Monday, 30 September 2013

Help to Buy (England)

In a further development in the Help to Buy debate David Cameron has announced that, as the Conservative party conference gathers in Manchester, the state-backed lenders, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, have signed up to the Help to Buy (England) scheme and that the launch date has been brought forward from January.

The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme follows the smaller Help to Buy equity loan scheme which began in April.

Help-to-Buy will initially be available under the NatWest, RBS and Halifax brands but a Tory spokesman said that other banks are expected to take part over time.

The scheme will help people buy any home worth up to £600,000 with just a 5pc deposit.  The Government will guarantee the next 15pc of the loan for a fee, reducing the banks' potential losses so they can offer cheaper mortgages to higher-risk customers who are currently locked out of the market.
The deal will be available for £12bn of guarantees on up to £130bn of mortgages and remain open for three years.

The Help to Buy scheme is proving more controversial in England with concerns being expressed that the scheme risks inflating a housing bubble particularly in London and the South East and exacerbates affordability issues.

Help to Buy (Scotland)

From today, Monday 30 September, the Help to Buy (Scotland) shared equity scheme is open to all first time buyers and existing homeowners buying a new build home from participating home builders.

The Scottish Government are to allocate £220 million over three years for the Help to Buy (Scotland) shared equity scheme to provide financial support to make buying a home easier.
The Scottish Government will provide help to eligible buyers of up to 20% of the purchase price of a new build home from a participating home builder.  An eligible buyer will be expected to contribute a minimum of 80% of the cost of the new build home. The shared equity scheme will apply to homes worth up to £400,000 in Scotland.  The home must be a buyer’s only residence and they will be expected to sell any existing home before they purchase a new home under the scheme. 
The scheme is backed by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and house building industry body, Homes for Scotland, who have worked closely with the Scottish Government to develop a scheme suitable for Scotland.
The progress of the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme will be monitored by a group including Council of Mortgage Lenders and Homes for Scotland.
It is hoped that the scheme, together with last week’s announcement on the extra time being allocated before Building Regulations energy changes are introduced, will give the Scottish construction industry a major confidence boost as well as the certainty it needs to plan investment.

A full list of participating home builders and information for prospective buyers is available form the Scottish Government website.

Building Regulations Scotland, Energy Standards

The Scottish Government have made an announcement regarding the next set of energy standards within Scottish building regulations.  The Minister for Planning, Derek Mackay, has advised that the revised standards, to be introduced from October 2015, will deliver a 21% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from new homes and a 43% reduction in emissions from new non-domestic buildings.

The revisions have been deferred until October 2015 to enable industry and government to use the additional time in support of successful delivery of the new standards.

The deferral has already been welcomed by some within the industry.  Philip Hogg, Chief Executive of Homes for Scotland said:

“With the Scottish home building industry still striving to overcome the severe impact of the economic downturn, our members will welcome the additional time that has been given before the change in energy standards.”

"This will provide some much needed assistance to engendering a sustainable recovery.”