NewBuy (newbuy.org.uk) aims to get 100,000 buyers on the property ladder and give the construction industry a boost by offering 95 per cent mortgages to buyers, a boon for young Londoners in particular who typically have to find deposits of up to £100,000.
To date, more than 3,000 people have bought using the scheme and the take-up is soaring. When launched last year, there were just seven participating builders and three lenders. Now there are 60 builders and six lenders, and the interest rates on offer are lower than ever, less than four per cent.
NewBuy homes are aimed at the ‘squeezed middle’ - people who fail to qualify for shared ownership because their income is too high, but who cannot afford to buy outright because they have insufficient savings for a deposit.
Only brand new properties, up to the value of £500,000, including flats in converted commercial buildings, are covered by NewBuy. The builder pays 3.5 per cent of the sale price into a special account held by the lender for seven years. The government guarantees another 5.5 per cent but this money is called upon only in the event of a property crash or if there is a loss arising from repossession.
Mildmay in Islington is the most central of the NewBuy developments, located in an up-and-coming district sandwiched between the regeneration zones of King’s Cross and Shoreditch.
The handsome low-rise scheme has 136 apartments around a quadrangle-style courtyard. The crisp and clean-lined architecture has brick, cedar and zinc finishes, while eco-friendly features include brown roofs (for extra insulation and wildlife diversity) and a communal heating system to reduce fuel bills. There is a car club too.
Ranging from studios to three bedroom-flats, there are 21 property types/layouts, with either a balcony, small secluded garden or patio. Prices start at £235,000.