There are a number of government schemes to help you buy a home such as Help to Buy, Right to Buy, Shared Ownership, and more. Find out more about these affordable housing schemes and how to apply.
Help to Buy
Help to Buy is a government scheme for those who have a small deposit, when buying a home. Have you at least a 5% deposit? If so, you could use the Help to Buy scheme through:
- Equity loans – only available if you are buying a new build home. Under this scheme, you can borrow 20% of the purchase price interest-free for the first five years as long as you have a 5% deposit.
- Mortgage guarantees – available for new and old properties across the UK. The government undertakes to cover any of your mortgage lender’s losses as a result of any problems you might have in paying it back. However, you are still responsible for keeping up your mortgage repayments on a Help to Buy scheme in exactly the same way as any other mortgage.
With both schemes there are limits on the cost of the property you buy. These limits differ across the UK.
Right to Buy/Right to Acquire
Right to Buy is for tenants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who rent their home from their local council or housing association. It allows tenants, who qualify, to buy their home at a discount. The size of the discount varies depending on where you live and the type of property you want to buy.
In most cases, tenants will need to have rented from the public sector (i.e. local council or housing association) for three years before they can buy under this scheme.
The three years can be non-consecutive, so tenants who have rented from the private sector in the middle of a total of three years renting from the public sector, can still qualify.
In Scotland: the Scottish Government plans to end the scheme for all council and housing association tenants in Scotland, but there are other schemes available.
Right to Acquire is a scheme offered in England and Wales for housing association tenants who don’t qualify for Right to Buy. The discounts are slightly smaller.
Shared ownership is where you buy a share of a home from the landlord, who is usually the council or a housing association, and rent the remaining share.
You need a mortgage to pay for your share, which can be between a quarter and three-quarters of the home’s full value. You then pay a reduced rent on the share you don’t own and you have the option later on to buy a bigger share in the property up to 100% of its value.
These schemes are mainly aimed at helping first-time buyers, and are often reserved for people wanting newly built homes.
Shared ownership – how it works