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Help to Buy, Shared Ownership and Key Worker Housing
What is Help to Buy?
Help to Buy (previously known as HomeBuy) is a government initiative that provides a 'one-stop shop' service to assist eligible individuals and families find affordable housing. The initiative provides information on a range of schemes that are available to people who may not be able to buy a home on the open market.
If you can't afford to buy your first home, Help to Buy can assist. You may be a first-time buyer who has been priced out of where you want to live, or be unable to raise the necessary deposit to buy a property outright. Whatever the reason - if you need help to buy your first home, this initiative can give you the chance to get onto the property ladder. In Elmbridge, Help to Buy also includes discounted rental options for those who are eligible.
Help to Buy Agents
The government has appointed a number of agents across England to administer Help to Buy. These agents are professional not-for-profit organisations that specialise in providing affordable homeownership opportunities.
|Catalyst Housing is the appointed Help to Buy Agent for Surrey. The service is essentially a "one-stop-shop" service for government supported home ownership and rental opportunities that exist in Surrey. By registering with Catalyst HomeBuy, individuals are assessed to identify the schemes they are eligible for. They also work with a number of organisations including housing associations, private developers and local authorities to ensure customers are kept informed about all the opportunities available to them.
Also, Catalyst organises regular home ownership shows. At these events, housing providers attend and give information on opportunities that they currently have available. Independent financial advisers and solicitors provide affordability assessments and offer advice free of charge. The home ownership show is a great opportunity to find out more information and have queries answered face to face. Entry to these shows is free so visit Catalyst's website for the latest dates.
What is available under Help to Buy?
There are a number of different scheme types that are offered under the Help to Buy initiative. Depending on your individual circumstances you may find that one or more of these are available to you. For more detailed information about Help to Buy, your options or if you are eligible, you can view Catalyst's |Help to Buy Booklet.
If you live or work in Elmbridge and are looking to buy a home of your own but need some financial support to do so, then you could be eligible to access up to £70,000 in the form of a low interest loan to help you onto the property ladder.
The Elmbridge Borough Council |Homeownership Assistance Scheme has been established by Elmbridge Council and Catalyst Housing. Applications from housing association tenants living in Elmbridge will be prioritised as this will free up much-needed homes for rent, with other applications processed on a first-come, first-served basis, as there are limited funds available.
To register your interest, call Catalyst HomeBuy on 0845 601 7729 or e-mail: email@example.com.
Shared ownership schemes
Shared ownership is a part-buy/part-rent scheme that enables the purchaser to buy a percentage of a newly built or resale property, usually from a housing association, and pay rent on the remaining percentage.
Help to Buy Shared ownership - New build
Under this scheme, you need to purchase the maximum share that you can afford, which is normally a share of between 25% to 75% of the full market value. The combined monthly cost of your rent and your mortgage will usually be less than buying the property outright.
After one year of ownership, you are able to buy additional shares in increments of 10%, until you own 100% of your home. This process is called 'Staircasing'.
Shared ownership is especially appealing if you are unable to:
- Raise a sufficient deposit to allow a mortgage to be approved.
- Obtain an adequate mortgage approval to purchase a property outright even if you have a healthy deposit.
Priority on all new shared-ownership schemes developed in Elmbridge is given to households who live or work in Elmbridge and anybody interested in purchasing one of these shared-ownership homes will need to be registered with, and assessed as eligible for Help to Buy by Catalyst.
There are several sites in the borough where new shared-ownership homes are available in Spring 2014, including:
Molesey Road - Hersham
A2Dominion, in partnership with Elmbridge Borough Council is pleased to offer a mix of six one and two bedroom shared-ownership apartments for sale at Molesey Road, Hersham. These one and two bedroom apartments are available for sale on a shared ownership basis. Prices range from £64,750 for a one bedroom apartment and from £78,750 for two bedroom apartment based on a 35% share with a subsidised rent charged on the share retained by A2Dominion, along with a service charge.
The properties are expected to be completed and ready for occupation by Spring 2014. As at 15 January 2014, only two 1-bed properties were still available. For more information you can view a |brochure and the |price list or contact the |A2Dominion Homeownership team.
Priority is given to applicants who live or work within Elmbridge, but others will be considered, so long as they are eligible for Help to Buy and registered with |Catalyst.
Railton Place, Railton Close, Weybridge
Railton Place is a development of 48 affordable new homes, 24 of which are one and two bedroom apartments available on a shared-ownership basis. Paragon Community Housing Group is building the development and it is due to be ready for occupation in Spring 2014. As at 5 March 2014, Paragon had just one remaining two-bedroom apartment available for purchase. A 35% share is avaialble for £93,450, based on the full market value of £267,000, with a subsidised rent chargeed on the share retained by Paragon, along with a monthly service charge. For more information you can view a |brochure and |price list or for more details please contact the Paragon Sales Department on 01932 235801 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit |Paragon's website.
Shared Ownership - Resales
Resales are shared ownership homes that become available when existing 'shared owners' wish to sell their stake in the property they currently own. This is normally as a result of them moving up the property ladder due to a change in circumstances. The share that can be purchased and the rent payable will differ from one property to another, as a result of differences in the percentage initially purchased and any staircasing activity that has occurred.
Re-sale properties in Elmbridge and the rest of Surrey are advertised on |Catalyst's website.
Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme
Help to Buy equity loan is the latest homeownership scheme aimed at helping all home buyers across England to purchase a new build home with the assistance of low-deposit mortgages.
You will need to buy a newly built home from a participating registered developer, whether you are a first-time buyer or an existing homeowner. Unlike previous schemes, there is no upper income cap for buyers. The government will give you an equity loan of up to 20% of the full value of a new build home. The remaining purchase price of at least 80% will need to be funded by a mortgage (including the 5% deposit). There is no interest to pay on this equity loan for the first five years. Once you have found a home available through this scheme, please visit |Catalyst's Website to complete a Property Information Form to start the application process.
Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme
The Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme can help you buy a newly built home or an existing property with a deposit of as little as 5%. This scheme is not administered via Help to Buy Agents, you must contact participating lenders directly for more information.
The scheme works by offering lenders the option to purchase a guarantee on mortgages where a borrower has a deposit of between 5% and 20%. To qualify for this scheme, you must pass lender affordability checks and have no history of difficulties in meeting debt payments.
In order for your mortgage to be eligible for the mortgage guarantee scheme:
- it must be a residential mortgage, so you will be planning to live in your house and not rent it out;
- the property you want to buy must be in the UK and the purchase value must be £600,000 or less;
- the mortgage must be taken out on a repayment basis, rather than interest-only;
- the mortgage must be to buy your only property, so you cannot have an interest in any property, anywhere in the world; and
- the mortgage cannot be for a shared equity or shared ownership purchase.
You can apply for a mortgage guarantee through a participating mortgage provider. The following lenders are currently participating in the scheme:
- Bank of Scotland
Contact a participating mortgage provider directly for more information about how you can benefit from the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme.
Discounted Rental Options
Rented Homes for Key Workers
This option offers properties to rent on assured-shorthold tenancies at rents which are no more than 80% of open-market rents. All the intermediate rented schemes currently in Elmbridge are restricted to key-workers and the properties are owned and managed by housing associations
Key Workers are those who work in certain public sector jobs such as teachers, police, NHS staff, fire fighters etc. who may be eligible for discounted rented accommodation. If you are a key worker looking for accommodation, you much check that you meet the Homes and Communities Agency's definition of a keyworker, the full details of which are available from Catalyst before you apply for housing. You must then register with Catalyst.
Paragon Community Housing Group provides rented homes for key-workers in eight schemes in Elmbridge, more details on each of these is available from |Paragon's Website. Vacancies are advertised as they arise on Catalyst's website.
Am I eligible?
If you are finding it difficult to get on to the property ladder or to find a suitable private rental solution, why not look at Help to Buy home ownership or rented options to see if you are eligible.
Please note that you do not have to be on Elmbridge Borough Council's Housing Register to be considered for any of the schemes listed.
Help to Buy Shared Ownership
- Your annual household income must not exceed £60,000
- In most circumstances you must not have been in rent arrears over the last 12 months. Due to standard mortgage evaluation checks, it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase a property if you have a low credit rating
- Your name, or the name of any joint registrant, must not currently be on the deeds of another property either in the United Kingdom or overseas.
Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme
- Open to all home buyers, not just first-time buyers
- There is no household income limit
- You can purchase a new-build property with a maximum value of up to £600,000
- You will need a minimum 5% deposit to qualify
- You will need to have appropriate checks to make sure you can repay the mortgage, as well passing your chosen mortgage lender's credit and affordability assessments
- The property purchased must be your only residence - you cannot use this scheme for Buy to Let investments.
Visit |Catalyst's website to find out which developers are building in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire (including Milton Keynes), Oxford and Surrey. The government has prioritised the following four groups under this initiative:
Existing Social Tenants
Tenants who currently live in a council or housing association property on an 'assured shorthold tenancy' basis or in an 'affordable rent' property.
Ministry of Defence (MoD) Personnel
Specific categories of staff employed by the Ministry of Defence as specified by the government's Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Please visit Catalyst's Website for more information.
Some local authorities may specify individuals or groups that they want to prioritise in their area.
Individuals and families who want to get onto the property ladder.
Other Priority Considerations
A number of other eligible groups as specified by individual local authorities, may be considered for Help to Buy options on a case by case basis. These include people who may be experiencing a major change in circumstances such as:
- Overcrowding of an existing property due to a new family addition
- A forced sale, e.g. divorce/separation
- Needing to care for a sick relative.
If you have any questions about your eligibility for the Help to Buy initiative, please call the Catalyst HomeBuy team on 0845 601 7729.
How to register with Catalyst HomeBuy?
Visit Catalyst's website to register online or you can call 0845 601 7729 for a registration pack to be sent to you. You will be notified within four working days confirming whether you are eligible or not for the initiative. Please note for the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, once you have found your property, you can download the Property Information Form from |Catalyst's website