NEARLY 500 people across Worcestershire have bought their first property from the Government's Help to Buy scheme, it has emerged.

Data from the first two years of the massive project, launched in a bid to use £9.7 billion of taxpayers' cash to prop up the housing market, show 473 people have benefited across the county.

It includes 142 in Wychavon, which is the county's big winner, 83 in Worcester and 30 in Malvern.

The scheme allows struggling would-be-homeowners to get a mortgage on a property with a deposit of just five per cent, instead of the typical 25 per cent.

It applies on properties worth up to £600,000, and subject to approval from a lender the remaining 20 per cent deposit normally required is underwritten by the Government.

Elsewhere in Worcestershire 86 people have used it in the Wyre Forest, 76 in Bromsgrove and 56 in Redditch.

It has been welcomed by Worcester's MP, despite some people saying it should go even further.

City MP Robin Walker said in recent years it had become "nearly impossible" for many people to achieve their dream of home ownership.

He said: "It isn't just these people who have been helped, as the recovery in the housing market since the policy was introduced is enabling more building and more homes for affordable ownership.

“Thanks to this Conservative policy thousands of families and first-time buyers are now able to achieve their dream of owning their own home where they can enjoy security and a better quality of life."

Worcester resident Paul Hancock, 22, of Meadow Road in Claines, who still lives with his parents, said: "Even getting a five per cent deposit is impossible for most people my age.

"Unless you inherit thousands of pounds I still don't see it as achievable."

The scheme is helping fuel a 34 per cent rise in construction since 2013 across the country, leading to fears of another housing bubble being created.

The Government is aiming for 200,000 people nationwide to take advantage of it it, and so far nearly 40,000 have.

The average price of a house bought under the scheme is just under £180,000.