Help to Buy is the name of a government programme in the United Kingdom that aims to help first time buyers, and those looking to move home, purchase residential property. It was announced in Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne's 2013 budget speech, and was described as "the biggest government intervention in the housing market since the Right to Buy scheme" of the 1980s. It is an extension of a previous programme called FirstBuy that was aimed solely at first-time buyers. Help to Buy has itself been expanded and extended.
Subject to restrictions, which in some cases vary by country, the types of Help to Buy scheme are:
Help to Buy: Equity Loans: Buyers contribute a 5% deposit, the government provides an equity loan for up to 20% of the property value (40% within London), and buyers must provide the remaining funds themselves, typically from a mortgage. Available only for new-build under a certain amount (e.g. less than £600,000 in England, £300,000 in Wales); the loan is interest-free for the first five years. This is the most high-profile of the schemes, and is often referred to simply as "Help to Buy". Also known as "phase one" of Help to Buy.
Help to Buy: Mortgage Guarantees: 5% deposit mortgages are available from ten different providers (up from five at the time of its launch), with the government (i.e. taxpayers) acting as a guarantor for the mortgage. Unlike equity loans, this plank of the programme is not restricted to those buying new-build; subject to restrictions, anyone wanting to buy any home in the UK worth less than £600,000 is eligible for the scheme. It is often referred to as "phase two" of Help to Buy. In September 2016, the UK Government announced that the Mortgage Guarantee scheme would not be extended for 2017.
Shared Ownership: This was already available in the UK via housing associations before the launch of Help to Buy.
New Buy: Allows buyers to purchase a newly built home with a deposit of only 5%