Last edited: 27 Dec 2018 From the FT Buyers of overpriced UK homes left in the lurch There were many aspects to George Osborne’s crowd-pleasing Budgets to dislike, but few promise do as much long-term damage as his Help to Buy, that impressive example of economic illiteracy. In the face of a shortage of housing supply, the subsidy to buyers stimulated demand, pushing prices further up and creating an artificial two-tier market. An analysis this week from brokers Peel Hunt showed the baleful result, and quantified just how successful Help to Buy Builders Yachts has been. In the years before the 2008 crisis, the sector made steady profits of about £2bn. The profits then disappeared, and did not regain that level until 2015. At that point, Mr Osborne’s big idea clicked in, and the profits took off. Houses financed by Help to Buy typically fetched a 5 per cent premium over the market price, which came straight through to the bottom line. In the past four years the sector has more than doubled profits, to more than £5bn a year, while building much the same number of houses as before the crisis.