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Help to Buy & other schemes

Plus who's eligible and how to apply

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Amy and Lesley | Edited by Johanna

Updated March 2018

help to buy scheme

If you're a struggling first-time buyer trying to scrape together a deposit, there are a number of Government mortgage schemes that may be able to help you.

This guide explains all about Help to Buy, Starter Homes, Social HomeBuy and shared ownership. They may get you on the housing ladder quicker than you originally thought.

There are so many schemes – which should you use?

Before you start, see if you could get accepted for a standard mortgage – if you have at least a 5% deposit, it could well be possible. See our free First-time Buyers' Mortgage Booklet for full info.

If not, all is not lost – there are schemes to help you get on the property ladder. Which one is right for you will depend on your situation and what you want to buy. So to start, you need to ask yourself some questions:

  • How big is your deposit?

    If you have sufficient income to repay a mortgage, but are struggling to get a deposit together, Help to Buy – mortgage guarantee or Help to Buy – equity loan are available as options for those with a 5% deposit.

    If you live in London, the new London Help to Buy scheme may also help. If you live in Wales the new Rent to Own scheme may help. And if you're a first-time buyer, see Help to Buy ISAs for how you can get a cash boost from the Government toward buying your home.

  • Are you happy buying a new build?

    If you are, then both of the Help to Buy schemes above are an option for you, also Rent to Own in Wales. Starter Homes is a new scheme available on new builds only, for those under 40 years old.

  • Are you happy just owning a share of a property?

  • If so, shared ownership allows you to buy a share of your home (between 25% and 75% of its value) and pay rent on the remaining share, which is owned by a housing association; and Social HomeBuy allows you to buy a minimum 25% share of your property.

    help to buy scheme

Mortgage schemes available

Below is an introduction to the various Government mortgage schemes available to you. Read the intros to see if one sounds right for you, then click to reveal all the information you need to know on the various schemes before you go ahead.

Now closed to new applicants: Help to Buy – guarantee scheme

The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme was designed for those who only had a 5% deposit. It closed to new applicants on 31 December 2016, but if you're already on the scheme you can read more for how it works

Help to Buy – equity loan

This scheme is also designed to help those with 5% deposits get on the housing ladder, but it's only available on new-build properties. The catch is the Government lends you up to 20% of the property price and after five years you'll have to start paying interest on the loan. Read more

Armed Forces Help to Buy

If you're serving in the forces, and want to buy a property, there's a special Help to Buy loan scheme for you. Under this scheme, you can get an interest-free loan from the Government to contribute toward the deposit and costs. Read more

London Help to Buy

This is an extension of the existing Help to Buy equity loan scheme to help Londoners get on the property ladder. Read more

Help to Buy: ISA

Help to Buy ISAs are a decent option if you’re a first-time buyer saving for a mortgage deposit. You can earn up to 2.53% interest tax-free and then the state will add 25% free cash, and it could be £1,000s, on top of what you save. Read more

Starter Homes

This is a scheme to help first-time buyers under the age of 40 get on the housing ladder. It's available on new-build properties only. Read more

Help to Buy: Shared ownership

This scheme is for non-homeowners (so you could have owned a property previously, but don't currently own one) who earn £80,000 a year or less (£90,000 or less in London). Where in the UK you live will determine how the scheme works for you. Read more

Social HomeBuy

This scheme is for people who've lived in social housing for at least five years. It gives the option to own a share of your rented property. Read more

Rent to Own - Wales

This is a new scheme for people living in Wales who want to own a property but don't have enough money for a deposit. The idea is the new scheme allows buyers in Wales to rent a home they can later purchase, with the rent subsidising a future mortgage deposit. Read more

Had problems with Government housebuying schemes? Or had a great experience and got on the housing ladder? Discuss your experiences: Government housebuying schemes.

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