Help to Buy (Scotland), launched by ministers on Friday, will see the government provide help for up to 20% of the cost of new-build homes worth up to £400,000 over a three-year period. It means buyers will have to provide just 5% of the deposit required to buy a house, lifting one of the biggest barriers first-time buyers have faced in attempting to buy homes since the recession began.
Mark Clare, group chief executive at Barratt, welcomed the measure, but believes the confidence now returning to the housing market owes more to broader economic recovery than initiatives such as Help to Buy.
Mr Clare said: "I think the market was improving generally from about September last year.
"We had the government's Funding for Lending programme, which meant the banks had more money to lend to customers. We then had schemes like NewBuy and MI New Home.
"But we also, I think, got to a situation where potential customers just started to feel a lot better about things. Unemployment was coming down, the economic news has improved, so I think all of these things coming together have really changed it.
"In fact, the interesting thing is that our performance in the Scottish market since the beginning of July has been a lot stronger and has right across Britain. Despite the fact Scotland did not have Help to Buy, they still had a very good start to what was our new financial year on July 1."
Mr Clare said recent experience at Barratt reflected the improving conditions in the market.
The company announced a 73.7% rise in pre-tax profit to £192.3 million for the 12 months to June 30, which, although came from a low base, was described by Mr Clare as a "good step in the right direction". He also said debt had been reduced "close to zero".
That progress continued in the first ten weeks of the firm's current financial year, with sales up 30% in July and August, and its forward order book up 44%.
The company plans to spend £1 billion in acquiring land for development in the UK. It has 15 new sites that it will bring to development in Scotland over the next year, and expects to deliver 1300 new homes in its current financial year compared with 1000 last year.
Mr Clare said: "I can honestly say for the first time in five years we are now seeing a much broader recovery across all the major cities, including places like Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Bristol, York, and I think we are seeing the start of a real recovery."
In spite of that optimism, Mr Clare conceded that building rates were still running 60% below the level before the recession.
Stating that Barratt had grown building rates by 20% in the past two years, and that it had told the City it expects to expand building by a further 20% in the next three years, Mr Clare said: "We are growing very fast but we still have some way to go. In terms of the level of prices in most of Britain, I think we are still 10% to 15% below peak, so are profits are still well below where they were at peak.
"The good news is we have confidence, that we are prepared to invest very substantial amounts in land. Despite that, we still have some way to go to get the business back to full profitability."
Mr Clare said the firm was "very optimistic" that Help to Buy (Scotland) would remove the barrier many consumers have faced in the housing market since the recession struck.
He said: "It is a very important announcement for the Scottish housing market. We have seen what sort of impact it [Help to Buy] has had in England and I am optimistic that it is going to help a lot of people who have not been able to either get on to the housing ladder or move up the housing ladder to finally get the help they need. The main difference in Scotland is that there is no interest. In England from year five you have to pay interest on the 20% loan. It is obviously a better scheme in that respect."