Help To Buy Mortgages Explained

With the deadline for Help to Buy now passed, get expert advice from a specialist broker on all the available alternatives

How will you be using the property?

No impact on credit score

4.8 out of 5 stars across Trustpilot, Feefo and Google! Our customers love Online Mortgage Advisor

Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: December 4, 2023

With the Help to Buy scheme shortly due to close, naturally there’s a flurry of interest from first-time buyers. If you’d like to know more about equity loans and you need to learn the essentials quickly, you’re in the right place.

In this in-depth guide we’ll explain how the scheme works, who is eligible, and how to get a mortgage once your equity loan has been approved. If you need any more information, we can put you in touch with a Help to Buy expert.


📢 *UPDATE 02/05/2023: The deadline to apply for a Help to Buy: Equity Loan has passed and the scheme has ended. For information about the best alternatives to Help to Buy, head over to our blog. 🏠

What is Help to Buy?

Explained simply, Help to Buy is a government scheme to help first-time buyers with small deposits get a more affordable mortgage. The government provides an equity loan for a portion of the property price, which is interest-free for the first five years, so that you can get a smaller, cheaper mortgage on the remaining portion of the property.

There are some limitations:

  • The property must be your first home
  • It must be in England (though both Wales and Scotland have their own Help to Buy schemes)
  • It must be a newly built property from a participating developer

If you’re buying in London, you can get an equity loan of up to 40% of the property value (meaning you’ll need a mortgage for up to 55%). Outside of London, you can get an equity loan of up to 20% of the property value (so you’ll need a mortgage of up to 75%).

How it works

To explain the scheme in numbers, let’s use the example of buying a £200,000 home.

  • You’ll need a 5% deposit – £10,000
  • The government will provide a 20% equity loan – £40,000
  • You’ll need a mortgage for 75% – £150,000

Your mortgage repayments will be lower for two reasons:

  • Your mortgage is only £150,000, whereas without the scheme you’d need a £190,000 mortgage
  • Mortgage rates are typically lower for 75% mortgages than 95% mortgages, so you’ll pay less interest on the loan

Since the equity loan is interest-free for the first five years, you can be pretty sure you’ll save money for these five years (although you’ll pay a £1 monthly management fee).

When is the deadline?

The final deadline to apply is 31 October 2022. Within four working days, you will be given Authority to Proceed. From this point, you have three months to get your mortgage approved and exchange contracts. Your date of completion must be on or before 31 March 2023, when the scheme ends.

Maximise your chance of approval with a specialist in Help to Buy mortgages

Get Started

Ask Us A Question

We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different mortgage subjects.

Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

Feefo 5 Stars
1 of 3
2 of 3
3 of 3 Send!

What is a Help to Buy mortgage?

In addition to your equity loan and deposit, you’ll need a mortgage. Less than half of UK lenders can provide mortgages that are compatible with Help to Buy equity loans, so their products are called Help to Buy mortgages.

Help to Buy mortgages are available in all the same variations as standard residential mortgages, so you can get a fixed-rate mortgage, a tracker mortgage, or a discounted variable-rate mortgage.

Eligibility criteria

To access the Help to Buy initiative, you must be:

  • 18 or over
  • A UK resident
  • A first-time buyer

Benefits and downsides

  • You can buy a home with a small deposit, which may help you to buy sooner
  • You may get a lower mortgage rate because of the equity loan
  • Equity loans are available to all first-time buyers, regardless of income
  • Equity loans are interest-free for the first five years, and low interest after that (starting at 1.75%)
  • You can pay off your equity loan whenever you want (though there’s a £200 fee for each repayment)
  • Unlike other government schemes, e.g. Shared Ownership, you’ll legally own 100% of your home

How much can you borrow?

Let’s look at the Help to Buy equity loan first, and then how much you can borrow for your mortgage.

Help to Buy equity loan

Each region of the UK has a price cap, i.e. a limit on the total value of the property you can buy with Help to Buy, which is 1.5x the average forecast first-time buyer price for that region. The equity loan you can get in London is larger than outside of London.

So, the maximum equity loan in different regions is as follows:

Region Price cap Equity loan % (up to) Max. equity loan
North East £186,100 20% £37,220
North West £224,400 20% £44,880
Yorkshire and the Humber £228,100 20% £45,620
East Midlands £261,900 20% £52,380
West Midlands £255,600 20% £51,120
East of England £407,400 20% £81,480
London £600,000 40% £240,000
South East £437,600 20% £87,520
South West £349,000 20% £69,800

Help to Buy mortgage

You can get a Help to Buy mortgage for up to 4.5x your annual salary (or, if you’re buying with another person, your combined salaries). For example, if your annual salary is £30,000, you could get a Help to Buy mortgage of up to £135,000. If you and your partner’s combined salaries are £60,000, you could get a Help to Buy mortgage of up to £270,000.

This table shows the salary needed to get a 55% or 75% mortgage of the maximum regional price cap:

Region Price cap Mortgage % Mortgage £ Salary required
North East £186,100 75% £139,575 £31,017
North West £224,400 75% £168,300 £37,400
Yorkshire and the Humber £228,100 75% £171,075 £38,017
East Midlands £261,900 75% £196,425 £43,650
West Midlands £255,600 75% £191,700 £42,600
East of England £407,400 75% £305,550 £67,900
London £600,000 55% £330,000 £73,333
South East £437,600 75% £328,220 £72,933
South West £349,000 75% £261,750 £58,167

Work out your maximum borrowing

If you’d like to see a more precise estimate for how much you could borrow, enter your salary (and your partner’s, if you’re buying with someone else) into the calculator below.

Calculator Icon

Help to Buy Mortgage Calculator

Our Help to Buy calculator can tell you whether the mortgage you need is affordable with your equity loan amount factored in.

Enter an amount in pound sterling
This must be at least 5% of the purchase price
Deposit cannot be more than property value
Deposit too high
Deposit must be at least 5% of the purchase price
Enter an amount between 5% and 40% of the purchase price

Help to buy loan value:

Mortgage requirement:

How much can I borrow?

Enter the total income for all applicants

Lower range borrowing:

Higher range borrowing:

Your maximum borrowing is unlikely to match the property price when combined with your deposit funds and equity loan. Speak to a broker to find out what options are available.

Now that you have a rough idea of your maximum borrowing with your Help to Buy equity loan factored in, it's a good idea to speak to a mortgage broker who specialises in the scheme. They can provide you with bespoke calculations and make sure your get the best deal with the time comes to apply for your mortgage.

How to get a Help to Buy mortgage

There are three steps to successfully securing your mortgage before the deadline.

Find a property

You’ll need to find a homebuilder who is registered with the Help to Buy scheme and view the properties they have available. Once you’ve found one you like, you can reserve it while you complete the other steps.

We're so confident in our service, we guarantee it.

We know it's important for you to have complete confidence in our service, and trust that you're getting the best chance of mortgage approval at the best available rate. We guarantee to get your mortgage approved where others can't - or we'll give you £100*

Happy approved couple

Lenders that offer Help to Buy mortgages

Many mainstream and specialist lenders offer Help to Buy mortgages. These include Nationwide Building Society, Accord Mortgages, Barclays Bank, Aldermore, NatWest Bank, and Halifax Building Society.

Which lender provides the best Help to Buy mortgage depends on your personal circumstances. Your source of income and credit history are two major factors, as different lenders may take different views on your creditworthiness. It’s best to speak to a broker if you need help comparing mortgages.

Alternatives to consider

If you decide that Help to Buy isn’t right for you, you might consider two other government schemes:

Until the end of 2023, the government is providing an incentive to lenders to offer 95% mortgages, by guaranteeing the portion over 80% (so the lender is not at risk of loss on this portion). This means you could be able to get a 95% mortgage without an equity loan. Read more about 95% mortgages.

Selling a home bought through the scheme

When you sell your home, you’ll need to pay off the government equity loan. The amount you owe is not necessarily the amount you borrowed. If you borrowed 20% of the purchase price of the property, you owe the government 20% of the selling price of the property.

For example, if you bought the property for £200,000, with an equity loan of £40,000, and you are selling the property for £220,000, you owe the government £44,000. Your house has increased in value by 10%, so the repayment due has increased by 10% too.

When you want to sell your home, you’ll need to notify Target, the agency that handles administration for HCA, the organisation that provides the loan. You’ll need to arrange a surveyor’s valuation and send this to Target, along with the offer you’ve received. You’ll pay an admin fee of £200.

How we got Alice's mortgage approved!

I was nervous the last time I attempted to buy a house. I was newly single and had never owned a property before, having rented my last flat with my ex. I thought I’d struggle to pass affordability checks and land a decent interest rate since most people I know have joint mortgages and rely on two incomes. I didn’t feel confident enough to dive into the market myself but luckily a friend recommended Online Mortgage Advisor, so I thought I’d give them a try. After they matched me with a mortgage broker, I was surprised by the number of options available to me. Sarah, the advisor they paired me with, recommended the Help to Buy scheme to boost the equity I’d end up with and they really took the stress out of the process while securing me a mortgage.

How we got Alice's mortgage approved!


OMA Customer

Remortgaging after Help to Buy

Remortgaging a home you bought with help to Buy can be difficult. Very few lenders offer Help to Buy remortgage deals, particularly if you have not yet paid off your equity loan. Those that do might charge higher fees and rates to Help to Buy customers. You will also need to pay a remortgage fee of £115 to the Help to Buy scheme.

So, you’ll need to consider if the costs of remortgaging outweigh the costs of sticking with your current mortgage once it has deferred to your lender’s standard variable rate. This maths can be complicated, so you may want to speak to a broker to get their expert opinion.

To find out more see our dedicated article on remortgaging after using a Help to Buy scheme.

Get matched with a Help to Buy specialist

Not all brokers can help you proceed with a Help to Buy mortgage application. You’ll need a broker who has ‘whole of market’ access, and it will be extremely helpful if they have previous experience with the scheme.

We work with numerous brokers who are Help to Buy specialists. If you’d like their expert advice, we can put you in touch for a free, no-obligation chat. First, we’ll just need a few details about you and your mortgage. To get in touch, either call us on 0808 189 2301 or enquire online.

Maximise your chance of approval with a specialist in Help to Buy mortgages

Get Started

Ask Us A Question

We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different mortgage subjects.

Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

Feefo 5 Stars
1 of 3
2 of 3
3 of 3 Send!


The government has not yet announced any plans to extend or replace the scheme once it ends in 2023. So, if you’d like to buy a home with a Help to Buy equity loan, it’s crucial to get your application in before the end of October 2022.

As a first-time buyer, you’re entitled to stamp duty relief if you buy a home for less than £300,000. That means that the Help to Buy customers in most regions will pay no stamp duty.

If you buy a home worth between £300,000 and £500,000, you’ll get a first-time buyer discount of £5,000 on the stamp duty for the property. If you’re buying a home worth over £500,000 (which only applies to Help to Buy customers in London), you’ll get no reduction in stamp duty.

Finding a buyer won’t necessarily be harder, as you can sell your home on the open market like any other. The selling process is a little more complex if you haven’t yet repaid your equity loan, as you’ll need to do that now. This can add to the time and cost of selling your home.

Yes, the Welsh government is running a very similar scheme to that which was available in England. If you live in Wales and want to take advantage of this scheme, the latest phase (3) will remain open until March 2023. The scheme provides an equity loan equal to 20% of the purchase price (up to). To qualify you must also have at least a 5% deposit of your own and use a repayment mortgage for the remaining balance.

No, the Help to Buy scheme in Scotland is now closed. However, the Low Cost Initiative for First-Time Buyers Scheme (LIFT) is still available. If you’d like more information as to how this works, get in touch and we’ll arrange for one of our brokers to contact you directly.

Ask a quick question

We can help!

We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in Help to Buy Mortgages.

Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

Our Brokers

Get in touch today

Make an enquiry and we'll arrange for an experienced mortgage broker we work with to contact you straight away.

1 of 3
2 of 3
3 of 3 Send!

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for Online Mortgage Advisor of course!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Maximise your chances of approval, whatever your situation - Find your perfect mortgage broker