The Help to Buy Scheme, which provided financial support to first-time buyers and those looking to move up the property ladder, came to an end on 31st March 2023. For many, it was a successful scheme assisting thousands of purchasers who might otherwise not have been able to buy a home. For others, it was a scheme that served little purpose other than to inflate house prices and the profits of developers. For the writer, it was great until the 5 year interest free honeymoon period ended and the prospect of paying back 20% of an increased market value loomed large on the mind!
Whatever your stance the scheme has ended with many potential purchasers left pondering what assistance is now available. Whilst perhaps not as headline grabbing as the Help to Buy Scheme David Eastman, Partner in the conveyancing team at Wollens looks at the other options which include:.
- Lifetime ISA (Individual Savings Account), which offers a government bonus of up to £1,000 per year on contributions up to £4,000. The bonus is available to those who use the funds to purchase their first home or who are over 60 years old. The Lifetime ISA can be opened by anyone aged 18 to 39, and contributions can be made up to age 50. The funds can be used to purchase a property worth up to £450,000.
- The Shared Ownership Scheme, which allows buyers to purchase a share of a property (usually between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share. The scheme is available for new-build and existing properties, and buyers can increase their share in the property over time through a process called ‘staircasing’. Shared Ownership is available to those with a household income of less than £80,000 per year (£90,000 per year in London).
- The First Homes Scheme, which is a government initiative in England that through the planning process reserves at least 25% of new-build properties for eligible first-time buyers, key workers, and those with a local connection to the area. The properties are sold at a discount of at least 30% below market value and remain subject to this discount in perpetuity. Eligible buyers must have a household income of less than £80,000 per year (£90,000 per year in London) and be able to afford the mortgage repayments. This Scheme has made a slow start but we are now seeing eligible properties come onto the market.
- The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, which is a government scheme that offers lenders the financial guarantees they need to provide mortgages that cover 95% of a property value on a house worth up to £600,000. Buyers then only need to fund a 5% deposit. You’ll need to be quick though as this scheme will close at the end of 2023.
- A guarantor mortgage, where a family member or friend provides security for the loan. This can help buyers who have a low deposit or a low income to obtain a mortgage. A number of mainstream lenders are now offering mortgage products which permit lending with the support of a guarantor.
- The bank of mum & dad!
As a solicitor, I would advise home buyers to consider all options and seek professional legal and financial advice before making any decisions.
How we can help
At Wollens we have committed teams in each of our offices who will work closely with you and guide you through the property process step by step. While it may seem a streamlined process to us, we know how daunting it can be and are on hand to help, each step of the way.
For further information, please contact our conveyancing team. Call David on 01271 341016 or email [email protected]