Housebuilder Barratt said 20,000 people had expressed an interest in buying one of its 3,000 houses available under the HomeBuy Direct scheme

The government has provided £400m for the scheme, which opened on Wednesday. It gives would-be homeowners earning less than £60,000 the chance to move into a new house for 70% of the purchase price. The Homes and Communities Agency and the developer provide the remaining 30% as an equity loan which is interest-free for five years.

Barratt was one of the first builders to have received the necessary licence from the Office of Fair Trading to go through with Homebuy purchases.

A spokesperson for the HCA said most of the major builders now had licences.