Help to Buy: What You Need To Know

House prices rising, symbolized by arrows with a house shape going up.

 

Sadly, it’s a well-known fact that in the current economic climate buying a house, especially if you’re a first time buyer, is a notoriously tricky business. However, if you’re struggling to save up for that mammoth deposit on top of the cost of living, there are avenues you can pursue in order to get your foot on the ladder. The Help to Buy home ownership scheme gives you financial help if you live in England and can’t afford to buy a home.

The Help to Buy equity loan

This loan is available to first time buyers, and home movers on new build homes up to the worth of £600,000. Be aware that you won’t be able to sub-let your home if you use this scheme. With a help to Buy equity loan you will have to contribute at least 5% of the property price as a deposit, the government will then give you a loan of up to 20% of the property’s price, you will then need a mortgage to cover the remaining 75% of the property’s worth.

The benefit to getting an equity loan from the government is that with a larger amount of money to put down, you’ll hopefully get a better mortgage rate from your particular lender.

So, what happens when you have to pay the equity loan back?

Thankfully, the equity loan is interest free for the first five years. However, from the sixth year, and every consequent year there after you have to pay an admin fee. This fee will begin at 1.75% of your loan, and increase every year by any increase in the Retail Prices Index plus and extra 1%.

A word of warning, these repayments are in addition to your mortgage repayments, and won’t be decreasing in size. So, over time the cost of the admin fee could become pretty expensive.

The equity loan will need to be repaid in full after 25 years, when your mortgage term finishes or when you sell your home – whichever happens first. You will repay the market value of the loan at the time, rather than a fixed cash amount. For example:

You take a 20% equity loan to buy a property worth £200,000, which will be £40,000. Then, when you sell the property, it’s worth £250,000. You will consequently have to repay £50,000 – this is 20% of the new value of your home, not the amount you borrowed. If the property had dropped in value, you’d pay less than you borrowed.

You can also choose to repay part of the loan early in chunks of either 10% or 20% of the total value.

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