Let’s be honest, Deposit Unlock doesn’t necessarily have the catchiest name. But then it isn’t its name that should be catching our attention, it is what help it offers to beleaguered first-time buyers.
When Help to Buy came to an end this year, there was much consternation about what had, despite its controversies, been widely used by people across the country to give them a leg-up on the ladder. More than 350,000 homes were bought using the scheme, and according to government figures, eight out of every ten of these was a first-time buyer.
No wonder there were wails of frustration when the scheme finally ended, with final purchases using the scheme sealed by the end of March.
But as the government wound down the equity loan scheme, developers wanted to step into the breach. And so Deposit Unlock was born.
Launched by Home Builders Federation in November 2021 in conjunction with lenders and housebuilders, the idea was to allow people to get onto the ladder without the need for an eye-watering deposit.
Available on developments across England, Wales and Scotland, it allows first-time buyers and existing homeowners the chance to buy a new-build home up to the value of £833,250 with a five per cent deposit.
Public policy consultant Junakie Begum, 42, expected to have to save a deposit of more than £40,000 in order to buy a place of her own. So she was thrilled when she learned about the Deposit Unlock scheme.
Using the scheme, she bought a one-bed apartment, with a private balcony, at Fairview’s Epping Gate development in Loughton, Essex. ‘Despite earning well, my expenses living in London were high and I struggled to save,’ she says.
‘When Covid hit, I wasn’t spending money on going out and holidays and I moved in with my sister into a home owned by my family with a reduced rent, which allowed me to start saving,’ she says.
Junakie loves her new home. ‘I love how peaceful and green the area is, plus the commute into work is only an hour door-to-door via the Central and Jubilee line,’ she says. ‘I think if I had known the scheme existed I would have started being more careful with my money a lot earlier,’ she says.
Public perception of the scheme does seem an underlying issue.
‘It is a lack of awareness that is holding some people back from getting onto the property ladder,’ says Chris Hood, sales and marketing director for Fairview New Homes.
‘Now that the door has closed on the Help to Buy, participating in Deposit Unlock is a way for Fairview to continue to support first-time buyers with limited deposit availability.’
However, currently there are only three mortgage lenders – Accord Mortgages, Nationwide Building Society and Newcastle Building Society – and, not all the participating builders will offer Deposit Unlock on all of their developments.
For Junakie, however, it has worked perfectly. ‘I love that the apartment is completely mine. I also like the assurances that come with a new-build, such as the ten-year NHBC warranty and the two-year Fairview warranty, which means that any damages accrued in the first two-years are covered,’ she says.
‘I really recommend Deposit Unlock, it makes saving for a deposit so much more achievable.’
Find out which developers are participating at deposit-unlock.co.uk
Do the maths
Fairviews’ Epping Gate is a pet-friendly development close to the M11, M25 and the North Circular for travel out of London.
It’s 22 minutes by Tube ride to Stratford, 33 minutes to Liverpool Street and a seven-minute drive to Epping Forest.
Buying new also provides owners with a ten-year NHBC Build Warranty and 999–year lease.
Only a handful of apartments are remaining at Epping Gate, with prices starting at £320,000 for a one-bedroom.
More information can be found: Here
Buy via Deposit Unlock
Purchase Price: £340,800
5 per cent deposit: £17,040
Mortgage repayments: £1,900 (based on a 5.9 per cent interest rate and 25-year term)
Development management charge: £1,500 (£125 per month)
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