Ministers have quietly scrapped two of the most popular schemes aimed at helping first-time buyers on to the housing ladder.

The government invested £200m through MyChoice-HomeBuy and Ownhome, known collectively as Open Market HomeBuy, over the past year alone.

MyChoice, which gave access to a loan of up to half of a property’s value, had the highest take-up of any publicly funded home ownership scheme. Richard Stone, of SPF Sherwins, an affordable housing advisory group, said: 'MyChoice was without question the most popular scheme, everyone went for it.' Ownhome was a smaller operation run by Places for People, the housing association and The Cooperative Bank.

The Conservatives believe the decision to close the schemes is evidence of financial pressures in the Department for Communities and Local Government as it seeks to divert money into new social housing.

Financial Times