.

“The Government continues to work closely with all parts of the housing industry about the challenges they face during the pandemic.”

In April, figures revealed that council homes in Oxford were being sold to tenants under the Right to Buy scheme faster than they are being replaced.

Last year, a total of 32 council house tenants in the city bought their homes but the city council only acquired or began construction on 16 replacements, according to figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.