Are you priced out of the housing market because you can’t save enough for a traditional deposit? You’re not alone. The government Help to Buy equity loan scheme has helped over 350,000 people buy the home of their dreams without a big deposit – but it ends this year.
In our latest blog post we’ll explain what’s happening, how to beat the rush and provide some accessible alternatives for home ownership.
1. Help to Buy is ending on 31 October 2022
Launched with much fanfare in April 2013 to support the housing market in challenging conditions, Help to Buy is coming to an end this year. Originally open to all, in 2021 the latest England-only version of Help to Buy brought in lower regional price caps everywhere bar London, as well as restricting the scheme to first-time buyers.
Government figures show that, by the end of 2021, 355,634 properties worth a combined £99bn had been bought with an equity loan. The scheme has cost over £29bn and it has undeniably supported people to afford a place of their own.
But Help to Buy hasn’t been without controversy. The scheme has come under fire from the House of Lords, who declared it “inflates prices by more than its subsidy value in areas where it is needed the most”. They also believe the cost of the scheme would have been better spent on building more housing.
And escalating house prices mean repaying 20% or 40% of a home’s value when they sell might leave people unable to move up the ladder.
2. House prices could fall, but not by much
Research has revealed that first time buyers using a Help to Buy mortgage are paying on average 8% more than other first-time buyers. This may be because new-build homes are generally more expensive than older properties, or because people opt for more expensive houses due to being able to afford a better property because of the loan.
If Help to Buy is causing a genuine inflation of house prices, then we might expect house prices to come down slightly when the scheme officially ends next year. This could cause bigger price drops in areas with a higher percentage of people currently using the scheme, such as the Midlands and North East.
3. Only 20% of new build developments now offer Help to Buy – so you’ll need to move quickly
Across England, Help to Buy is only available at one in five developments, compared with 50% in 2019. It seems that new build developers are winding down in anticipation of the end of the scheme, and this could mean we’ll see a rush for the final available properties.
Eager house-hunters will need to act quickly if they want to take advantage of the scheme before the deadline closes on 31 October 2022.
So, if you’ve got your eye on a new build home in your area, we recommend that you weigh up the pros and cons of using the scheme. You should consider when you’re likely to want to sell the house, the added cost of loan fees and how you would cope with increased mortgage payments after the first five years.
If you’re keen to go ahead, we recommend that you research which new build developments offer Help to Buy and consider employing a Help to Buy mortgage advisor to assist you. But don’t wait until October to start the process – or you might miss out.
4. StrideUp is here to help
To be clear, StrideUp’s model is not the same as a Help to Buy loan. But our aim is similar – to support first-time buyers to find an easier path to home ownership; one that doesn’t involve spending years renting while trying to save for a deposit.
With StrideUp you buy the portion of the home you can afford today, and when you’re ready, you can buy the rest. This type of arrangement is an FCA regulated product called a Home Purchase Plan, and it’s similar to Shared Ownership.
The home will be yours to decorate and remodel as you wish, and as your savings and income rise, you can increase your share in the property. For more information, visit here.
5. You’ve got alternatives
Aside from StrideUp, there are several non-traditional purchasing options available to first-time buyers.
This approach allows buyers to purchase a share of a property and rent the remaining share of the property from a landlord or housing association. As a part-owner, you’ll only pay a mortgage for the part of the property you own, meaning you’ll also pay a lower deposit.
Offering new homes discounted by at least 30% for first-time buyers, this scheme is aimed at helping lower-income earners onto the property ladder. The discount is then passed on to future sales. There are conditions, including maximum value of the property (£250,000, or £420,000 in London) and the annual household income of the buyers (below £90,000).
This government scheme aims to increase the availability of 95% Loan-to-value mortgage products, giving access to mortgages without a large deposit. That means if you want to buy a house for £400,000 you’ll only need a 5% deposit (£20,000) rather than the usual 10% (£40,000) and you’ll borrow the remaining £380,000 from your mortgage lender.
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