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help to buy
Help to Buy
This government-backed scheme allows first time buyers own a home sooner, with just 5% deposit. The government will lend you up to 20% of your first home’s value as an equity loan, allowing to apply for a mortgage based on the remaining 75%. The equity loan is interest-free for five years and the scheme is available to first time buyers buying a new build home between 1st April 2021 and 31st March 2023. Regional price caps apply.
This government-funded scheme allows you to own your first home sooner, with just 5% deposit. 
Discover more about the Help to Buy Scheme
Help to buy information
What is the Help to Buy Scheme? 

The Help to Buy: Equity Loan is a Government-funded scheme that’s helping people onto the property ladder for the first time. The scheme, which is available on homes built between 1st April 2021 and 31st March 2023, means you can buy your new home with just a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage from a commercial lender to make up the rest. The scheme is exclusive to first time buyers and is subject to regional price caps.

Key points:
  • The Help to Buy loan is worth up to 20% of your new property, meaning you own 100% of your home and pay just 80% of the price upfront.
  • This loan is interest-free for the first 5 years, helping you manage the initial cost of purchasing your new home.
  • You can repay your loan at any time, and any outstanding amount can be repaid in full when you sell your home to move up the property ladder.
  • The aim is created to help you to get on the property ladder or progress to a larger home sooner with financial support. 
help to buy strata
What are the regional price caps for the Help to Buy Equity Loan?

The following regional price caps apply when using the Help to Buy Equity Loan to buy a new build home between April 2021 and March 2023: 
Region Maximum property
North East £186,100
North West £224,400
Yorkshire and
the Humber
East Midlands £261,900
West Midlands £255,600
East of England £407,400
London £600,000
South East £437,600
South West £349,000

Help to Buy: Equity Loans are available to both first-time buyers and homeowners looking to move. The new property you wish to purchase must be newly built with a maximum value of £600,000. You cannot sublet the new property and the scheme is closed to buy-to-let investors. If you’re an existing homeowner, you cannot use your old home in a part-exchange deal. At the time of purchase of your new home using a Help to Buy: Equity Loan, you must not own any other property.
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Help to Buy FAQs

Can I access an interest-only mortgage with Help to Buy?
No, you can only use the Help to Buy scheme with a repayment mortgage. Interest-only mortgages are not available to those using the Equity Loan.
Does stamp duty apply on Help to Buy purchases?
If you are a first time buyer and your new home costs under £300,000, you will not pay Stamp Duty.
What restrictions are there on the properties that I can purchase using Help to Buy?
Properties bought using the Help to Buy scheme must be new build and are subject to regional price caps. You can find out more about the regional price caps here. The Help to Buy property must be the first and only home purchased by the homeowner, and cannot be used as a buy-to-let property.
Can I sublet a Help to Buy home?
You cannot use Help to Buy to purchase a home to sublet. It must be the only home owned by the homeowner, and be bought to live in.
Can I own other homes and buy a Help to Buy home?
You can only buy a Help to Buy home if you are a first time buyer and are purchasing the new home to live in. 
Can I use cash from additional public sector bodies along Help to Buy?
Yes, providing that the funding is considered compatible with the scheme.
Can I make alterations to the property if purchased using Help to Buy?
Not without permission from the Post Sales Help to Buy agent. Repaying the equity loan in full is advised before making improvements, as this frees up more funds for the Housing and Communities Agency to help other aspiring buyers.
After the first five years of Help to Buy, how is equity loan collected?
You can arrange to pay the equity loan back in monthly or annual instalments. This is paid to the Post Sales Help to Buy Agent, via direct debit. You receive an annual statement with a repayment schedule, receipt of payments made and remaining balance to date. 
Can I increase my mortgage or take out an additional loan?
You must have any further loans or mortgage advances approved by the Post Sales Help to Buy Agent.

Our collections where Help to Buy is available

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help to buy
Getting started with Help to Buy
In effect, the Equity Loan lets you own 100% of your new home and pay just 80% of the price upfront. Your minimum 5% cash deposit, with the maximum 20% offered by the government, means you only need to seek a mortgage based on the remaining 75% of the house price.

Your minimum 5% cash deposit, with the maximum 20% offered by the government, means you only need to seek a mortgage based on the remaining 75% of the house price.


Step 1 – Choose your new home 

Before applying for a Help to Buy Equity Loan, you first need to choose a new build home that fits your requirements and financial circumstances.

At this stage, you will also be asked to see an Independent Financial Advisor to go over your financial status and look at what mortgages are available to you, to confirm your ability to afford the property in question.

Step 2 – Help to Buy process the application

Your local Help to Buy Agent will look over your application, and will consider the following:
  • Affordability: can you afford the principal mortgage payments on a monthly basis? This is based on the Independent Financial Advisor’s assessment.
  • Ownership: have you signed a declaration to confirm the new property will be your only residence? You can only proceed if the new home will be the only property in your ownership.
Within 4 working days of the submission of your application, you will receive an ‘Authority to Proceed’ document if your application is successful. You should let the IFA know so that they can proceed to make a full mortgage application on your behalf with the chosen provider.

This will be accompanied by a pack containing instructions for your solicitor and legal documents, which the solicitor should go through with you.

Step 3 – Exchange contracts

A solicitor must act on your behalf throughout the purchase of your home, handling the exchange of contracts and transferring of your own deposit and the money from your mortgage lender to the seller, and in this case, the home builder.

Your solicitor will also handle the transfer of the Help to Buy equity loan to the home builder.

Based on the full mortgage application you submitted (step 3), you will have received a mortgage offer from the lender for the amount they have agreed to lend you. You will sign the sale contract and Help to Buy Equity Loan, and the solicitor will check to make sure the combined total of your deposit, the equity loan and the mortgage offer are in line with the required amount based on the issued ‘Authority To Proceed’ document.

The solicitor can then request that the contracts are exchanged. At this stage, you will pay your deposit to your solicitor, and the government and mortgage lender will both release their agreed funds

The exchange of contracts means you are now in a legally binding contract to complete the home purchase by the agreed date.

Depending on the build stage of your new home, the builder will give you a completion date. This is when your home will be ready to move in to, and this will serve as the agreed sale date.

NB: While your home is being built, the exchange of contracts can still take place and must happen within 3 months of the Help to Buy application being submitted. The completion of the property must fall within 6 months of the exchange. 

Step 4 – Complete the sale

On the completion date, the funds will be transferred, and the home will be legally in your ownership. Soon enough, you will be able to collect your keys.

Your solicitor will confirm with the local Help to Buy agent that the sale has completed. At this stage, a second charge is registered on your home. This entitles the Homes and Communities Agency (the lenders of the equity loan) to a share of the proceeds of the future sale of the house or the value after 25 years (whichever is earlier).

The percentage will be equal to the percentage of the home value that was initially borrowed. I.e. if your equity loan is 20% of the home price at purchase, you will need to pay the Agency 20% of the sale price of the property at the time of sale (if you sell within 25 years). If you still own the home after 25 years, you will owe the Agency 20% at that time. 

Even more information about your home buying options

How To Save a Healthy Deposit While Renting
When Does Help to Buy End - and What Does the Future Hold for House Buyers?
A Simple Guide to Shared Ownership
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