The UK Government’s new ‘Help to Buy’ equity loan scheme allows first-time buyers to purchase a new-build property with just a 5% deposit. The lender will lend up to 75% Loan to Value (LTV) and the Government will chip in the missing 20% as an ‘equity loan’. This equity loan can be up to 40% of the property’s value in London.
Unlike the previous Help to Buy Scheme, this scheme is only open to first-time buyers. A first-time buyer is defined as someone who does not currently own or has never owned a property or residential land, either in the UK or abroad.
The new Help to Buy Scheme also introduces regional price limits, with new buyers not able to use the initiative to purchase a home costing more than 1.5 x the average first-time buyer property price in their region.
These price caps range from £186,100 in the North East to £437,600 in the South East and £600,000 in London.
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The equity loan element is provided by the Government, interest-free for the first five years. Borrowers will only pay a management fee of £1 a month for the life of the loan. Once the first five years are over, interest is charged at an initial rate of 1.75%. This will rise each year by inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, plus 2%.
The loan, which is secured as a second charge against your home, does not have to be repaid until you sell the property, pay off your mortgage or reach the end of your mortgage provider’s loan term. You can even start repaying the loan sooner, but your repayments must be equivalent to at least 10% of the value of your home at that time, with the option to repay 10%, 20% or 30% at a time if you are in London and took out a 40% equity loan. There is also an administration fee.
The equity loan rises and falls in line with your property’s value, so you may have to repay more than you borrowed when you first purchased your home. Of course, the good news in this scenario is that your mortgage has remained the same or reduced in size but your property has gone up by 20% in value, most of which you own after the equity loan and mortgage is deducted.
The Help to Buy Scheme is administered by Help to Buy agents such as BlueQ. The scheme is open until the 1st of April 2023, so if this is of interest, contact us quickly to find out more information.