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Help to Buy schemes

Find out more about Government led Help to Buy schemes

How can Help to Buy schemes help me?

Help to Buy covers a number of UK Government programmes aimed at helping first time buyers or home movers with schemes for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

We’ve covered the most popular Help to Buy and affordable home schemes here, but for more information and to find out which scheme is right for you, visit this government website.

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Help to Buy Equity Loan

Under the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, first time buyers in England are able to purchase new build properties with a 5% deposit by taking out an equity loan of up to 20% (up to 40% in London). As of April 2021, there are regional price caps on properties that can be purchased under the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme.

For the first five years of home ownership, you won’t be liable for interest on the Help to Buy Equity Loan. The scheme closes in March 2023.

Shared Ownership

With Shared Ownership, if you can’t afford the mortgage to buy 100% of a property, you can purchase between 10% to 75% of its value and pay rent on the remaining portion until you can afford to buy a bigger share.

The property doesn’t have to be newly built as you can also purchase resale properties through housing associations via the Shared Ownership scheme too.

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Lifetime ISA

The Lifetime ISA is an option for first time buyers. You can open a Lifetime ISA from the age of 18 but must be under 40 and you can save in your Lifetime ISA until you’re 50. The maximum that you can save in a Lifetime ISA is £4,000 a year and the government will add a 25% bonus to your savings up to a maximum of £1,000 a year.

You can then use the money you’ve saved in your Lifetime ISA towards the deposit on your first home which you must buy with a mortgage and must not exceed the value of £450,000.

The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme

The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme supports lenders to offer more 95% loan-to-value mortgage products by supporting them with a government-backed guarantee. This means that buyers who have a 5% deposit can access more 95% mortgage products to enable them to purchase a property. The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme can’t be used to buy a new build home.

You can use the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme whether you’re a first time buyer or home mover for properties costing a maximum of £600,000 where you’re taking out a 95% mortgage. This scheme runs until 31st December 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I’ve owned a property previously, can I still use Help to Buy or any other government scheme?
    Yes, some schemes are available for those who have owned a home previously as well as first time buyers. For example, you can use the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme and Shared Ownership schemes if you’ve owned a property previously subject to you meeting the criteria. To find out if you qualify, for Shared Ownership schemes contact the Help to Buy agent in the area that you want to live, for the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, speak to a mortgage broker or directly to lenders.
  • If I use the Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme and the value of my property goes up, how does it affect the equity loan I have?
    When you use the Equity Loan Scheme, the government owns a portion of your home. So, for example, if you take a 20% Equity Loan, the government has a 20% stake in your home. The percentage stake that the government has in your property doesn’t change, but the value of your home may change over time. So, if the value of your property increases, the value of the portion that the government owns (the Equity Loan) will increase accordingly. Therefore, if the value of your property goes up, the amount you need to pay on your Equity Loan will also increase. If property prices remain the same, you’ll pay back the same amount you borrowed, and if property prices fall, then the amount you owe will reduce. (P.S. Help to Buy Equity Loans are currently only available in England, there’s a similar but slightly different scheme available in Wales)
  • I’m a member of the Forces, are there any schemes specifically designed to help me?
    The Forces Help to Buy scheme is available to regular servicemen and servicewomen and allows you to borrow up to 50% of your salary to a maximum of £25,000. The Forces Help to Buy scheme can be used when buying your first home or if you’re moving to another property. You can find out more here.
  • Where can I apply for the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme?
    You can either apply via a mortgage broker or directly to the lenders who are offering these products. Terms and conditions vary between lenders so always make sure you’ve done your homework and read the smallprint.
  • I’m a key worker, are there any Help to Buy or other government schemes specifically designed to help me?
    Key workers can use the First Homes scheme which provides homes at a discount of 30% compared to the market value which helps to make deposits and mortgages more affordable. These discounts will apply to that property forever, which means when it’s sold, the same percentage of discount will apply to the next buyer who would also need to be a key worker to qualify. The First Homes scheme is also available to local first time buyers too. Scheme criteria varies, so always read the smallprint.
  • I’m a first time buyer, but my partner has previously owned a property. Do we still qualify for the Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme?
    If you’re using the Equity Loan Scheme and you’re buying with a partner, both of you need to be a first time buyer in order to apply.