New scheme aims to help first-time buyers

FIRST-TIME buyers struggling to get on the property ladder can now benefit from a new scheme, thanks to the council and Lloyds TSB.

Hastings Borough Council (HBC) has joined forces with the bank to help buyers looking for their first house buy one with a deposit of just five per cent.

The Local Lend a Hand scheme became available on Tuesday.

Most mortgage lenders ask for a 10 per cent deposit.

Council leader Jeremy Birch said: “We are very proud to be able to offer those members of our community who would not normally have the opportunity to own their own home without this initiative.

“We are hoping to be able to help up to 50 local residents to become home owners.”

Stephen Noakes, commercial director, mortgages, said: “With the launch of Local Lend a Hand in Hastings, we’re making the housing market more accessible to more people. We know that many young people turn to the Bank of Mum and Dad to get their foot on the ladder, but that’s not a solution for everyone.

“Helping people to buy their first home is crucial in achieving and maintaining a sustainable housing market.”

The average price in the UK was £241,461 between July and September last year. In Hastings it was £166,686.

Cecilie Booth, director at Sector Treasury Services, which worked with Lloyds TSB to design the scheme, said: “Many potential first-time buyers in Hastings including those on the council’s housing waiting list, or currently occupying affordable or social housing units, are unable to save a sufficient deposit, even though they could afford mortgage repayments on a typical first home.

“This initiative is designed to bridge that gap.

“Local authorities will both free up social housing for the more vulnerable and reduce payouts to private landlords and expensive short-term accommodation.”

Subject to Lloyds TSB’s usual lending criteria, borrowers are able to select a property within the local area, up to a maximum loan size of £150,000.

First-time buyers will put down five per cent of the property price, and HBC will provide a cash backed indemnity of up to 20 per cent as additional security. The local authority then earns interest on this amount.

The first-time buyer owns the property in its entirety, and will have access to a range of products at a lower rate of interest than would normally be available for this level of deposit.

Those interested in the local scheme should visit their local branch of Lloyds TSB for more information.