A Guide to Help to Buy in London | CBRE Residential

Help to Buy in London: all of your questions answered here


Though several other cities in the UK are scarcely any more affordable to live in, the difficulties of getting onto the modern-day London property market have been especially extensively discussed. Many young residents and their families are struggling to keep up with soaring rents and house prices, leading some of them to wonder whether they have a future in the capital at all. However, the government’s Help to Buy scheme aims to at least partially redress the balance. So what is Help to Buy, what is it designed to do, and who’s eligible for it? In this guide, we’ll answer some frequently-asked questions and provide you with some useful insights into how to take advantage of Help to Buy in London.

What is Help to Buy?

The new Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme was launched on 1 April 2021. It is for first-time buyers and includes regional property price limits to ensure the scheme reaches people who need it most.

The new scheme will run until March 2023. Last reservations for Help to Buy purchases need to be agreed by the end of October 2022 giving buyers around five more months to take advantage of the scheme. As with the previous scheme, the government will lend homebuyers up to 20% of the cost of a newly built home, and up to 40% in London.


How does Help to Buy work?

Through the Help to Buy scheme, the government provides equity loans, interest-free for five years, which can be put towards buying a new-build home valued at up to £600,000 within London.  These values do differ regionally if you are looking outside of London as per below (or we can just put the link https://www.gov.uk/affordable-home-ownership-schemes/help-to-buy-equity-... )

Region Maximum property purchase price
North East


North West


Yorkshire and the Humber


East Midlands


West Midlands


East of England



South East


South West


In London, Help to Buy loans can cover up to 40 per cent of the purchase price, while in the rest of the UK they only extend to 20 per cent. You will be expected to pay back the loan within 25 years or when you sell the house, though if you are able to repay it sooner, you can choose to do so.

Those who want to take advantage of Help to Buy are required to provide money for a deposit amounting to at least five percent of the purchase price. There is also a Help to Buy ISA scheme, which provides savers with a bonus from the government to put towards a new home.

The Help to Buy process follows three key stages

First Stage – ATP (Authority to Proceed)

One your mortgage application has been appected, the ATP is in effect your ‘Mortgage Offer equivalent’. The average turnaround is 4 days at the moment as per  various Help to Buy websites.

Second Stage – ATE (Authority to Exchange)

Your Conveyanching Solicitor will request the Authority to Exchange from the relevant Help to Buy Administrator once your Mortgage Offer has been accepted and ATP issued. Help to Buy will have to authorise the exchange before your solicitor can exchange the contracts.

Third Stage – CTD (Confirmation to Developer)

The final step of the Help to Buy process after exchanging the contracts and setting the completion date, your solicitor will request CTD from the relevant Help to Buy agent. This cannot be done nor the transaction completed before the CTD has been issued.

Is Help to Buy worth it?

There are a number of advantages to making use of Help to Buy. The most obvious of these is that it could allow you to buy a home despite having only a modest deposit at your disposal, as well as providing you with a better mortgage rate than you’d otherwise be able to obtain.

For Londoners in particular, the benefits of Help to Buy are substantial, given that the government is prepared to lend as much as 40 per cent of the purchase price – double the proportion offered elsewhere.

There are some drawbacks, however, and it’s important to be aware of them. Firstly, any Help to Buy loan you take out is not fixed and will fluctuate along with the value of the property – meaning that you could find yourself repaying rather more money than you originally borrowed from the government.

Also, after the initial five-year interest-free period, you will be required to pay 1.75 per cent in the sixth year of the loan, increasing by one per cent (plus any retail price inflation increase) each year thereafter. The terms of the scheme, which has its detractors (not least with regard to its alleged impact on house prices), may also be subject to change by a future government.

As always when entering a commitment as important as buying a new home, it’s essential that you’re aware of the various options open to you and that you’re equipped to make an informed purchasing decision having taken them into account. Always seek objective expert advice before taking any such decision.

How does the Help to Buy ISA work?

The Help to Buy ISA gives savers a 25 per cent bonus from the government on savings of up to £12,000 and of no less than £1,600. Help to Buy ISAs can be used to purchase properties valued at up to £450,000 in London, but the limit across the rest of the country is £250,000.

Proceeds from Help to Buy ISAs can be put towards a mortgage deposit, but not an exchange deposit – i.e. the deposit paid by the purchaser when exchanging contracts with the seller. This is because your lender will only receive the bonus once the sale of the property has been completed, and hence it will reduce the size of your mortgage.

As Help to Buy ISAs are restricted to one per person – rather than one per household – this means that if you intend to buy with a partner, you can both benefit from the bonus when you get round to purchasing a property.

To open a Lifetime ISA you must be aged 18-39 and a resident in the UK, unless you’re a crown servant (for example, in the diplomatic service), their spouse or civil partner. You can save up to £4,000 in your Lifetime ISA each year. This counts towards your annual ISA limit, which is £20,000 for the 2021 to 2022 tax year. To use the funds towards a first home, the property value must be under £450,000.

Who is eligible for Help to Buy?

To apply, you must be:

  • aged 18 or older and a first-time buyer

You cannot:

  • own a home or land anywhere in the world now or in the past
  • have had any form of sharia mortgage finance
  • own a home bought with other people or inherited
  • be married or in a co-habiting relationship, either now or on legal completion with anyone who owns or has owned a home or land anywhere in the world
  • buy a second home

If you’re married or in a co-habiting relationship, you’ll have to make a joint application with your spouse or civil partner and both live in the home having it as your only residence.

While there are no minimum or maximum income brackets, you must be able to fund at least 80% (60% in London) of the purchase through a combination of deposit and mortgage.

Please see below a selection of our developments available with Help to Buy and please do not hesitate to contact us, if you have any questions.


Help to Buy: The Venue
An exciting new development with rich musical heritage
Help to Buy: Horlicks Quarter
An inspiring development that brings new energy and vitality to the heart of Slough
Help to Buy: Middle Yard
Newly completed development comprising 144 apartments.
Help to Buy: The Lock, Greenford Quay
Located beside the Grand Union Canal
Help to Buy: Brunel Street Works
Podium Gardens & Roof Terraces
Help to Buy: Callis Yard
Modern living combined with distinctive architecture
Help to Buy: Southmere
5 lakes, 7km of canals and 5km of river frontage
Help to Buy: 127 West Ealing
Ealing’s newest residential quarter