What is Help to Buy?
Help to Buy is a scheme backed by the government, designed to help home buyers purchase a property, affordably, with a deposit of as little as 5% + (up to) a 20% government-backed equity loan + a mortgage.
Due to the low deposit, the scheme is extremely useful for first time buyers looking to get onto the property ladder. Coupled with the interest free period, it also makes it a valuable affordability mechanism for existing homeowners and families looking to take the next step up the ladder and gain valuable extra space.
The scheme is only available in England. There are separate schemes in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
How does Help to Buy work?
The scheme offers first-time buyers and existing homeowners a government-backed equity loan for a newly-built home. If you were to qualify, Homes England would lend you up to 20% of the cost of your chosen home (on a property with a maximum value of £600,000). You could buy with a deposit of as little as 5% along with the remaining balance as a mortgage.
Help to Buy is available only on new-build homes. You cannot get a Help to Buy equity loan on older, previously occupied homes.
For the first five years of owning your home, you will not be charged any loan fees or interest on your equity loan from Homes England. After five years, you will be charged interest and this interest will increase each year.
Who is eligible for the scheme?
Anyone who is seeking to purchase a new-build home can apply for the scheme, whether they are first time buyers or already on the property ladder. The availability of this scheme will be advertised on our website and is specific to certain house types and plots on certain developments.
Are there any restrictions on Help to Buy?
While Help to Buy is open to most home buyers, there are some restrictions.
- The property bought through the scheme must be your sole residence. It is not available to buy-to-let investors, nor to those who will own any other property as well as their Help to Buy property after completion.
- The Help to Buy scheme is also not available to those who plan to rent out their existing home and buy a second.
- It cannot be used in conjunction with a builder’s part-exchange scheme.
- You cannot purchase a Help to Buy property if you own land with any residential planning use.
- You cannot purchase a property using the scheme if your name is attached to the deeds of, or if you will financially benefit from, the future sale of a property – even if you do not live there.
- Married couples share joint assets. Both parties are treated as joint owners regardless of the mortgage paperwork being in one or both names.
Changes to the Help to Buy scheme
The current Help to Buy scheme is available both to first-time buyers and to those who already own a home (or have done so in the past) and will continue to operate in the same way until end March 2021.
From April 2021, Help to Buy will change, and it will be restricted to first-time buyers only. It will also include ‘regional property price caps’ – upper limits to how much you can pay for a property, which will vary according to where you are buying a home.
The revised scheme will run from April 2021 to March 2023. As with the current scheme, the government will lend buyers up to 20% of the cost of a newly built home (up to 40% in London).
*YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE OR OTHER DEBT SECURED ON IT.
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