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Help To Buy Mortgage

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Help to Buy mortgages scheme explained

We received a huge volume of enquiries from people asking asking about the government Help to Buy (HTB) scheme and whether they qualify to get a Help to Buy mortgage. While there are plenty of lenders who are happy to lend in conjunction with HTB, it all depends on whether you meet their eligibility requirements.

Happily, the brokers we work with are experts at Help to Buy and they can give you the right advice, even if you’ve been declined of have a bad credit history.

So, what is a Help to Buy mortgage, how does the scheme work, and how do you go about applying? Read on where we’ll be answering all these questions and more.

  • What is the Help to Buy scheme?
  • What is the Help to Buy equity loan?
  • Help to Buy equity loan London
  • Who can get a Help to Buy equity loan mortgage?
  • First-time buyers and existing homeowners
  • Property type
  • Property value
  • What other factors impact Help to Buy equity loan eligibility?
  • Deposit size
  • HTB and 100% LTV
  • Affordability
  • Bad credit
  • Age
  • Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Help to Buy mortgage?

Help to Buy (HTB) is an initiative funded by the UK government offering financial assistance to eligible individuals struggling to buy a home.

Help to Buy is made up of a number of schemes, including:

  • Help to Buy Equity Loan
  • Help to Buy Shared Ownership
  • Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee

This article is going to focus on the HTB equity loan, but you can find out more on the full range of government-funded schemes by clicking here.

If you’re not eligible or have been declined for any of the above HTB schemes, look into the Help to Buy ISA, which has different criteria. This product enables you to earn a government bonus on top of your savings, to be used towards a deposit for your first home.

What is a Help to Buy equity loan mortgage?

With this HTB scheme you are given the opportunity to buy your home with as little as 5% deposit saved. The government will give you an additional 20% of the value of the property in the form of an equity loan. This means you’ll effectively have a deposit of 25%, and will be required to take out a mortgage for the remaining 75%.

You won’t be charged any interest on the 20% loan for the first five years of owning your home. After this five year period you will be charged a fixed fee of 1.75%, which will rise year on year by by the increase of the Retail Price Index, + 1%.

The below illustrates how the scheme works for a property valued at £200,000:


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London Help to Buy equity loan

To reflect the higher property prices in certain locations, the government has since raised the upper equity loan limit from 20% to 40% for those looking to buy within the Greater London area.

What is the Help to Buy eligibility criteria?

As well as assessing your individual circumstances, there are a few standard eligibility requirements you must meet in order to take advantage of the HTB equity loan UK mortgage scheme:

HTB mortgages for first time buyers and existing homeowners

While Help to Buy is predominantly aimed at first-time buyers, it is also available to existing homeowners – provided you haven’t used the scheme before. What’s more, if you’re a current homeowner you will need to have a sale in place on your current place of residence before you can apply.

Property type

The Help to Buy equity loan is limited to new build mortgages only, although there is no restriction on the size of the property you purchase so long as you meet the remaining criteria.

Many providers also have strict policies in place surrounding lending to non-standard property types.

The equity loan scheme is not intended for use on Buy to Lets (BTLs). If you have purchased a property using HTB, you are required to repay the equity loan before you can sublet.

Property value

While the HTB equity loan schemes has no restrictions regarding the size or number of rooms the property you’re purchasing has, it must not exceed the value of £250,000 (£450,000 in London).

What other factors affect my Help to Buy application?

Deposit size

So, how much do you need to have saved for a Help to Buy mortgage? 5% is the minimum deposit requirement, but that doesn’t mean that you’re limited to putting forward just 5% if you can afford more.

You can also take advantage of HTB to maximise your deposit contribution, provided you use at least 10% equity loan and 25% mortgage. So, whether you have a 95% LTV all the way through to 35% LTV, Help to Buy may be a viable option for you.

Help to Buy and 100% LTV mortgages

100% LTV mortgages are not generally possible through HTB schemes, but there are a number of other options you could consider to help you gather together the minimum 5% deposit required.

For example, some providers are happy to consider a family-gifted deposit, or a family member guarantor on your application.

There are also bank schemes available for first-time buyers, such as Lloyd TSB’s “Lend a Hand” and Barclays’ “Family Springboard” programmes.

Contact us to discuss any of the above in more detail and we’ll forward your enquiry to an expert. The team we work with will be able to calculate the best rates available to you depending on the size of your deposit, and advise you on next steps.


All mortgage applicants are subject to affordability assessments, and this is no different if you’re using a scheme such as Help to Buy.

Lenders often have restrictions on how much they are willing to lend, which is calculated at a multiple of your earnings. The majority of providers will cap at 3 – 4x your yearly income, but a few be happy to offer you up to 5 – 6x your salary – under the right circumstances..

Visit our affordability section for more information on this.

Bad credit

Mortgage providers are generally more cautious about lending to those who have a history of adverse. Those that will consider lending may charge higher rates, require a higher deposit, or cap the amount they are willing to loan, for example.

However, each has their own criteria as to what is and isn’t acceptable, which tends to depend on the recency and / or severity of the issue. The most common forms of adverse, ranging from lowest to highest risk, are:

  • Low credit score.
  • Late payments.
  • Mortgage arrears.
  • Defaults.
  • County Court Judgements (CCJs).
  • Debt Management Plans (DMPs).
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs).
  • Bankruptcy.
  • Repossession.

If you’ve experienced any of the above issues in the past, don’t give up hope. Contact us and speak to one of the advisors we work with who are experts when it comes to finding the right mortgage for people with bad credit or click here to visit our bad credit section.


Lots of customers ask us whether there is an age limit on Help to Buy mortgages. Older borrowers are typically considered as higher risk than younger applicants, and as such many lenders have a maximum age they’re willing to lend up to. Others may have a limit on the term length they will offer you; others will not lend into retirement at all.

This is why it’s important to contact a whole of market broker. We can scour the market to find the full range of providers willing to lend to you, regardless of your circumstances. Contact us today.

Why you should speak to Help to Buy mortgage broker

We’ve helped over 92,000 people find the right mortgage, even those who may have been declined a mortgage or had bad credit history. In fact, our customers consistently rate us 5 stars on Feefo, mainly due to our high levels of service, but also because we offer access to expert brokers who are:

  • Whole of market.
  • Have a working relationship with all lenders, not just a select few.
  • Already know the lenders to go to as they successfully arrange these
  • already.
  • OMA Accredited advisors.
  • Have completed a 12 module LIBF accredited training course.

Talk to a Help to Buy mortgage expert today

If you like what you’re reading or require more information surrounding Help to Buy mortgages, call Online Mortgage Advisor on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry here.

Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the broker with the right expertise for your circumstances. We don’t charge a fee, and there’s no obligation or marks on your credit rating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why use Help to Buy over other schemes?

The Help to Buy initiative is one of many schemes available out there which can help give you a leg up onto the mortgage ladder. Find out more on the advantages and disadvantages of HTB here.

Are Help to Buy mortgages more expensive than normal mortgages?

Provided you repay within five years, you pay no interest on the equity loan, therefore HTB mortgages can work out cheaper than a “normal” mortgage plan. This is because having a higher deposit together can open you up to more lenders and better rates, therefore potentially costing you less in the long run.

How do I apply for Help to Buy equity loan?

You can submit your HTB application on the government website, or get in touch and one of the experts we work with will assist you. Provided you meet the HTB and lender eligibility criteria, the process is relatively easy and no harder than getting a conventional mortgage.

When does the Help to Buy equity loan run until?

At the time of writing (December 2018) you are still able to apply for a Help to Buy equity loan mortgage, and it is scheduled to expire in 2020. Those who have applied and are using HTB before the end date will not be affected.

Can I use the Help to Buy scheme more than once?

This depends on which scheme you’ve used previously. Visit our multi-use HTB section for more information.

Are there any armed forces Help to Buy mortgage schemes available?

Yes, the Forces Help to Buy scheme enables service people to borrow up to 50% interest-free of their salary for their first home, to move to another property on assignment, or if their family needs change. Visit the government website to find out more.

Can I get a Help to Buy mortgage on my own?

Yes, if you’re divorced or simply a single applicant looking to get a mortgage, HTB is an option provided you meet the affordability requirements and pass the other eligibility checks.

Can I get a Help to Buy mortgage if I’m self-employed?

Yes, although if you’re self-employed or a contractor lenders often have stricter affordability requirements. For example, some providers want at least 1 – 3 year’s worth of accounts to prove you have a stable income to keep up your repayments. Other lenders require more, some are happy with fewer.

Can I get a Help to Buy mortgage on an interest-only basis?

Many lenders restrict HTBs to mortgages on a repayment plan, but there are a few who will lend on an interest-only basis in conjunction with Help to Buy.

Do Help to Buy rules vary depending on location?

Yes, in Greater London the HTB equity loan scheme has been extended from 20% to 40% to accommodate the high cost of living in the area. For all other parts of England, 20% is the maximum equity loan you’re eligible for regardless of the area.

If you’re looking to buy a property in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, different schemes for first-time buyers are in place. While there is still government assistance available, the products vary to those in England.

What lenders offer Help to Buy mortgages?

Many lenders are happy to lend to a borrower using HTB, but each have different eligibility criteria so it all depends on your individual circumstances. Contact us so we can refer you to one of the Help to Buy expert advisors we work with.

What is the maximum Help to Buy mortgage term length?

As with any lender, the minimum and maximum length a Help to Buy equity loan mortgage provider is willing to authorise will vary depending on the bank you choose.

This may be based on standard lender requirements (for example, a typical mortgage is usually around 25 years), but some may be willing to extend to 30 – 35 years (or more) depending on your situation.

Maximum terms often apply to older buyers, but may also be imposed depending on other individual circumstances.

Where can I compare mortgage rates for different Help to Buy lenders?

Contact us today and we’ll put you in touch with an expert advisor specialising in HTB who can work out the most competitive rates for your circumstances.

FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The info on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

Help to buy mortgages

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