Help to Buy scheme ending: What then?

The Government’s popular Help to Buy scheme is ending in March 2023. With more than 225,000 buyers taking advantage of the equity loan scheme since its launch in 2013, Help to Buy has enabled many people to take those first steps on the property ladder. So, when is the scheme ending, and what options are available to support buyers after Help to Buy? Read on to find out more.

What is Help to Buy?

The UK Government introduced the Help to Buy scheme to help prospective home buyers to own their own home. It provided assistance to those who could afford to pay a mortgage, but might have trouble finding a property they can afford to pay the deposit on. Under the scheme, the Government would lend buyers up to 20% of the value of the property (40% in London), for properties up to a value of £600,000. Prospective buyers were required to have saved at least a 5% deposit, and the loan was interest-free for the first five years.

When is the Help to Buy scheme ending?

Help to Buy’s equity loan scheme closed for new applicants on 31 October 2022, and is due to end altogether in March 2023, after 10 years of helping buyers realise their dream of owning of their own home. The Government has already phased out the separate Help to Buy ISA, the savings account designed for people saving to buy their own home. The account has been closed to new applicants since 2019, and while account holders can still keep their accounts, they only have until 1 December 2030 to claim their 25% bonus. This bonus is payable to the account holder upon completion of their first home purchase.

What happens from now until the end of Help to Buy?

The Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme closed to new applicants at the end of October 2022. If you’ve placed an application with the scheme, you must legally complete your property purchase by 31 March 2023 to be eligible for an equity loan.

What are my options after Help to Buy ends?

Currently there’s no direct replacement for the Help to Buy equity loan scheme, though the Government has introduced a replacement for the Help to Buy ISA. The Lifetime ISA (LISA) offers account holders the potential of a 25% bonus on their savings every time they pay in, but unlike the previous Help to Buy ISA, the Lifetime ISA allows you to deposit more each year, over a longer timeframe. This makes the potential bonus much larger, with up to £1,000 payable every year for up to 32 years.

First Homes

Other alternatives to the Help to Buy scheme include the Government’s First Homes scheme. The scheme offers new homes discounted at least 30% compared to market value for first-time buyers. The discount is then passed on to future sales. There are conditions around the maximum value of the property (£250,000, or £420,000 in London) and the annual household income of the buyers (below £90,000). You can read more about the First Homes scheme in our guide here.

Shared Ownership

Another alternative to Help to Buy for prospective buyers is the Shared Ownership scheme. Shared Ownership allows buyers to purchase a share of a property and rent the remaining share of the property from a landlord or housing association. As a part-owner, you’ll only pay a mortgage for the part of the property you own, meaning you’ll also pay a lower deposit. You can also increase your share of the property over time, using an approach called ‘staircasing’. If you’re interested in finding out more about Shared Ownership, you can read our guide here.

Private home buying assistance schemes

With the end of Help to Buy, some private businesses are starting to offer alternative schemes to help people get on the property ladder. Fable is a new scheme offering support to house hunters.

You can apply to Fable and if you meet their criteria, start searching for your new home that fits the budget they’ve approved. If your preferred home is eligible, Fable can buy the property for you. Over the next two years, Fable gives you the chance to build up a deposit to buy the house from them, or you can move out and cash in your savings.

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