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By Pete Mugleston | Mortgage Advisor

Pete has been a mortgage advisor for over 10 years, and is regularly cited in both trade and national press.

Updated: 11th June 2020*

One of the most popular ways of getting financial assistance for a deposit is through the various initiatives that have together become known as ‘Help to Buy (HTB)’. If you’re looking to get on the property ladder, it may well be worth finding out if you could boost your deposit using one of these schemes, but how much do you know about the rules surrounding HTB?

You might be wondering for example if it’s possible to use Help to Buy twice or more. How does it work if you want a joint mortgage?  And are you able to take advantage of it if you’re not a first-time buyer

The answers to all these questions will depend on which Help to Buy initiative you’ve used, along with several other factors. Read on to find out more. 

Can I use the same Help to Buy scheme twice?

First, it’s important to establish exactly what you mean by the term ‘Help to Buy’.

Since the original government Help to Buy mortgage guarantee was discontinued in 2016, the term ‘Help to Buy’ has been used as an umbrella term to refer to a range of different products and initiatives. So before you can answer this question meaningfully, you’ll first need to know which type of Help to Buy scheme you used, or are planning to use in future. 

The main routes to purchasing a property with Help to Buy are as follows:

  • Help to Buy ISA
  • Help to Buy equity loan
  • Shared ownership
  • Certain mortgage products tailored towards those who need help raising their deposit

For more information on the different Help to Buy options, take a look at our guide to Help to Buy mortgages which goes into a bit more detail on the options listed above. 

Help to Buy equity loan requirements

The Help to Buy equity loan is available to both first-time buyers and existing homeowners who are looking to move house. However, current homeowners will need to have a sale in place on their current property before they can apply.

You are also permitted to apply if you’ve owned and sold a property previously. You’ll also need to be aware that as of 2021 the help to buy equity loan scheme will only be available for first-time buyers.

Can you use the Help to Buy equity loan scheme twice?

Yes, as long as your previous Help to Buy equity loan has been settled, you are permitted to apply to use the scheme again to fund a subsequent purchase. Again, don’t forget that the scheme is being closed to applicants who are not first-time buyers in 2021, so you’ll need to act fast.

Can you use the Help to Buy equity loan for a joint mortgage?

The Help to Buy equity loan can be used to take out a joint mortgage in the right circumstances, and it’s ideal for couples looking to buy their first home together. However, it cannot be used in cases where one of the buyers already owns property.

Help to Buy ISA requirements

*UPDATE: The Help to Buy: ISA scheme is now closed to new applicants. For more information, read our guide.

To quality for a Help to Buy ISA, you must be classified as a first-time buyer; you are not eligible if you currently own or have owned a property in the past.

Can you use a Help to Buy ISA more than once?

You cannot have more than one HTB ISA as an individual, but buyers who are making a joint purchase are permitted to hold one each.

Can you use a Help to Buy ISA for a joint mortgage?

If you’re making a joint purchase with another first-time buyer, you can both open a Help to Buy ISA to put towards your purchase. This means you could potentially save up to £400 a month and double the government bonus. 

If one partner already owns property, then the other party is permitted to open a HTB ISA and claim the maximum bonus as an individual. This can still be put towards a joint mortgage, but only the first-time buyer will be eligible for the bonus.

Shared Ownership eligibility requirements

To qualify for the Shared Ownership scheme you must meet the following criteria…

  • First-time homeowner or have owned a home previously but can no longer afford it
  • Combined income of under £80,000 if you live outside of London or less than £90,000 if you live in the capital
  • The property you’re buying must be your primary residence
  • A permanent UK resident
  • 18 years old or older

Can you use Shared Ownership twice or more?

Although Shared Ownership is generally aimed at first-time homeowners, you could theoretically use the scheme again if you’ve bought shares in a property before but had to relinquish them on affordability grounds.

As long as you meet the housing association’s criteria and the scheme’s eligibility requirements, there is no reason why you couldn’t use Shared Ownership again if you bought a property through the initiative in the past but no longer own a stake in it.

How does Shared Ownership work with a joint mortgage?

Shared Ownership works with joint mortgages as the lease can either be in sole or joint names. If one person was to pass away, it passes over to the other owner.

The person you’re getting a joint Shared Ownership mortgage with doesn’t have to be a spouse, either. It’s even possible to get a joint Shared Ownership mortgage with a friend as long as your combined household income is under £90,000 in London or £80,000 outside of the capital.

What other factors affect my Help to Buy eligibility?

Property type

You are not eligible for either the equity loan or Help to Buy ISA if you intend to use it for a buy to let (BTL) investment, nor can you sublet the property or, in the case of the equity loan, enter a part exchange deal on your previous home.

The HTB equity loan is limited to new builds only, although there is no restriction on the size of the property you purchase. The HTB ISA can be used on any property type, provided you’re buying with a mortgage and not cash.

Property value

While the Help to Buy equity loan has no restrictions on the size of the property you’re purchasing, it must not exceed the value of £600,000.

The HTB ISA is only available on properties valued at £250,000 or less, or £450,000 in London.

Large deposits

If you have more than 5% deposit saved you can still take advantage of Help to Buy to maximise your deposit contribution. It’s possible to have up to 65% deposit saved, but you must use a minimum of 10% Help to Buy equity loan and 25% mortgage to be eligible.

Speak to a Help to Buy expert today

Using Help to Buy, whether that’s the equity loan, ISA or Shared Ownership scheme, more than once, isn’t always straightforward, so it’s important to get the right advice before pressing ahead with your application.

A whole-of-market broker, like the ones we work with, can take the stress out of your application by guiding you through the process and offering expert advice along the way. What’s more, speaking to them could save you time, money and potential disappointment as they will introduce you to the Help to Buy mortgage lender who’s best positioned to help you.

Call 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry to arrange a free, no-obligation chat with one of them today.

Updated: 11th June 2020
OnlineMortgageAdvisor 2020 ©

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.

Find out more about Help To Buy

Help To Buy Mortgages