Here at enact conveyancing, we’ve always got our ears to the ground listening out for new schemes or incentives to help support first-time buyers getting onto the property. A new scheme, Save To Buy, aimed as a replacement to the previous Help To Buy: Equity Loan is the first of its kind in the UK.
The scheme, which launched in January 2023, has been set up by property developer Fairview New Homes.
Amid the cost of living crisis and covid pandemic, those that have been renting have faced record-high increases, meaning it’s been increasingly difficult for them to get onto the property ladder. The scheme looks to turn that around and offer buyers a unique solution to buying their first home.
What is Save To Buy?
In a nutshell, Save to Buy allows first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder with just a 1% deposit. Buyers will move into the property and pay a fixed monthly cost, 100% of which will go towards making up the rest of the deposit instead of the money being wasted on rent.
When you are within one month of reaching your required deposit amount, you will submit a mortgage application form to buy the property.
The scheme has started on a small scale at selected plots of one, two and three-bed apartments in Epping, Essex with a second development in London to follow later this year.
Christopher Hood, sales and marketing director at Fairview, said: “We’re bringing forward the opportunity to own a home for our customers.
“Those who thought home ownership was out of reach, because of the rental trap they found themselves in, can finally have the breathing space to save.”
Who is eligible?
To qualify for the scheme you must meet the below criteria:
- Be a first-time buyer
- In employment
- The property will be your only residence
- You’ve been qualified by a recommended financial advisor
How does the scheme work?
The new-build properties in the scheme range from £330,000 to £500,000; prospective buyers only need to show that they have 1 per cent of the deposit saved currently to qualify.
Fairview outlines buyers’ applications will be reviewed by the financial advisors at Torc24 who will outline what deposit and income may be required to progress. They will request related documents and undertake a credit check to verify eligibility.
If approved for the scheme, buyers will complete a reservation form and exchange contracts with just a 1% deposit.
It’s worth noting that each Save to Buy agreement will be different, as the amount is based on each individual’s finances and the average local monthly rent.
The Financial Times reported, for example, someone who is £9,000 short of a deposit could pay £1,500 a month for six months and then progress with the mortgage application process – which does not have to be completed with Torc24.
Fairview anticipates buyers will take on average 6 to 12 months to save the rest of the deposit required to buy the property, however, the scheme could be available for up to 2 years if needed.
Save to Buy will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and subject to the availability of selected plots. If there are no Save to Buy designated plots available, the scheme will not be open for applications. The scheme will finish in December 2023.
What other schemes are there?
Aside from the Save to Buy scheme there are several alternative options for both first-time buyers as well as existing homeowners:
- ‘First Homes’ scheme: If you’re a first-time buyer – under the ‘first homes scheme’ you could buy a property for 30% – 50% less than the market value. Only available in England, the property can either be a new-build from a developer or a home you buy from someone else who originally bought it as part of the scheme.
- Deposit Unlock: Set up collaboratively between lenders and the home building industry this scheme offers first-time buyers as well as existing homeowners the opportunity to buy a new-build property with a 5% deposit. The rest of the 95% mortgage is available from a select few lenders.
- 95% Mortgage Guarantee: Similar to the Deposit Unlock scheme, the Mortgage Guarantee scheme was set up in the first year of the pandemic after many lenders withdrew their 5% deposit mortgage products. To help stimulate the market and support those with smaller deposits the government introduced the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme. Again, this is available to first-time buyers as well as existing owners, yet isn’t limited to new-build properties.
- Lifetime ISA (LISA): While the other schemes help towards the immediate purchase of a property, the LISA scheme is a long-term savings product intended to support younger people in saving for their first home, or for later life. Applicants can save up to £4,000 each year, while the government will contribute a further 25% of each new payment.
It’s always important to speak to a mortgage advisor if you’re thinking of buying a property. They can advise you on the financial aspects of buying a property; from understanding how much of a deposit you need to save, to what you can afford to borrow from a mortgage lender etc.
Save to Buy is a unique and innovative scheme not seen in the UK’s housing market before. It will be interesting to see what uptake the scheme has and whether or not it’s rolled out to further development at Fairview or if any other housebuilders launch something similar across their developments. With the scheme set to close by December 2023, we’ll be keeping an eye out for any further updates ahead of the end of the year.
If you’re looking to buy a property, don’t forget to use a licensed conveyancer when moving house – they will take care of all the legal aspects of your transaction so that you can focus on settling into your new home. Get a free, instant quote from enact conveyancing today.