Budget 2012: Chancellor champions help for first-time buyers

Help for first time buyers

Help for first time buyersClimbing on to the property ladder is a real struggle, but Chancellor George Osborne has offered some respite, using his Budget to push a scheme to help first-time buyers.

What is the NewBuy scheme?

The NewBuy scheme was launched to help young families across England buy a new-build home, by significantly reducing the deposit to 10% or 5% rather than the 20% usually demanded by mortgage providers.

Under the scheme, the Government guarantees 5.5% of the purchase price of a home, and developers contribute a further 3.5%.

Keith Osborne of whathouse.co.uk is among the supporters of the programme, saying the scheme is “sure to help” large numbers of families looking to buy homes.

Meanwhile, another expert described it as a “massive step in the right direction” as the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers draws to a close at the weekend.

People who have saved a 5% deposit on a home in England worth up to £500,000 qualify for the scheme. However, 5% is still a heck of a lot of cash for most families.

New ISA allowances

Thankfully, next month will also see new ISA allowances introduced, offering a boost to people who want to build a nest egg, tax-free. The amount people can put away in a stocks and shares ISA will rise from £10,680 to £11,280, while up to half of this (£5,640) can be saved in a cash ISA.

But many would-be home buyers may be disappointed by the Chancellor’s decision to ignore calls to double the amount people can save into a cash ISA.

Annie Shaw, director of CashQuestions.com, suggested that a cash ISA is a better savings option for people looking to buy a home soon. But she urged families to shop around for the best rates available, saying banks and building societies will likely have deals and offers.

NewBuy scheme – pitfalls

She said that although the NewBuy scheme will help people with a small deposit to buy a home, there are potential pitfalls. She suggested that new-build properties are difficult to price and therefore there is a chance people could end up overpaying.

Help onto the property ladder

However, many property experts are behind the scheme, with Daniel Byrne, director at Bernards Estate Agents, saying the lower deposits offer a “light at the end of the tunnel”. He said that previously people were having to find deposits of £15,000 to £20,000, whereas the new scheme allows them to “get on the ladder for £10,000”.

Mr Byrne said: “The main issue since late 2007 has been how hard it has been to get on the ladder. Now with this scheme young families only need a deposit of between five and 10%. Parents are always helping out first-time buyers or young families and this halves the burden on the parents as well.”

Keith Osborne said first-time buyers will have a greater number of homes to choose from thanks to NewBuy, suggesting the number of available mortgages will grow as more lenders and housebuilders climb aboard.

The Chancellor also introduced plans to expand the Building Fund in his Budget, to provide extra finance to companies constructing new-build homes.

Stamp duty rate

Meanwhile, property experts have criticised the decision to set a stamp duty rate of 7% on homes costing £2 million or more. Estate agents claimed the move could affect all homeowners and buyers by causing the market to slow down in areas which have been key to supporting prices, such as London.

For more information on NewBuy visit Newbuy.org.uk

Other impacts of the Budget 2012:

Budget 2012: Child benefit changes are softened

Budget 2012: Tax changes – will you benefit?

Budget 2012: Misery for millions of motorists

Budget 2012: Case studies – meet the winners and losers