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Introducing Help to Buy

The Help to Buy scheme, along with Stamp Duty reform, has made buying a new home more affordable. The scheme is backed by the government and is available to all home buyers buying a new build home, who have a 5% deposit.

Typical example based on a £200,000 townhouse

£10kBuyer's 5% deposit

£40k20% Help to Buy loan

£150k75% mortgage required

Typical example based on a £200,000 townhouse

£10kBuyer's 5% deposit

£40k20% Help to Buy loan

£150k75% mortgage required

You own 100% of your home but only pay 80% of the price up front. You pay the 5% deposit and the government will lend you up to 20% as an equity loan. You can then apply for a mortgage based on the remaining 75% of the house price.

The equity loan is interest-free for five years and is available on new build homes up to the value of £600,000.

What is the Help to Buy scheme?

The Help to Buy Equity Loan is a government-funded scheme that’s helping people onto the property ladder for the first time. It means you can buy your new home with just a 5% deposit and a 75% mortgage from a commercial lender to make up the rest. Key points include:

1

The Help to Buy Equity Loan is worth up to 20% of the value of your new home. It means you own 100% of your property but pay just 80% of the price up front

2

This loan is interest-free for the first five years, helping you manage the initial cost of buying a new home

3

You can repay the loan at any time. Any outstanding amount can be repaid in full when you sell your home

4

The Help to Buy scheme has been created to help you to get on the property ladder, or to move a larger home sooner

1

The Help to Buy Equity Loan is worth up to 20% of the value of your new home. It means you own 100% of your property but pay just 80% of the price up front

2

This loan is interest-free for the first five years, helping you manage the initial cost of buying a new home

3

You can repay the loan at any time. Any outstanding amount can be repaid in full when you sell your home

4

The Help to Buy scheme has been created to help you to get on the property ladder, or to move a larger home sooner

How does it work?

The scheme lets you own 100% of your new home by paying just 80% of the price upfront. You pay a minimum of 5% as deposit, then get the maximum 20% lent to you interest-free by the government. This means you only need to arrange a mortgage for the remaining 75% of your new home’s value.

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Step 1

Choose your new home

Before applying for a Help to Buy Equity Loan, you need to choose a new build home that suits your life and your financial circumstances.

At this stage, you will also be asked to see an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) to go over your financial position and look at what mortgages are available to you. This will confirm you can afford to buy the property.

Step 2

Complete your application

Your IFA will consider if you can afford the monthly mortgage payments. They’ll also check you’ve signed a declaration to confirm your new home is the only property you own. You can only proceed if it is.

If successful, you’ll receive an ‘Authority to Proceed’ document and instructions for your solicitor and legal documents. Your IFA can apply for a mortgage for you.

Step 3

Exchange contracts

A solicitor exchanges contracts, transfers your deposit and the money from your mortgage lender to the home builder. They also transfer the Help to Buy Equity Loan after you’ve signed the sale contract and the Help to Buy Equity Loan application. Your home builder will give you a completion date. This is when your home will be ready to move into. 

Exchanging contracts is a legally-binding contract to buy the home by the completion date. You can exchange contracts while your home is being built. This must happen within three months of submitting your Help to Buy application. The completion date must fall within six months of the exchange. 

Step 4

Complete the sale

On the completion date, with the funds transferred, your home will be legally yours. Your solicitor will confirm to the local Help to Buy agent that the sale has completed. 

At this stage, a second charge is registered on your home. This entitles the Homes and Communities Agency (the lenders of the equity loan) to a share of the proceeds of the future sale of the house or the value after 25 years (whichever is earlier). This is the same as the percentage of the home value that was first borrowed. i.e. if your equity loan is 20% of the home price at purchase, you will need to pay the Agency 20% of the sale price of the property at the time of sale.

Who is eligible?

It’s available to both first-time buyers and current homeowners. Your new home must be a new build with a maximum value of £600,000.

The scheme is not available to buy-to-let investors, and you cannot sublet the new property. If you’re a current homeowner, you cannot use your old home as part-exchange. At the time of buying your new home with the Help to Buy Equity Loan, you must not own any other property.

The Help to Buy scheme extension

Originally, the deadline was set for March 2021. While the Help to Buy scheme as we know it will end at this time, an extension of the scheme with changes to the eligibility criteria will run from April 2021 until March 2023. The extension will only be available to first time buyers purchasing a new home, and price caps will be set based on the average price of first homes in each region of the UK.

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Help to Buy made buying our first home so much easier

Read Laura and Matt's story