'There are still affordable ways to get onto the property ladder' says Gloucester-based mortgage broker

From Help to Buy and the mortgage guarantee scheme, to shared ownership and ISAs, there is more than one route to home ownership – with an expert from The Mortgage Brain in Gloucester laying out the options for first-time buyers.

By Eleanor Fullalove  |  Published
According to experts from The Mortgage Brain in Gloucester, there are times when it might not make sense to use a scheme like Help to Buy to purchase your first home.
According to experts from The Mortgage Brain in Gloucester, there are times when it might not make sense to use a scheme like Help to Buy to purchase your first home.

Property prices and interest rates may be rising, but according to Gloucester-based mortgage broker, The Mortgage Brain, now is a good time for first-time buyers to take advantage of the many routes to home ownership.

SoGlos asked Rupert Swetman, head of mortgages at The Mortgage Brain, to talk us through the various schemes available.

About the expert - Rupert Swetman, Head of Mortgages at The Mortgage Brain 

Rupert Swetman is Head of Mortgages at The Mortgage Brain, providing excellent customer service with advisers that are with their customers every step of the way, whether they’re buying their first home or have owned a property for many years.

The Mortgage Brain has over 30 years’ experience helping customers find the best mortgage. Its unique mortgage search system is continually updated with the latest offers from the widest range of lenders, allowing advisors to rapidly locate the best deal to suit a client’s individual circumstances – wherever they are on the ladder.

For more information, visit themortgagebrain.net.

Who is eligible for Help to Buy and what kind of property can house hunters buy that way?

This scheme is for first-time buyers aged 18 or over only, purchasing a brand-new property from a housebuilder registered with Help to Buy.

There’s no household annual income limit, but you must not own a home now or have owned one in the past – in the UK or abroad – and must not have had any form of Sharia mortgage finance either.

There’s also a ‘maximum property purchase price’ limit for the home you buy, depending on which region it’s in, which is £349,000 in the south west and £600,000 in London.

How does Help to Buy actually work?

You are ‘helped’ to buy a property with a government-backed equity loan of up to 20 per cent of the purchase price, interest-free for the first five years; plus your deposit, which can be as little as 5 per cent. You then arrange a repayment mortgage for the balance of the price.

The deadline to reserve your home with the current Help to Buy scheme is Monday 31 October 2022. Our new build mortgage advisers are on hand in many of the new housing developments in Gloucestershire to get your application underway.

There’s also the mortgage guarantee scheme which is ending this year, too. What is this and how much of a deposit would people need to put down?

You will need to provide just a 5 per cent deposit on a property. You can then apply for the government-backed guarantee on a 95 per cent loan to value (LTV) mortgage with participating lenders.

The mortgage guarantee scheme is open until Saturday 31 December 2022 to both first-time buyers and existing homeowners – and can be a brand-new or a pre-owned home. Our advisers will be able to run through the detail and show you the best deals on the market.

What is a shared ownership mortgage?

It’s another great way to get on the property ladder if you can’t afford to buy on the open market and your household earns £80,000 a year or less outside of London (£90,000 in London).

You can buy a share of a newly-built home, or an existing shared ownership property from a housing association, of between 25 per cent and 75 per cent of its value, paying an affordable rent on the remaining share.

You put down a deposit of five to ten per cent of the price of the share you are buying and take out a mortgage to cover the remaining cost of the share. You can also buy more shares as you can afford it, known as staircasing, eventually owning 100 per cent of the property.

Shared ownership properties are always leasehold and we’re a shared ownership specialist, so can advise you on the best mortgage options if you choose this route.

Can I still save for a home with a Help to Buy ISA?

This Help to Buy ISA scheme is no longer available for new savers, but if you already have a Help to Buy ISA, you can keep saving into your account until 30 November 2029, when accounts will close to additional contributions.

The government will top up your savings by 25 per cent, up to a maximum of £3,000, when you buy your first home.

If you are buying with someone who also has a Help to Buy ISA, both of you will get the 25 per cent bonus. You must claim your bonus by 1 December 2030.

Do I have to use a first-time scheme to buy my first home?

Not necessarily! Our mortgage advisers will look at all your finances before finding you the best deal, which may or may not fall into one of these schemes, if you have a large deposit or high earnings, for instance.

Whatever route you choose, you will have your own personal mortgage administrator, who will keep you up to date with the whole application process.

In partnership with The Mortgage Brain  |  themortgagebrain.net

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