First-time buyers take first steps onto property ladder

Cllr Jeremy Birch with Shaun Smith and Sarah Burkin.
Cllr Jeremy Birch with Shaun Smith and Sarah Burkin.

SEVERAL first-time buyers helped onto the property ladder by an initiative launched by Hastings Borough Council and Lloyds TSB, have already moved into their new homes.

Sarah Burkin and her fiancé Shaun Smith are among the first people in Hastings to purchase a new home through the Local Lend a Hand initiative launched in January.

Sarah said: “We were living with Shaun’s parents whilst we were saving up for a deposit and honestly thought it would still be several years until we could buy our first home.

“We are so happy we could access this scheme, not only did it reduce the amount of deposit we needed significantly, it also gave us access to a lower interest rate so we can be confident we can afford the monthly repayments.

“Thanks to the Lend a Hand scheme we’ve moved in to our own home, something that seemed completely out of our reach before we heard about the scheme, it has been life changing for us.”

Over the past five months, more than 25 first-time buyers in Hastings have applied for the scheme

A massive £700,000 of the £1 million worth of funding put down by the council has been allocated already, and over £3 million has been lent to first-time buyers in new mortgages.

Local Lend a Hand, which launched in branches of Lloyds TSB from January 2012, lets first time buyers purchase a home with a minimum deposit of just five per cent of the purchase price, with the help of Hastings Borough Council.

The fixed rate mortgage products available through this scheme are at a lower rate of interest than would normally be available for this level of deposit. Hastings was the first local authority in the South East to make the scheme available.

Council leader Cllr Jeremy Birch said: “I am pleased we have led the way in the South East, and it is great news that, after a only few months, we are already seeing first time buyers in Hastings get the keys to their first home. These are the first steps to helping homebuyers in the area, and will provide a boost to the local housing market as a whole.”

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