When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Help to buy ISA and government help to buy scheme

The government’s Help to Buy initiatives included access to mortgages for those people who only have a 5% mortgage and a savings bonus scheme for people saving for a deposit on their first home. While the ISA is still available, the mortgage guarantee scheme closed to new applicants in 2016.

Help to buy scheme

This scheme intends to make it easier for people who only have a 5% deposit to buy a house.  The government offers a guarantee to lenders that they will insure 15% of the value of the mortgage if the home buyer fails to pay and the property is repossessed. This mortgage guarantee scheme closed to new applicants in December 2016, but many lenders continue to provide 95% mortgages. A 95% mortgage will normally have much higher interest rates and can also be a risky prospect as the borrower could end up owing more than the property is worth if the value of their home falls even slightly.  It may be worth thinking about finding a more affordable home or trying to save a larger deposit before you commit to buying a property. 

Help to buy ISA

First-time buyers will be able to open a Help to Buy ISA to save towards a deposit.  If you save in this type of account, you could be entitled to a tax-free bonus payment from government when you buy a home.  The maximum bonus paid for each account is £3000 and you can only open one account.  

If you have a partner, your partner can open his or her own account and will also be entitled to the bonus payment, meaning that a couple could get a bonus payment of £6000 to put towards the cost of their first home. The bonus will be paid once the sale completes, so while the bonus payment can be used to clear some of the money you owe on the property, it cannot be used to boost your deposit. 

Getting financial advice

It's important to get trustworthy, independent financial advice if you are thinking about buying somewhere to live. This is a huge financial commitment and may not be the most suitable housing option for you.