The UK government launched the Help to Buy scheme in April 2013, initially to help first-time buyers and home movers get a leg-up on the property ladder.
With soaring property prices and near frozen wages, many were stuck in a cycle of renting which ate away at any chance of saving a 20%+ deposit, leaving them with little to no prospect of buying a home.
Help to Buy offered an interest-free (for five years) equity loan up to 20% of the value of the property, or (since 2016) up to 40% for homes in London.
The Help to Buy scheme is bigger than any previous government housing initiative and has shone a spotlight on affordable housing. More than 211,000 homes have been bought using the scheme, with over a third (37%) of people saying they could not have bought a new property without it, and around 80% saying it allowed them to buy more quickly.
The scheme’s end date is March 2023, by which time Homes England expects to have loaned around £29 billion, supporting the purchase of 462,000 properties. An earlier change will see the scheme exclusively available to first-time buyers from 2021. There are also regional differences in the availability and costs of Help to Buy around the country which are covered in this guide.
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