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Help to Buy FAQs

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Has the Help to Buy scheme ended?

The Help to Buy equity loan closed to new applicants on October 31st, 2022.

The Help to Buy equity loan scheme closed to new applications on Monday 31st October 2022, with the scheme officially ending on Friday 31st March 2023. Homes England confirmed that there will be no exceptions or extensions.

Find out more on Share to Buy or learn about Help to Buy alternatives including Shared Ownership and other home-buying and affordable rental options.

Was Help to Buy available on all homes?

No – Help to Buy was only available on developments where Homes England had a registration agreement with the housebuilder. While both houses and apartments were available with the government-backed scheme, the equity loan was only available on new build properties and could not be used to purchase resale homes.

As of April 2021, maximum regional price caps were introduced for the equity loan. For example, a Help to Buy home in London couldn’t exceed a full purchase price of £600,000, £437,600 in the South East, or £261,900 in the East Midlands. You can view a full list of regional breakdowns on Share to Buy.

Please note that the Help to Buy: Equity Loan officially ended in March 2023. 

Was Help to Buy different in London?

To reflect the higher property prices in the capital, Help to Buy was slightly different in London.

The government increased the upper limit for the equity loan from 20% to 40%, enabling buyers to get a foot on the property ladder within Greater London. The buyer was still only required to raise a 5% deposit, with a 55% mortgage making up the rest. You can find out more about London Help to Buy on Share to Buy.

Please note that the Help to Buy: Equity Loan officially ended in March 2023. 

Did I meet the eligibility criteria for Help to Buy?

As a home-buying product aimed at helping those who couldn’t afford to purchase a property on the open market, there were certain requirements that buyers needed to meet to be considered eligible for Help to Buy.

For example, you had to be 18 years or older, have at least a 5% deposit of the full purchase price of the property, and must be a first time buyer. If you were buying the property with another person, you both needed to be first time buyers to benefit from the equity loan – meaning neither of you had ever owned another property either in the UK or abroad.

Please note that the Help to Buy: Equity Loan officially ended in March 2023. 

How much did Help to Buy cost?

With the Help to Buy equity loan, the government lent up to 20% of the cost of a newly built home, so you only needed a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest. The Help to Buy: Equity Loan was subject to eligibility, terms and conditions.

The Help to Buy: Equity Loan was interest-free for the first five years of owning your home. After that, the purchaser paid an annual fee of 1.75% on the amount of the outstanding loan, however, this fee will increase each year by inflation. You can find out more about these costs on Share to Buy.

Please note that the Help to Buy: Equity Loan officially ended in March 2023. 

Were there Help to Buy homes in my area?

Share to Buy lists thousands of first time buyer homes across the country – including new build properties that were available through the Help to Buy scheme.

Help to Buy was available on a variety of properties including cosy studios, stylish apartments and traditional family homes. Help to Buy may have ended, but there are still plenty of alternative housing schemes that can help first time buyers get on the property ladder. Check out our property search tool to start looking for your new home today!

For further information about the home-buying and application process with the Help to Buy: Equity Loan, buyers were previously able to refer to the Help to Buy Agent in their area.

Please note that the Help to Buy: Equity Loan officially ended in March 2023. 

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Learn more about the UK's leading first time buyer property portal, specialising in affordable homeownership options including Shared Ownership
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Who are Share to Buy?

Share to Buy is the leading online portal for alternative homeownership options including Shared Ownership, First Homes, Intermediate Rent and more. Established in 2004 as the UK’s first specialist online mortgage broker for affordable homeownership products, the site has since developed into a one stop shop for first time buyers, offering the country’s largest listing of first time buyer homes from many of the UK’s biggest housing providers.

Why should I register with Share to Buy?

Share to Buy is the nation’s biggest and best established affordable homeownership property portal, making it the ideal website for first time buyers looking to take that first step onto the property ladder.

Using our property search tool, you can search for homes that suit your needs via filters such as location, number of bedrooms, monthly outgoings and deposit amount. You can also set up alert preferences so you’ll be notified when new properties that meet your search are announced by email.

Acting as a one stop shop for first time buyers, Share to Buy also offers handy FAQs and guides, interactive mortgage tools, mortgage broker and conveyancing panels, and live events to help potential purchasers on their home-buying journey.

Can I advertise my home on Share to Buy?

If you are a housing association or developer selling properties through Shared Ownership, First Homes, Deposit Unlock and other affordable homeownership schemes, we can list your new build and resale homes on the Share to Buy property portal.

As well as working alongside Registered Providers, we also partner with private sellers who are looking to sell their current Shared Ownership home.

Find out more about advertising your Shared Ownership property on Share to Buy.

When does the Help to Buy scheme end?


A history of the Help to Buy scheme

The government Help to Buy scheme was introduced in 2013 to assist households facing financial difficulties in saving money for a new home deposit. Through this initiative, home-buyers had the opportunity to secure a mortgage with a 5% deposit. Initially, the Help to Buy scheme was open to all individuals, including first time buyers and existing homeowners. This initiative was active from April 2013 until May 2021.

The scheme proved beneficial for many aspiring homeowners who were grappling with escalating house prices and increasing down payments. Eligible buyers were able to receive a Help to Buy equity loan of up to 20% of the property’s purchase price, with a maximum limit of £600,000. In London, the limit was set at 40%. Although predominantly popular among first time buyers, the assistance was accessible to anyone seeking to purchase a home. After changes to Help to Buy in 2021, this eligibility criteria changed and the equity loan was available to first time buyers only.

The original Help to Buy scheme included additional conditions related to interest rates on the equity loan and the duration of the mortgage. During the first five years, home-buyers were exempted from paying interest on the equity loan. However, starting from the sixth year, they were required to pay 1.75% interest on the equity loan, which would then increase annually in accordance with the Retail Price Index plus 1%.

Furthermore, the scheme had price limits in place, and buyers were only allowed to purchase properties from authorised sellers. Therefore, not all homes on the market were eligible during the initial phase of the program.

From 2013 to 2021, the scheme played a significant role in increasing the number of homeowners in England.

Help to Buy in stats

Government data indicates that over 355,000 Help to Buy homes were acquired using an equity loan, amounting to a total value of close to £100 billion in houses sold through the scheme.

  • The scheme facilitated the purchase of 291,903 Help to Buy properties.
  • First time buyers accounted for 82% of all Help to Buy homes bought through the scheme.
  • The total value of Help to Buy loans provided amounted to £17.4 billion.
  • The total value of Help to Buy properties purchased reached £72.9 billion.

Primarily, the scheme increased access to houses for first time buyers, including terraced and semi-detached properties, although a smaller proportion used it for purchasing flats:

  • 18% of scheme users bought Help to Buy flats.
  • 82% of users utilised the scheme to purchase houses, ranging from detached to semi-detached and terraced houses.

Help to Buy has also had a significant impact on individuals with lower household incomes:

  • 51% of borrowers had household incomes between £20,000 and £50,000.
  • 2% of applicants had household incomes below £20,000.
  • 5% of applicants had household incomes exceeding £100,000.

Whilst the Government Help to Buy scheme has now ended, there are a number of alternative schemes including Shared Ownership and other affordable home-buying and rental options.


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