Clearly it’s too soon to gauge the success of Help to Buy and whether it will be, or indeed already has been, the catalyst to recovery that developers are heralding. What is true is that alongside previous mortgage schemes like First Buy and NewBuy, Help to Buy is providing much needed opportunities not only for buyers of new build property but also mortgage advisers who can play a key role in decoding their complexity.
With so many schemes available and commented on in the press, buyers, especially those purchasing a property for the first time, could be forgiven for being a little confused.
Advisers now have a key role to play in helping buyers make sense of what’s available to them and the costs involved. What, for example, will the buyer have to pay in interest on the government’s equity loan after the first five years? What eligibility criteria will the buyer have to fulfil to qualify for a scheme and what value of property should they aim for?
If they do not have access to Help to Buy, are there other options available such as shared ownership? Mortgage advisers must be able to provide information on the range of schemes in order to truly add value and help the customer in what is an ever changing housing market.
As we look forward to when Help to Buy will be available not only on new build homes but also second hand, we can only hope that the next phase of this scheme starts as successfully as the first.
Although it is impossible to speculate on what will happen when Help to Buy is opened up to second hand market, as advisers we must be prepared to guide home buyers through the complexities so these government schemes help as many buyers as possible.
Adrian Scott is mortgage services director at Connells Group