Government launches Help to Build Scheme

The government has announced a new £150 million ‘Help to Build’ scheme, which is intended to make it easier and more affordable for people to build their own homes. The scheme is also intended to support builders, as part of the government’s Plan for Jobs.

On the 24th April 2021, the housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, announced the new scheme for self and custom build homes. In his announcement, Jenrick described the scheme as a way of making ‘building your own home’ ‘easier and more affordable’ so that it becomes a ‘mainstream, realistic and affordable option for people across the country’. He also made it clear that the scheme is intended to support the government’s ongoing commitment to helping people enter the property market, through his comment: ‘Our plans will help get more people onto the housing ladder, ensure homes suit people’s needs like home working or caring for relatives, whilst providing an important boost to small builders and businesses too.’

The scheme is intended to mimic the successful Help to Buy equity loan scheme, by lowering the deposit buyers require for a custom or self-build mortgage. As the government have noted repeatedly in recent months, the deposit is often a significant barrier to buyers looking to enter the market. So, lowering the deposit needed should allow more people to access this route to home ownership. The Help to Build scheme may also fill a gap for existing homeowners, who are excluded from the current Help to Buy equity loan scheme.

This announcement follows the launch of the 95% LTV government backed guarantee scheme rolled out in April, which mostly excluded new builds. So, the news that this latest scheme will include custom build or ‘made to order’ homes, as well as completely self-built homes, means that larger-scale home builders will not be excluded from the benefits.

As part of the launch, the Prime Minister has commission Richard Bacon, MP and ambassador of the Right to Build taskforce, to lead a review on the delivery of custom and self-build homes, focusing on how the government can scale up delivery. This review will feedback the findings and recommendations in the summer, so we are likely to see more plans and changes announced in the coming months.

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