The Help to Buy scheme is a government-backed initiative designed to help people get on the property ladder or buy a new home without a large deposit.

London Help to Buy equity loan

The London Help to Buy scheme works in the same way as Help to Buy equity loans in the rest of England – but first-time buyers in London can borrow 40% of the property price from the government, rather than 20%.

This means Londoners participating in the scheme can buy a property with a mortgage of just 55% loan-to-value.

Help to Buy around the UK

Help to Buy Wales offers equity loans of up to 20% on new-build homes priced up to £250,000.

Help to Buy Scotland closed for applications in February 2021, and no equivalent scheme currently exists in Northern Ireland.

Help to Buy shared ownership

More commonly known simply as ‘shared ownership’, this scheme allows you to buy a share of a property and pay rent on the rest.

Usually, your share must be between 25% and 75% of the property price. A housing association will own the remaining share.

There are pros and cons to buying through shared ownership – read our guide to understand whether it could work for you.

Forces Help to Buy

People in the Armed Forces can borrow up to 50% of their salary interest-free to use for a property deposit and other buying costs, such as legal fees.

The maximum loan you can get is £25,000, which needs to be repaid over 10 years.

To be eligible you must:

  • have completed a minimum length of service;
  • have more than six months left to serve when you apply;
  • meet certain medical categories.

To apply, you will need to go through the Joint Personnel Administration system. Talk to your chain of command or personnel agency for more information.

Forces Help to Buy is currently scheduled to run until the end of 2022.

Help to Buy Isa (no longer open to new applicants)

Help to Buy Isas are a type of tax-free savings account aimed specifically at people saving to buy their first home.

For every £200 contributed, the government adds an extra £50 towards buying your first home, up to a maximum bonus of £3,000. This is paid to your solicitor when you complete your property purchase.

You can use Help to Buy Isa savings to purchase a home worth up to £250,000, or £450,000 if you’re buying in London.

Help to Buy Isas closed to new applicants at the end of 2019. If you have an existing account, you can continue to save (and benefit from the 25% bonus) until December 2030.