Government affordable housing schemes
Not everyone can afford to buy a home on the open market. Recognising that most people want to become home-owners, the Government supports a number of schemes that provide people with a lower-cost way of buying a home. The main ones are set out below, and there is a much wider range of information and leaflets about low-cost home-ownership available on the Department of Communities and Local Government website.
If you rent your home from a social landlord such as a local authority or housing association, you may be able to buy your home from them. Some schemes offer discounts on the price of the property. The "right to buy" is the most widely known scheme for buying your home from the council, and it offers discounts which can be quite large. Ask your landlord whether you qualify to buy your home. You can find out more about the Right to Buy on the GOV.UK website.
For some people, shared ownership is a suitable option to consider. Shared ownership is a "half-way house" between buying and renting. You buy a chunk of the property - say 50% - with a normal mortgage from a lender. You then pay rent on the other chunk to a social landlord such as a housing association and you have the facility to buy another chunk at a later date – for example, when your earnings have risen thereby allowing you to qualify for a larger mortgage. There isn’t always a big difference between the cost of shared ownership and the cost of full ownership, but it is definitely worth checking out this option if you would find it difficult to get a large enough mortgage to buy a home in the normal way. Shared ownership schemes are normally run through housing associations, who will have their own mechanisms for deciding who can qualify for them. You can find out more about shared ownership schemes on the GOV.UK website.
This is a Government backed initiative to help you to buy a home. Whether you are a first time buyer or moving home, you will need as little as 5% deposit to qualify. You can find out more about Help to Buy: equity loans on the GOV.UK website, Help to Buy website and the Money Advice Service website.
As part of the March 2016 Budget announcements, the Lifetime ISA was introduced. The Lifetime ISA is designed to help young people save flexibly for the long-term. It will let them save for a first home and for their retirement, without having to choose one over the other. From 6 April 2017, any adult under 40 will be able to open this new ISA and save up to £4000 each year, receiving a 25% bonus from government on the money saved. You can find out more about the Lifetime ISA on the GOV.UK website.