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First-time buyers turn to schemes

Almost half of would-be first-time buyers are considering turning to affordable housing schemes to ease their struggle on to the property ladder, research has found.

Some 46% of people trying to buy their first home said they are thinking about using a shared equity or a shared ownership scheme to help them to make the jump, Lloyds TSB found.

One in six would-be home buyers said they would not have previously considered such a scheme, but the tough economy has forced them to reconsider. A quarter of people considering using an affordable housing scheme said this would be their only way of buying a home.

Shared ownership schemes allow people to only raise a deposit and pay a mortgage on the share of the house they are purchasing, which could be between 25-75% of its value, while paying a subsidised rent on the percentage they do not own.

An equity loan such as the FirstBuy scheme lets someone buy a new-build home with 80% of the cost met by a mortgage and a deposit, while the rest is paid by the Government and house builders, which take a share of the value when the home is sold on.

Research from property search website Rightmove found this week that only a quarter of people planning to buy a home next year will be first-time buyers - a share which is still well below pre-credit crunch levels of around 40%.

Almost a quarter (22%) of these buyers will have raised a deposit of less than 10% by the time they try to make a purchase, meaning their range of mortgage options and their access to the most competitive deals will be limited.

The Government launched an £80 billion scheme to kick-start lending at the start of August, which has improved mortgage availability, although lenders have also toughened their borrowing criteria, making it harder for people to take out a mortgage.

A NewBuy scheme was launched in the spring, which is not a shared equity or shared ownership scheme but allows people buy a new-build home with just a 5% deposit. The initiative is funded by developers and guaranteed by the Government.

One in four people who told Lloyds TSB they were thinking about using an affordable housing scheme said their main motivation was to make their monthly repayments lower and a quarter also said that this would allow them to buy a home in an area that would otherwise be out of their reach.


From Belfast Telegraph