Nine ways to make your house deposit go further

Managing to secure a mortgage isn’t just about proving you can afford to repay it each month. You’ll need to have at least 5% of the deposit saved up – more if you want the lowest rates. But with house prices steady, even 5% can be a huge amount.

If saving tens of thousands of pounds feels like a daunting prospect, you aren’t alone. We asked the Money Advice Service to share some of the ways you can boost the value of your deposit.

Apply for a Help to Buy equity loan

If you’re buying a new build home, you can apply for a Help to Buy loan of up to 20% (up to 40% in London) of the property value. The first five years are interest free, and after that you’ll be charged a fee of 1.75% of the loan’s value. The fee then increases every year, according to the Retail Prices Index plus 1%. Fees do not count towards paying back the loan.

You don’t even need to be a first time buyer to take advantage of this scheme, but you do need to have a 5% deposit saved up, and the house you’re buying must be your only home. Read more about paying back the loan via the UK Gov website.

Help to Buy – Mortgage guarantees: closed to new applicants as of 31 December 2016

The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme was designed for those who only had a 5% deposit. It closed to new applicants on 31 December 2016 but if you’re already on the scheme you can read more about how it works here.

Save in a Help to Buy ISA

If you’re a first time buyer, you can save up to a maximum of £200 a month towards your first home with the ISA. Once you reach £12,000 (or before) you’ll be able to get a 25% return tax-free. So if you save the maximum amount, it’s a bonus of £3,000.

Shared ownership

This scheme lets you buy part of a property and pay rent on the rest, bringing down the size of the deposit you need. Priority is given to anyone who currently rents a council or housing association property, though each local authority will have different conditions.

Buy with someone else

It doesn’t have to be a partner or family member. Buying with friends can mean you can all save up quicker to get the required deposit. Just make sure you talk about what happens if one of you wants to sell their share.

Buy somewhere cheaper

You might find your dream location is just too expensive. If you can find a cheaper property, you’ll either be able to buy it sooner with the deposit you already have, or keep saving for a little longer to get a better mortgage deal.

Maximise your interest

If you’re saving the maximum amount in the Help to Buy ISA, make sure the rest of the money you save isn’t just sitting in your bank account. There’s a lot of competition among current accounts right now, meaning it’s possible to get as much as 5% interest on your savings. There are restrictions with these, so make sure you read the Ts and Cs.

Don’t forget the other costs

Even if you are able to boost the size of your deposit, don’t stop saving. You’ll need to make sure you can afford mortgage fees, Stamp Duty, moving costs and day to day maintenance of your new home.

Work out what you could pay in Stamp Duty

Find out what size mortgage you can afford

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All information accurate at time of publication

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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