In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about the government’s Help-to-Buy Scheme in the UK. We discuss the pros and cons of each option, providing you with eligibility criteria alongside all the information you need to decide which option is best for you.
After looking into the Help-to-Buy Schemes in England we’ll then go on to explore the options that are available to those living in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
There are various different Help to Buy schemes currently available in England. All of which have been designed by the government with the aim of giving everyone a chance to buy their own home. These schemes include the Help-to-Buy: Equity Loan scheme, Help-to-Buy: ISA scheme and the Help to Buy: Shared Ownership scheme.
In this section we provide information about these 3 options, giving you all the information you need to decide which scheme is most suitable for you.
The Help-to-Buy Equity Loan Scheme is suitable for First-time Buyers and Homeowners looking to move (First time buyers only from 1st April 2021). This scheme is run by government-appointed Help to Buy agents who can provide you with all the relevant information and guidance you’ll need when applying for the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme. To find your nearest Help-to-Buy agent, simply click on the link below that matches your geographical location:
The Help to Buy scheme is not to be confused with the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme which is still running in England and Northern Ireland.
With the government’s Help-to-Buy Equity Loan Scheme, the Government lends you up to 20% (40% in London) of the cost of a home.
To find out more, get in touch with a Government-appointed Help to Buy agent who’ll be able to advise you further.
The Help to Buy ISA is an ideal option for first time buyers wanting to save up for a mortgage. Applications for this scheme closed in November 2019, however if you opened an account before this date, you’ll be able to carry on saving into your account until November 2029.
With the Help-to-Buy ISA you can save up to £200 a month and for every £200 you save, you will receive £50 (a 25% bonus). The details of the account are as follows:
To find out how to apply and to find out how much you could be eligible for, head over to the government’s webpage for the Help-to-Buy ISA.
If you missed the deadline to apply for a Help-to-Buy ISA, a good alternative option would be a LISA (Lifetime Help to Buy ISA). The details for this option are as follows:
See the government’s Lifetime ISA page for more information.
The government’s shared ownership scheme is also great for first time buyers, those over the age of 55 and families with a household income below £80,000.
This option offers a mix of both buying and renting, as you typically buy between 25% and 75% of the property’s value and pay rent on the rest.
More information and details of how to apply can be accessed here.
Scotland has a range of initiatives in place in order to help first time buyers and existing homeowners to buy a house of their own. These include the First Home Fund, the Low-cost initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT), NSSE (New Supply Shared Equity) scheme and of course Help to Buy Scotland.
The First Home Fund is a shared equity scheme available to First Time Buyers. Here are the main features of this scheme:
Application guides for this scheme can be found here.
The Scottish Government’s LIFT scheme started in 2007 and has since helped thousands of first time buyers to get onto the property ladder. There are two different LIFT schemes available, the OMSE and the NSSE.
To apply for this scheme simply contact the administering agent. Details of how to do this can be found on the government website here.
The NSSE (New Supply Shared Equity) scheme in Scotland is designed to help first time buyers purchase new build properties from the council or housing association.
Instructions for how to apply for Scotland’s New Supply Equity Scheme can be found here.
The Help to Buy scheme in Scotland is a great opportunity for first time buyers and for those who already own a home. Details of the scheme are as follows:
Instructions on how to apply for the Help to Buy Scheme in Scotland can be found here.
In Wales, two options are available for those who are struggling to afford to buy their own homes. These consist of Help to Buy Wales and Rent to Own Wales.
The Help to Buy Scheme in Wales is a shared equity scheme that provides support to both first time buyers and existing homeowners who cannot otherwise afford to buy a home.
For details of how to apply for the Help to Buy scheme in Wales, head over to the government website where they take you through a step by step guide.
The Rent to Own Scheme is designed to help tenants of rental properties in Wales to save up for a deposit for a mortgage whilst renting.
More information about the Rent to Own scheme in Wales and details of how to apply can be found here.
There are a few schemes available in Northern Ireland for those who are thinking about buying a home in the near future. These include the Co-Ownership Scheme and the Rent-to-Own Scheme.
The Co-Ownership initiative is suitable for those who can’t afford to buy 100% of a property. It allows you to own a share of the property, whilst renting the remainder form your housing association.
To find out how to apply, see the government’s co-ownership webpage here.
A Rent-to-Own scheme is also available in Northern Ireland which offers a fixed-term tenancy with an option to purchase the property at the end of the tenancy agreement.
For instructions on how to apply for the Rent to Own scheme in Northern Ireland, head over to the dedicated co-ownership webpage here.
We hope this article was useful in providing you with everything you need to know about the Help to Buy scheme in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
If you’re thinking of buying a house and would like to find out more, head over to our Mortgage section for all the latest hints and tips to help you climb the property ladder.