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Older first-time buyers locked out of Help to Buy

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Housing minister Mark Prisk has acknowledged older first-time buyers may miss out on the government's Help to Buy scheme.
Older first-time buyers locked out of Help to Buy

The Homes and Communities Agency delivering the programme cannot act as a first charge lender, meaning applicants for the Help to Buy equity loan must take out a mortgage.

Prisk said: “I appreciate this may mean that some older purchasers may not be able to access the scheme.”

Older people who missed out could join a shared ownership scheme instead, he said.

He was responding to a question from Labour MP and former housing minister John Healey.

The government’s Older People Shared Ownership Scheme allows elderly home buyers to purchase between 25% and 75% of a purpose-built property. Those who purchase the maximum share do not have to pay any rent on the unowned equity.

Age Partnership equity release technical manager Simon Chalk said those who joined a shared ownership scheme could struggle to release equity from their homes: “Providers in our market want to make sure they can sell the property without any restrictions on who the future buyer will be.”

Rather than entering owner-occupation, older people should be encouraged to look at social housing if they had not yet managed to get on the property ladder, he suggested.


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