Q) What is Help to Buy? 

A) Help to Buy is a government-backed scheme which helps first-time buyers and existing home owners purchase a home with as little as 5% deposit. There are two ways to purchase a property with Help to Buy – either with an 'Equity Loan' or 'Mortgage Guarantee'.

Q) Is Help to Buy just for first-time buyers? 

A) Help to Buy is available for both first-time buyers and existing homeowners.

Q) What are the key differences between Equity Loan and Mortgage Guarantee?


Equity Loan

Mortgage Guarantee

Type of home

New-build homes only

New and old homes

Mortgage required

75% England & Wales

80% Scotland

55% London


Government Equity Loan

Up to 20% England & Wales

Up to 15% Scotland

Up to 40% London


Maximum purchase price

£600,000 in England
£300,000 in Wales£230,000 in Scotland


Q) How does the Equity Loan work? 

A) Help to Buy Equity Loan provides buyers with an equity loan of up to 20% of the property value in England & Wales, 40% in London, and 15% in Scotland. This can be repaid at any time within the first 25 years (or the terms of mortgage), or alternatively on the sale of the property.

In England and Wales, you won’t be charged any loan fees for the first five years of owning your home. In the sixth year, you’ll be charged a fee of 1.75% of the loan’s value. After this, the fee will increase every year. The increase is worked out by using the Retail Prices Index plus 1%. Note that fees don’t count towards paying back the equity loan.

With Help to Buy Equity Loan, buyers only need up to a 75% mortgage in England & Wales, 55% in London, and 80% in Scotland; but with Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee, buyers will need up to a 95% mortgage.

Q) Why has Help to Buy been set up? 

A) With Help to Buy and other new incentives, the UK Government is continuing its pledge to help more people across the UK to become homeowners.

Q) Am I able to buy a house under the new scheme? 

A) If you can raise a 5% deposit you will be able to buy a new home under Help to Buy.

Q) When did the scheme start? 

A) Help to Buy Equity Loan came into operation on 1 April 2013 in England and 25 November 2013 in Wales. Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee became available from 8 October 2013 in the UK.

Q) What is the maximum property purchase price? 

A) The maximum home purchase price with Help to Buy Equity Loan is £600,000 in England, £300,000 in Wales and £230,000 in Scotland. The maximum home purchase price with Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee is £600,000 in England, Scotland and Wales.

Q) Can I use Help to Buy for a buy-to-let property?

A) No, the scheme is only available on properties that will be occupied by the person or persons who have taken out the mortgage.

Q) Am I able to get an interest-only mortgage using Help to Buy?

A) No, the scheme is only available in relation to capital repayment mortgages.