Help to Buy and low-deposit shared equity deals for first-time buyers

Developers are keeping the market rolling by offering their own low-deposit schemes to first-time buyers.
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The Budget boost for Help to Buy, extending the newbuild scheme to 2020, will let thousands more people step on to the property ladder, while a spin-off scheme allowing Armed Forces personnel to borrow up to 50 per cent of their salary comes into operation from April 1. More developers are registering projects for Help to Buy, and are even launching copycat low-deposit shared equity deals to keep the market momentum going.


From £216,000: flats at Victoria Way in Charlton, available with a five per cent deposit using an equity loan

For example, at Victoria Way, a 31-apartment project in Charlton, southeast London, where new-build schemes are rather are thin on the ground, buyers using Fairview's Easy to Buy initiative need only a five per cent deposit. Homes are priced from £216,000, with the developer offering a 20 per cent equity loan that can be repaid at any point during the next 25 years, or when the property is sold.

As with the government-backed Help to Buy equity loan, it is interest-free for the first five years, after which borrowers pay 1.75 per cent on the outstanding amount. The deal is aimed at lowerbudget local buyers, with those earning less than £55,147 a year and renting or living with relatives in Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark, Bexley and Bromley borough getting priority. Call 0800 883 8304. Connect, a redevelopment of Chingford district council's town hall, is another project where the equity mortgage deal is on offer. To register, call 0800 883 0350.

Mortgage lender Halifax reports that 57 per cent of first-time buyer transactions in Greater London are under the £250,000 stamp duty threshold, proving that lower-budget buyers are managing to fund cheaper homes despite affordability issues, though only two per cent of transactions are priced below £125,000, compared with a UK average of 45 per cent.


The exterior of New Festival Quarter, Poplar, by Bellway (0845 459 5020)

Inevitably buyers are having to extend their search to outer zones where prices are within reach, but not always to the suburbs. At East City Point, in raw but improving Canning Town between Stratford and Canary Wharf, one-bedroom flats are priced from £210,000, which through Help-to-Buy would require a £10,500 deposit and a mortgage of £157,000. Call Countryside Properties on 020 7473 1198. New Festival Quarter in nearby Poplar has studios from £249,950. Call Bellway on 0845 459 5020, from April 1.

In the Heathrow zone
Expansion of the Metropolitan Railway a century ago put Eastcote on the map as a commuter suburb. Now in Hillingdon borough, it is considered part of the "Heathrow Quarter", the west London commercial zone that feeds off the airport.

Developers are bringing something fresh to an area characterised by interwar housing. A new company, London Square, aims to use traditional garden square architecture as a building template. The latest London Square flats, in low-rise blocks around communal gardens, are 300 yards from the Tube station, served by the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines. From £249,995.

Call 0333 666 2535. Barking, one of the cheapest places in the capital to buy property, has been earmarked by the Mayor as a major growth area, which over the next 20 years could see the biggest changes since the days of Victorian industrialisation. The Thames is a mile from the town centre, meaning opportunities for Docklands-style housing. Barking Riverside is a new district in the making, with 10,800 homes on a 350-acre site, a new transport link and a mile of river frontage to be opened up to the public.

Award-winning Orchard Village is an £80 million makeover of a Sixties council estate built to accommodate Ford Dagenham workers. The new name picks up on the site's former use as a fruit farm. Green corridors through the development link open spaces within and around the site, including a new community square with grids of trees and sculptures of oversize fruits such as giant apples, cherries and strawberries. Circle Anglia housing association is working in partnership with the local council and building 555 new homes for rent, shared ownership and private sale over the next six years. Call 020 7288 4000.

Former landfill sites at Dagenham are being turned into Lymington Fields - the size of 210 football pitches, with 419 homes - while at Castle Green Park, three-bedroom terrace houses cost from £250,000. Call Countryside Properties on 07900 769752. 

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