Buying your own home can be an intimidating and often expensive process. Fortunately, the federal government has a variety of options to help make housing more affordable. One such program is the Help to Buy scheme, which offers incentives and assistance to eligible prospective homeowners to help make the process of buying a home easier and more affordable. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of this program, how it can help make buying a home easier and more affordable, and how you can access this important resource.

What Is Help to Buy?

Help to Buy is a scheme created by the government to help those who are looking to buy a home, but may lack the resources necessary to do so. The scheme is available to both first-time buyers and existing homeowners. It is helps to provide financial assistance with the purchase of a new or existing home, through either an equity loan, shared equity or a mortgage guarantee.

Who Is Eligible for Help to Buy?

The Help to Buy scheme is available to clients who meet certain income or housing needs criteria. This may include those:

  • who are on a low income, for example less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI);
  • who are first-time buyers;
  • who are current homeowners; or
  • who are service members or veterans.

What Does Help to Buy Cover?

The Help to Buy scheme offers a variety of initiatives depending on the needs and circumstances of the purchaser. These may include the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans for first-time buyers, Homeownership Vouchers, the Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program and programs specifically for service members and veterans.

For those wanting to purchase a new home, the most common option under the Help to Buy scheme is the equity loan. This type of loan allows the prospective buyer to purchase a property with just a 5 eposit, that is, with 95% of the amount financed by the lender and the remaining 5 overed by the government’s loan.

Shared equity enables buyers to enter into an agreement with developers or homeowners to buy a share of the property, usually ranging from 25-75%. This enables individuals to access the property market at below market prices.

Mortgage guarantees offered by Help to Buy attempt to make mortgages more accessible to those with smaller deposits or variable incomes. The scheme works by insuring a certain portion of the mortgage against defaults from the borrower.

What Are the Benefits of Help to Buy?

There are a number of benefits associated with taking advantage of the Help to Buy scheme. Homeowners are able to access their own homes sooner than they would otherwise, allowing them to take advantage of the benefits associated with homeownership such as increased stability and the ability to build wealth over time. The scheme is also helpful for those who have had difficulty accessing mortgages due to their small deposit or variable incomes.

For those seeking to purchase a new home, there are substantial advantages to taking advantage of the Help to Buy scheme. The option to purchase a property with a 95% loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, compared to the more standard 80%, often makes it easier for those on a tight budget to access the market. As well, the government’s investment ensures that banks are more willing to extend lending for those with smaller deposits or variable incomes.

How to Access Help to Buy

The first step to accessing Help to Buy is to visit your local Department of Housing and Urban Development office. Here you can learn more about the scheme and determine if you are eligible for assistance. You will also be able to explore different types of housing assistance that may be applicable to your circumstances, such as Homeownership Vouchers or the Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program.

For those purchasing a new home, the best option is to discuss options with your local Help to Buy advisor. They can help determine the best route to take and make sure that you understand your responsibilities under the scheme.

Conclusion

The Help to Buy scheme offers a great opportunity for those seeking to purchase a home but who lack the financial resources to do so. The scheme is easy to access and provides a variety of benefits, such as 95% loan-to-value ratios, mortgage insurance and shared equity opportunities. Though the program is not a panacea for the difficulties present in the housing market, it is an important resource for those seeking to make homeownership a reality.