Help to Build Scheme opens

Applications for the government’s much-heralded Help To Build Scheme will open on Monday. The £150m equity loan scheme, announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, is designed to enable selfbuilders to overcome prohibitive mortgage costs, with successful applicants requiring just a five per cent deposit of the total land and building costs. Currently the average deposit required is around 25 per cent of total costs.

The Help to Build equity loan is similar to Help To Buy and bridges the gap between a deposit and the cost of building material and land, allowing applicants to borrow between five and 20 per cent of their costs (up to 40 per cent in London).

Under the scheme total build costs cannot be over £600,000, or £400,000 if the land is already owned, and applicants must live in the property as a primary home.

“Through the Help to Build scheme we will help thousands more people onto the property ladder by giving them the opportunity to build homes that are perfectly tailored to their needs and in the communities they want to live in,” said Housing Minister Stuart Andrew.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, CEO of the National Custom and Self Build Association, welcomed the scheme.

“Help to Build is key to opening up custom and self build to more people with sound plans and limited deposits. It will enable them to access a home that better reflects their desires and needs and which enriches their lives, as well as those of their community, and is better for the environment,” he said.

Andrew Craddock, chief executive of Darlington Building Society, the first lender to offer mortgages under the scheme, said: “Self build isn’t the preserve of the wealthy, and Help to Build makes it more practical and accessible than ever for people to build their dream home.

“This scheme also opens up the opportunities to first-time buyers. It is a fantastic example of the market moving with the times, and people’s changing wants and needs.”

The scheme is part of the government’s plan to boost the self- and custom-build sector.

Last year Conservative MP Richard Bacon was asked by the Prime Minister to set up an independent review to explore ways of scaling up self and custom housebuilding. In response to this review, which sets out how the sector could deliver up to 40,000 new homes a year, the Government will introduce measures including:

• A specialist unit within Homes England to bring forward more self- and custom-build plots on regeneration projects across the country

• Legislation through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to promote self and custom building, including the review of the National Planning Policy Framework

• A Modern Methods of Construction Task Force to promote modular factory-built construction to boost custom homebuilding.

Bacon, the MP for South Norfolk, said he was pleased by the Government’s warm response to his review: “The government recognises the crucial role which custom- and self-build housing can play in addressing the nation’s housing challenges, including delivering more affordable housing,” he said.

22 June 2022