Buying with a low deposit: UK’s biggest lender launches 5% mortgage for new build houses

·3-min read
Alms Gate: one of the few London houses that would qualify for Halifax’s new 95% mortgage is this one-bedroom terraced conversion in Lewisham from Kingsbury Stone, 020 3858 2644 (Rightmove)
Alms Gate: one of the few London houses that would qualify for Halifax’s new 95% mortgage is this one-bedroom terraced conversion in Lewisham from Kingsbury Stone, 020 3858 2644 (Rightmove)

The UK’s biggest lender has unveiled a 95 per cent mortgage which can be used to buy a new build house.

With only months to go until the Government’s Help to Buy scheme — which has given more than 350,000 households a leg up onto the property ladder with a five per cent deposit — is wound up, lenders are looking for alternative ways to help buyers with small deposits on to the housing ladder.

From July 1 Halifax will increase the maximum loan to value on new houses from 90 to 95 per cent, and extend its availability to include houses built by smaller developers.

Shared ownership properties will also be eligible. This means that buyers will need a five, rather than a ten per cent deposit.

“We recognise that getting a deposit together is still the biggest hurdle faced by most first-time buyers,” said Andrew Asaam, mortgage director, at Halifax.

“This also underlines our confidence in the new build market and our support for the UK construction industry. Supporting new build homes supports the drive to net zero by making warmer, greener homes more accessible and attainable for potentially thousands of new buyers.”

Who is the new 95% mortgage for?

For Londoners, however, the move is of limited appeal right now because the price cap for the new deal has been set at £570,000. And the scheme only applies to houses, not flats.

According to Rightmove there are less than a dozen newly built houses available within that price bracket in the capital.

It will be more relevant to those considering moving out and commuting.

In Hertfordshire, for example, Rightmove has around 100 options for buyers, while in Kent there are some 400 options.

Despite this major shortcoming Ray Boulger senior technical director at John Charcol, still feels the news is “important and significant”.

“Traditionally lenders have required a bigger deposit for new build homes because normally they expect prices to drop once, like with a new car, they are driven off the forecourt,” he explained.

“An important question here is: “Why now?” and I think that is down to the Government’s green agenda. Lenders are required to have a certain percentage of properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C or above by 2027 and most new build homes are above an EPC C.”

Now that Halifax has acted Boulger expects other lenders will reassess their own policies. “I suspect that once a lender has changed their criterial … [on lending on new build houses] … may will then decide to go the whole hog and change it for flats too.”

While the new deposit rules will be good news for buyers who lack savings and cannot fall back on the bank of mum and dad to raise a deposit, the new deal will only be a real help to buyers on high incomes.

Halifax will offer a maximum of 4.49 per cent times a buyers’ income. So, to buy a £400,000 property with a five per cent deposit, a buyer would need to earn almost £85,000.

Boulger said that after the end of Help to Buy, which offers Government equity loans of up to 40 per cent, the only option for low to medium earners without a big deposit will be shared ownership, or one of the growing number of privately-financed shared equity schemes which are being developed.

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