The Help to Buy scheme was launched in April 2013 to help first-time buyers and others who are generally finding it very hard to move up the property ladder.
The Government-run scheme runs on the premise that first-time home buyers can secure a property with as little as a 5% deposit. The idea is that an equity loan is offered via the Government, interest-free, for five years - so that potential home-buyers who are struggling can purchase a new home (up to the purchase value price of £600,000).
The value of the equity loan can be up to 20% of the property price (or 40% if it’s a London property). The remaining 75% of the property is paid for through a repayment mortgage. The equity loan must then be repaid after 25 years (or earlier, if the home is sold before then).
The big advantage of the Help to Buy scheme is that your loan-to-value ratio is reduced, and this gives you access to cheaper rates than you’d otherwise have access to with a 95% mortgage.
It should be noted that the scheme applies to ‘new build’ properties only, in England and Wales. There are also similar schemes (with their own terms and conditions) running in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
After the first five years with your interest-free loan, you’ll be charged at an interest rate of 1.75%.
And as time goes on, the rate will rise at the rate of inflation (in line with the Retail Prices Index), with 1% on top. So in summary:
Years 1 to 5: No interest payable
Year 6: 1.75% of the loan amount
Year 7 and beyond: 1.75% + RPI level + 1%
Any interest you pay will not go directly towards paying off your initial loan
For more information about the Help to Buy scheme, visit the official Government website.