How Help To Buy scheme can get you in your first home
Three major banks are launching new mortgages which will give Lincolnshire house-hunters a first foot on the property ladder.
The Government's expanded Help To Buy scheme, first unveiled in April, is being brought forward by three months.
And the new initiative will take advantage of the growth in the property market reported nationally and locally across the county.
Help To Buy is designed to return to the days when buyers who could only afford a small deposit were able to buy a home of their own.
This week, the Halifax, RBS and NatWest are taking mortgage applications under the new scheme.
And Virgin Money has indicated that it will definitely join in January next year.
RBS and NatWest will both offer a two-year, fixed-rate mortgage starting at 4.99 per cent.
And the Halifax will be taking on applications in a few days.
A number of other lenders have already expressed an interest in joining the Help To Buy initiative.
The scheme is starting ahead of its original schedule after surveyors reported that their sales levels are at their highest for nearly four years.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said a large majority of surveyors were expecting house prices to rise.
Phase one of Help To Buy, which started in April this year, allowed buyers of new homes to qualify for a 20 per cent equity loan from the Government to 'top up' their own five per cent deposits.
Now, under the second phase, buyers only need to provide a small deposit.
The Government is offering 15 per cent of the total loan to encourage the bank or building societies.
Lenders will also have to pay a fee as part of their monthly payments.
Help To Buy is now available for first-time buyers and movers aiming to buy properties valued at up to £600,000.
For example, a deposit of around £10,000 will be required for a £200,000 purchase.
Lincoln-based Newton Fallowell estate agents' director Rebecca Hoyles has welcomed Help To Buy.
"I think it's excellent because the property market has been tough for first-time buyers and people living in starter homes for the past five years," she said.
"There's been so much uncertainty and potential vendors haven't moved on because they have thought that their house was worth more than its market value.
"But there will still be checks to make certain that people will be able to manage these new mortgages over the long term."
Simon Smith, residential partner at JH Walter in the city, remains guarded on Help To Buy.
"In principle, it's a great idea - but the devil will be in the detail," he said.
"It will be great for first-time buyers. But my concern is that it's open to everyone and needs a structure in place to avoid potential abuse of the system."