NEW figures out this week show the region has had among the highest uptake of the Help To Buy scheme in the country.

Since Help To Buy was introduced last April, 119 homes have been approved in Swindon with 224 in Wiltshire, one of the highest in the UK.

The scheme means those looking to buy a house only need to provide a deposit of five per cent, with the government putting forward 20 per cent and mortgage lenders the rest.

The programme is aimed at getting more first-time buyers on the market and a Swindon estate agent believes the figures are indicative of a buoyant housing market.

Simon Rosser, of Swindon Homes Direct, says the high take up is a sign of a very positive housing market.

He said: “In Swindon the market is looking very good with a lot of people coming in looking to buy. “There are a quite a few factors influencing this, such as very low interest rates, but I am fairly sure the Help to Buy scheme is making a real difference.

“It effectively means that for a lot of people they no longer have to borrow from the bank of mum and dad when it comes to buying a house.

“There are more lenders involved with Help To Buy now and the impression I get is many of them are now far more willing to get involved with the scheme now than perhaps they were originally.”

Simon believes the market is one of the strongest it has been for a number of years, with the one real problem being a shortage of houses hitting the market.

“I think most estate agents have the lowest stock they have been holding for years,” he said.

“We are seeing lots of buyers coming into Swindon with the amount of growth but it can often take time to find a house. We had one couple who had three or four bids turned down.

“In one sense it is a good time to sell a house but that leaves them often needing to buy another, which can take time.”

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson says the improvement in the Swindon housing market is the result of economic benefits across the whole country.

He said: “Since the General Election Swindon has seen a 34 per cent fall in unemployment, we have seen the fastest growth of start up businesses in the South West and the UK itself has the second fastest growth in the West which is why there is confidence returning.

“The Help To Buy scheme launched by the government has helped those making their first steps onto the housing market which I am delighted to support.

“It has allowed more people the opportunity to improve their very own future.”