Unlock the door to a home of your own with a Help to Buy ISA

The Help to Buy scheme continues to grab the headlines, with its success rate for getting first-time buyers onto the property ladder. A recent study from the Ministry of Housing, shows that almost half a million completions have taken place since 2013, with 430,000 of these completions made by the first-time buyer market.

There was a total of 494,108 completions, which have taken place using one or more of the governments Help to Buy schemes, over 93% of which took place outside of London. The average house price purchased through the schemes, was around the £200,000 mark. First-time buyers have now opened 1.4 million Help to Buy: ISAs offering government bonuses of up to £3,000 on top of their savings.

These figures highlight how invaluable the Help to Buy scheme has become, and how it will continue to support home buyers into the next decade. It has also helped prop up the new build sector and provided housebuilders with a solid target plan for the delivery of new homes. Demand will continue to grow for new build homes even though some questions arise around the price, value and borrowing requirements and affordability. Build quality and energy efficiency standards attached to new build properties continue to be a primary focus for the property developer sector. Help to Buy has certainly created a positive pathway for the growing numbers for first time buyers, housebuilders, lenders.

So how does it actually work?

Launched on April 1st, 2013 and available until 2023, help to buy is an equity loan scheme. Under the scheme, the buyer is only required to find 5% of the property value for a deposit. The government then lends you up to 20% of the value of the property in the form of an ‘equity loan’. The remaining balance can then be topped up through a mortgage. There’s no interest to pay on the equity loan for the first 5 years, after that the interest kicks in at 1.75%.

It’s open to both first-time buyers and home movers, but it is restricted to new build homes. From April 2021 onwards only first-time buyers will be able to apply. When you come to sell your home, the government will take back its 20% share. If you don’t sell, the money is due back after 25 years. The idea with the help to Buy equity loan is that, because you’re theoretically only borrowing 75% from the mortgage lender, payments will be lower than if you had used a 95% mortgage. Help to Buy is a great route to get onto the housing ladder, or to even upsize your house if you are wanting to start now. But you must be quick, as its not going to go on forever!

The Power of Prop Tech 2019: What is it and why does it matter?

Property technology will continue to transform the industry

The UK’s property industry has remained stubbornly resistant to change, even as innovation reshapes entire verticals across the wider economy. Compared with finance or retail, where e-commerce now accounts for around 20% of total UK retail sales, technology-led disruption in the property sector has been marginal. Whilst most of us bank and shop very differently today to how we did just a few a years ago, the fundamentals around buying a house, acquiring a mortgage or renting office space has remained more or less the same. But all of those things are about to change.

Technology has been continuously remapping the way we work in the industry, and we can expect to see this trend continue in 2019. Over recent weeks, we have seen the Property technology innovations make national headlines, with the worlds first AI auctioneer overseeing an online property auction using blockchain to create an electronic audit trail and google making it’s first property tech move outside of the US by investing into UK property management service AskPorter. And its not just google who think that PropTech is a good idea.

Historically the property industry has been slow to embrace technological change. However, attitudes appear to be changing now we are heading into the year of 2019. A survey carried out by Property Week underlines the steady increase in the number of businesses looking to adopt new technology, with 68% of respondents saying they reembrace tech and are ‘willing to innovate and trail new products’. With 67% of property companies saying they believe the investments they have already made in tech have given their business a USP.

Innovative property technologies in the UK Market

1. Move bubble – a collaborative site for property owners, agents and renters

The site’s aim is to champion the renter’s needs and in doing so it’s a collaborative site where owners, agents and renters can work together as individuals to streamline the rental process. There’s a huge shift going on with the younger generation coming onto the market. They’re demanding more simplistic, value adding, mobile, cloud based solutions that enable collaboration between end-users, offering far greater levels of transparency.

2. Virtual View App – the UK’s first mass-market augmented reality property platform

Founded in 2016 out of the startup accelerator Rainmaking Loft, Virtual View App combines digital and printed marketing materials to allow users to access 3D property models and floor-plans, photo galleries and videos by scanning an image. There’s the ability to look at other elements of the property process, such as unique videos to market properties or cloud services that manage rental-related documentation.

3. Splitwise – an app to make shared living simple

In the ‘hassle-free’ space, Splittable claims to “make it easy to split bills and track expenses with your housemates”. This innovative application focuses on making shared living easier by tackling the often tricky subject of bills. Claiming to stop arguments before they start, Splittable makes it simple to split bills flexibly while helping users keep track of house share expenses.

So what does the future hold for property technology?

There is a lot of excitement around property technology both locally and globally. The key for success in property technology both locally and globally. The key for success in the property industry is to continually improve visibility and transparency, and to work hard to empower investors and other stakeholders as part of the value chain. That’s why its extremely important to get comfortable with new technology to make your business flourish, times are changing, and you know what they say, “innovate or die”.