ESTATE agents in Taunton and West Somerset have reac-ted positively to the Govern-ment’s Help to Buy scheme, which has been brought forward with immediate effect.

From this month, Help to Buy has been extended to make it possible to purchase any property under £600,000 – be it a new build or pre-owned home – with as little as a 5% deposit.

The scheme is available to both existing home owners and first-time buyers and is available on all previously owned and new build properties up to the value of £600,000 and must be the buyer’s only property.

Taunton independent estate agents Wilsons believe the extension is just the tonic the housing market has been crying out for.

Managing director Chris Wil-ley told the County Gazette this week: “Even in what appears to be a slowly recovering economy, we’ve been swimming against the tide in helping many sellers sell and sympathising with buyers – especially first timers – struggling to raise a deposit.

“It’s been a vicious circle. This scheme gives buyers a huge leg up and assist sales no end – we welcome it with open arms.”

The process of applying and repaying the mortgage in the new scheme is the same as it would be for a standard mortgage meaning there is very little difference for the buyer.

Steven Loveday, a Wilkie May and Tuckwood Associate based in Watchet is also supportive of the new scheme.

He said: “It’s a good thing – I think it’s going to stimulate the market. It’s definitely helped the new properties at the moment.

“It’s not affecting us drastically in Watchet because we don’t get that many first-time buyers, but it’s affecting things more in Minehead.

“However, with the new scheme also available on second-hand properties I think we’ll see things pick up.”

Samantha Cooper, of Cooper Associates, believes the scheme will be beneficial, but only if developers are given support to build new homes.

She said: “Though the Government is stimulating the property market with its Help to Buy scheme we’d like to see further commitment with a revision of this archaic taxing method.

“The Government could ach-ieve this by re-introducing the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers.

“It needs to display more support for developers in allowing them to build more new homes.

“Without supply demand for properties will simply increase through the Help to Buy scheme and the recovering property market, which will lead to inc-reases in house prices.”

Roger Sattler, of Webbers, Wellington said: “It does stand a good chance of helping, in particular, first-time buyers, but no-one really knows exactly what’s going to happen.

“It’s very early days and it’s something I think is going to be testing the water.”