Help to understand Help to Buy

We understand that buying your first property can be a struggle. The Government have introduced various Help to Buy schemes, all aimed at helping people get to where they want to be on the property ladder. I thought that it would be helpful to provide a quick résumé of these schemes should you, or perhaps one of your offspring, wish to take advantage any of them:

Help to Buy: Equity Loan

This scheme is applicable for new build homes only, so if new builds appeal to you, then it might be worth reading up on the terms and conditions of the equity loan on the government website.

· The government will lend you up to 20 per cent of the cost of your new build home

· You find the minimum five per cent cash deposit upfront

· You therefore have an overall 25 per cent deposit against the purchase price of the house/flat

· You won’t be charged loan fees on the 20 per cent loan for the first five years

· In the sixth year you will currently be charged a fee of 1.75 per cent of the loan’s value. After this, the fee will increase every year in line with inflation. The annual increase in the fees is worked out by using the Retail Prices Index (RPI) plus one per cent. For instance:

-Years 1-5: no fees

-Year 6: 1.75 per cent of the loan

-Year 7 onwards: 1.75 per cent + RPI + 1 per cent

-These fees do not go towards paying off the government loan

However the larger the deposit you put down, the more mortgage products you’ll have available and generally speaking, the bigger the deposit, the better the mortgage deal.

Help to Buy ISA

If you don’t need to buy right now, but you’d like to start saving with a view to buy at some point in the near future, then this could be a good scheme for you as it acts as a savings account; with a few added benefits.

· The government will boost your savings by 25 per cent

· If you save £200 a month, the government will top it up by £50 each month

· The maximum bonus you can earn is £3,000 (assuming you save £1,200) which would take just over four years

· Visit the Help to Buy website to use the calculator bonus. You can enter the amount of your total savings to work out how much of a top-up the government will give you.

Help to Buy Shared Ownership

Shared Ownership lets you buy a portion of your own house, which you can usually increase over time, until you gradually own your own house, outright. This is a good way to step into the housing market as the deposit amount is based in the share you buy, so it will be much less, sometimes no deposit is even required.

Many people decide that for example owning 50 per cent of a home, is still much better than owning zero per cent of a home if they continue to rent.

· You find the minimum five per cent deposit of the purchase share upfront (although some lenders will now accept a zero per cent deposit)

· Purchase a percentage share of your house (between 25 per cent and 75 per cent of the market value)

· Pay monthly rent on the remaining portion

· You can increase your ownership share as and when you can afford to do so