According to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), last year the average property price paid by buyers across the whole of England and Wales increased to six times the average salary, this is compared to four times the average earnings as recorded in 2002. House prices have reached over 10 times locals’ average earnings in 122 local authorities. Unsurprisingly, therefore many first time buyers need help.
You will need to have done some serious saving in order to get onto the housing ladder. You will need the deposit for a mortgage (between 5% and 10% of the purchase price generally). The ‘up-front’ costs; the solicitors fees, the mortgage arrangement fee and mortgage valuation fee, and the actual removers costs if
you need them.
Family Helping First Time Buyers
Your parents can help you get on the property ladder without having to actually hand over cash. Some lenders will take their savings into consideration when you make your mortgage application, but the money still stays in their name. As this gives the lender greater security, you’ll be able to get a better mortgage rate.
Speak to a fee-free independent mortgage broker for advice on this type of deal. They will be able to recommend the best mortgage for you and will also be able to help you with your application.
The Help to Buy ISA
A savings account designed to help first-time buyers build a deposit. You can save up to £1,200 in the first month, and then £200 a month after that, and the government will top up any contributions you make by 25%.
That means for every £100 you pay in, it will pay in another £25, but the maximum the government will contribute in total is £3,000. The Help to Buy ISA can be used for any property costing under £250,000, or under £450,000 if you are buying in London. However, the downside of this scheme is that the government bonus only becomes available upon completion when you take formal possession of the property, and not when contracts are exchanged.
Another Government Scheme is called Lifetime ISA or LISA:
As long as you’re aged between 18 and 39, you’ll be able to open a LISA and save up to £4,000 a year either to buy a property, or for retirement, or both. Your contributions will be supplemented by a government bonus of 25%, up to a maximum of £1,000 a year. Funds held in a LISA can be used after 12 months to buy a first home valued up to £450,000.
You’ll be able to have both a LISA and a Help to Buy ISA if you want, but you can only use the bonus from one of them towards buying a house.
Monitoring your Credit Score
When you apply for a mortgage, lenders will look at your credit history to see how you have managed any borrowing in the past. They will use this information to decide whether or not to offer you a mortgage, so it’s really important that you look at ways you can improve it first, including making sure you always make debt
repayments on time, and shutting down credit card accounts you no longer use.
You can get hold of a copy of your credit report from one of the credit reference agencies – Experian, Equifax or CallCredit. Check to see the information they hold on you is correct. If you’ve never borrowed before, it’s a good idea to take out a credit card and pay off the balance in full each month, so you can prove to lenders that you’ve got a track record of successfully repaying debts.
Even not being on the electoral register can affect your credit score, so make sure you are on it. If you aren’t, you can sign up online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Help to Buy Scheme For First Time Buyers
The ‘equity loan’ part, involves you putting in a 5% deposit, and the government loaning you 20% free of interest for the first five years. If you live in London, you can get a loan for up to 40% of the property value. This part of the Help to Buy scheme is available until 31st March 2021 and is only available if you are buying a new build property costing up to £600,000.
Alternatively, you might qualify for a shared ownership scheme, whereby you buy a share of your home and pay rent on the remaining part to a housing association. Your household must earn £60,000 or less to qualify, or £71,000 a year or less if you’re living in the capital and buying a one or two-bedroom property.