‘Low deposit schemes vital following the end of Help to Buy’

Shared ownership and other low deposit schemes are crucial for the health of the sector now Help to Buy has ended, brokerage Just Mortgages has urged.

The government scheme came to an end at the close of March, having helped more than 350,000 people buy their own home since its launch in 2013, the majority of which were first-time buyers.

John Doughty, financial services director at Just Mortgages new build division, said: “There’s no question Help to Buy has been a success on all fronts. Now it has concluded, all sectors must join together to help elevate the profile of the fantastic schemes still available for first-time buyers, those with smaller deposits or individuals returning to the market after a separation or divorce.

“In truth, the likes of shared ownership have long been a viable alternative, especially since the government changed Help to Buy to include regional price caps. This effectively made it less accessible to a number of buyers.

“As it continued to wind down, we saw more enquiries and interest in shared ownership with 2022 being our busiest year. This clear demand for low deposit alternatives has continued into 2023, especially as both First Homes and Deposit Unlock have continued to expand.

“A joined up approach behind these schemes will help highlight the opportunities available for those facing tougher affordability challenges. With housebuilding already feeling the impact of losing Help to Buy – especially in a higher interest environment, a concerted effort by all parties will ensure more properties are available, helping to fuel new-build demand in the process.

“With developers working collaboratively with lenders, housing associations, scheme providers and brokers, we will continue to see more homes built and more opportunities to unlock potential buyers.”

Government figures show that 19,386 new shared ownership properties were delivered in 2021-22, a 14% increase on the year before.

This is the highest number since records began back in 2014-15. Of those 19,386 homes delivered, 18,751 were new build.

Maximising the opportunities of low deposit schemes will be a key topic at Just Mortgages’ upcoming New Build and Affordable Housing event, taking place at St. Mary’s Church in Marylebone, London on Wednesday, 19th April 2023.