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Help to Buy

Find out about Help to Buy and the government’s other affordable home ownership schemes

How can the government’s affordable home ownership schemes help me?

There are several UK government schemes available to help make buying a home more affordable for first time buyers and home movers. The Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme may be the most well-known of these schemes and is now only available in Wales until 2025, but there are other options available that might better suit your home-buying needs.

We’ve covered the most popular affordable home ownership schemes here, but for more information and to find out which scheme is right for you, visit the Own Your Home government website.

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First Homes scheme: Discounts for first-time buyers

The First Homes scheme is a government incentive aimed at helping first-time buyers and key workers get onto the property ladder. It offers a discount typically around 30%, however in some cases up to 50% of the on the market price of a new-build property, making it more affordable for those just starting out.

Find out more about the First Homes scheme in our detailed guide.

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Help to Buy: Equity Loan

Although the scheme is still available in Wales until March 2025, the Help to Buy scheme officially ended for the rest of the UK on 31 March 2023.

Under the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme, buyers in Wales can purchase a newly built home with a 5% deposit by taking out an equity loan of up to 20% of the property purchase price from the government.

Terms and conditions apply. Applicants should seek independent financial advice, and get information and guidance on applying for a Help to Buy: Equity Loan at

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Shared Ownership

With Shared Ownership, if you can’t afford the deposit and mortgage needed to buy 100% of a property, you can purchase between 10% to 75% of its value and pay rent to the housing provider on the remaining portion. If you want to eventually own a larger share in your home, you can ‘staircase’ by purchasing more equity, starting from a minimum value of 5%. It’s therefore possible to eventually own 100% of your property.

The property doesn’t have to be newly built either. You can also buy resale properties through housing associations via the Shared Ownership scheme.


Lifetime ISA

The Lifetime ISA is an option for first time buyers. You can open a Lifetime ISA from the age of 18 but must be under 40 and you can save in your Lifetime ISA until you’re 50. The maximum that you can save in a Lifetime ISA is £4,000 a year and the government will add a 25% bonus to your savings up to a maximum of £1,000 a year.

You can then use the money you’ve saved in your Lifetime ISA towards the deposit on your first home which you must buy with a mortgage and must not exceed the value of £450,000.


The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme

The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme supports lenders to offer more 95% loan-to-value mortgage products by supporting them with a government-backed guarantee. This means that buyers who have a 5% deposit can access more 95% mortgage products to enable them to purchase a property.

You can use the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme whether you’re a first time buyer or home mover for properties costing a maximum of £600,000 where you’re taking out a 95% mortgage. This scheme runs until 31st December 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions