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Help to Buy

Help to Buy was launched by the Government in 2013 to assist first time buyers and those struggling to move on to larger properties.

It is now only available on new build homes up to the value of £600,000 (open market and shared ownership).

Am I too late?

The Government's current Help to Buy equity loan scheme ends in March 2021.

Help to Buy will be replaced by a new scheme, which will run from April 2021 until March 2023, but this will only be for first-time buyers and there will be price caps.

So, if you are an existing homeowner, and want to use Help to Buy to move on, you must complete on your purchase before March next year.

If you are a first time buyer, you still have three years left to save.

What are the payments?

You must pay a five percent deposit and then you can get a Government loan of up to 20 percent of the property's value, interest-free for the first five years. Therefore, you only need a mortgage on 75 percent of the value of the property, which means you should have access to cheaper rates than if you were looking for a 95 percent mortgage.

For example: if you want to buy a property for £200,000, you would put down a deposit of £10,000 (five percent), and then get a mortgage for £150,000 (75 percent). The Government gives you an equity loan of £40,000 (20 percent).

You start paying interest on the equity loan once you've owned the property for five years. From year six, the interest on the loan will be 1.75 percent. The rate increases every year thereafter at the RPI (Retail Prices Index) measure of inflation, plus one percent until the loan is paid off.

Too complicated?

Not really: here is some advice from one of the mortgage advisers who are Help to Buy specialists and exhibiting at HomeWard.

Jasmin Huntley, from Independent Mortgage Solutions in Bicester, says: "Bigger, Better, Quicker! Because your deposit is 'topped up' with the additional 20 percent from the government, this can mean you can purchase a larger property. Better interest rate because your 5 percent deposit is then made in to a 25 percent deposit, it means your loan to value is more competitive, which usually will mean a lower interest rate so cheaper monthly repayments. Finally, quicker, because you can often purchase a property quicker as your small deposit and affordability is topped up with the Help to Buy equity loan."

Come to HomeWard on Saturday 29 February to talk to estate agents, developers, mortgage advisers, housing associations and organisations providing shared ownership and keyworker housing about your property options in and around Oxford.

Other mortgage consultants exhibiting include:The Money Consultancy, Premier Choice and BeAdvised.

Please bring three salary slips and a good idea of your monthly outgoings (e.g. credit card and store card payments, gym membership, subscriptions, student loans, etc.) to HomeWard so that the mortgage advisers and exhibitors can give you more accurate advice of your options.