Did you know that where you live in the UK could impact your chances of securing a Help to Buy home?
Help to Buy is a Government initiative aimed at first time buyers wanting to get a foot on the property ladder. Anyone successfully applying for the scheme can benefit from paying a smaller deposit, get lower monthly repayments – which are interest free for the first five years, can secure a new build home and benefit from investing their money, instead of paying rent to landlords. Since launching in 2013, the scheme has helped thousands of people to buy their first home, but recently there have been some changes, including new restrictions, and as it stands the scheme is set to end in 2023 unless the Government decides to extend it.
Needless to say, the help to buy loan is an attractive scheme and first-time buyers in Bristol are currently leading the way, with 60% of properties that are eligible for Help to Buy in Bristol already sold.
Other areas in the country that have seen a good uptake of the initiative are Portsmouth and Swansea, with almost half of their eligible properties already secured. They are followed by Oxford with 48%, Leeds 35%, Southampton 34%, Glasgow 33%, Cambridge 32% and Bournemouth 31%. The cities of London, Manchester and Liverpool have 29% of their Help to Buy properties already taken.
While first time buyers can benefit from a Help to Buy loan and other schemes available which are discussed here, https://metro.co.uk/2021/04/20/how-to-buy-a-first-home-with-help-to-buy-shared-ownership-and-isas-14437971/, the market does not always go in their favour. The stamp duty holiday announced in 2020 as a result of the Covid pandemic was a welcome relief to sellers and estate agents alike, but it caused an increase in house prices, making many homes unaffordable for those looking to secure their first home.
In many cases, a Help to Buy loan has offered a lifeline to buyers and meant anyone wanting to buy their first home has the opportunity to do so. This has of course also helped the housing market as a whole, but what many groups and societies are now calling for is more affordable housing to be built in key areas.
Changes in 2021
Recent changes to the Help to Buy scheme have been introduced to ensure it is benefitting those who need it most. Price limits specific to each region now mean new buyers can only apply if the home they are buying costs no more than 1.5 times the average property price for a first-time buyer in the area. Updated building standards also mean house builders will need to meet additional and stricter guidelines.