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The Government Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme (Help to Buy Two) was first launched in October 2013, with the aim of increasing the availability of high loan-to-value mortgages and providing a much needed boost for First Time Buyers struggling to get their foot on the housing ladder.
The Chancellor has now confirmed that this element of the initiative will come to a close at the end of this year as planned, stating in a letter to the Bank of England that ‘the high LTV mortgage market has become less reliant on the scheme as confidence has returned’.
There is no doubt that over the last 3 years the market for First Time Buyers has improved considerably. At the time the scheme was launched there were very few options for borrowers with small deposits, and the intention was therefore to encourage lenders back to that riskier end of the market.
Since 2014, according to the Financial Policy Committee, lending above 90% LTV within Help to Buy has fallen from 70% to 25%, yet total lending at this LTV has not declined. More lenders are now offering a greater range of deals without being reliant on the scheme, and the market is looking healthier as a result.
For those who still require a helping hand to get that deposit together, there are other options available. The first part of the initiative, the Help to Buy Equity loan, provides a 20% interest free Government loan for 5 years (40% in London) which buyers can combine with their own 5% deposit. This scheme is only available to those buying new build properties, but is set to continue until 2020.
The Help to Buy ISA will also continue to be available. This allows a buyer to deposit their own savings - £1,000 initially, and £200 per month – and benefit from a 25% uplift in the form of a Government bonus when they do decide to buy.
Despite some recent criticism over the fact that the bonus is paid on completion rather than at exchange of contracts, this remains an excellent way for First Time Buyers to boost their savings. Those buying together can have an ISA each, and double up the benefit, so that additional bonus can prove to be quite significant.
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The Bank of Mum and Dad is also still a popular way for parents to help their children buy a property. This could be via a gifted cash lump sum to help with the deposit, parents acting as guarantor on their child’s mortgage, or even taking out a joint mortgage on a property.
Getting on to the property ladder is not easy, but the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme certainly appears to have served its purpose, resulting in a greater number of deals and a more robust market.
If you are considering a high loan-to-value mortgage and need mortgage advice, then please speak to the Guild Mortgage Service provided by fee free L&C Mortgages.
You can contact L&C mortgages on: 0800 073 1945
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