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Barratt pledges to build 780 homes amid success of mortgage schemes

BARRATT Developments has cited improving sales and the impact made on the housing market by the Help to Buy scheme as key factors behind its commitment to build 780 new homes in the west of Scotland in 2014.

The housebuilder is to develop homes in Stonehouse, Stirling, Uddingston, Cumbernauld, Kilmarnock, Bonnybridge and Crookston this year. Each site will offer a range of stock, from two-bedroom terraced houses to detached five-bedroom family homes.

Barratt said the homes will help safeguard up to 1500 jobs through their construction, and boost the economy due to the influx of new residents who will spend money in these areas.

The projects are among 15 planned by Barratt across Scotland this year, which will see the group build up to 1400 homes in total in 2014.

David Scott, managing director of Barratt West Scotland, noted the impact made by Help to Buy on its operations, stating that participants accounted for 30% of Barratt's sales. But he pointed out it was not clear how many sales it would have lost without it.

The scheme allows buyers to purchase a property with a 5% deposit, with the government providing 20% of the equity on new-build homes worth up to £400,000 over a three-year period.

Mr Scott: "There is no doubt we have seen an improvement in confidence generally since spring, and with the government-backed schemes we have seen the ability of buyers to secure mortgages and commit to buying new homes."

In spite of the boost sparked by Help to Buy, Mr Scott said there was no danger of the new-build sector overheating in Scotland, with the building rates running at just 60% of its 2007 peak. He also said the industry and its supply chain did not currently have the capacity to build homes at the pre-recession level.

However he does expect forthcoming political events to affect in the market.

Mr Scott said: "I do anticipate that buyers will maybe sit back and wait and see what happens.

"I am optimistic the confidence is there. There is still a desire for people to own their own homes and there are a lot of people who need more space for their family and have put off the move.

"The government schemes are allowing them the vehicle to move and to buy. I am just slightly apprehensive that a general election and Scottish referendum may cause uncertainty for a period of time until the results are known."

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