MORE than 280 homes have been bought in Colchester using the controversial Help to Buy scheme.

The 284 completions in Colchester since the scheme was launched in April 2013, is by far the highest in Essex and ranks in the top ten in the country.

The borough’s closest local challenger is Basildon, with 155 completions, while Maldon has no recorded completions.

Tendring recorded 65, while Braintree’s figures show there were 36 completions.

Help to Buy is available to buyers who have saved a 5 per cent deposit.

Under the scheme, the buyer can borrow up to 20 per cent of the value of a house from the Government, which means they only need to apply for a mortgage worth 75 per cent of the household value.

Critics say the scheme could lead to another housing bubble, but supporters say it has reinvigorated a flat market.

The figures, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, show completions between April 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014.