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Help to Build applications now open

Always dreamed of building your own home? A government scheme launches today to help you do just that.

Words by: Nic Hopkirk

Senior Editor

Longing to make your own Grand Design a reality? Applications are now open for the government’s new Help to Build scheme.

A bit like Help to Buy for self-builders, Help to Build is an equity loan scheme.

It enables independent home builders with a 5% deposit to apply for a government loan.

The loan can be between 5% - 20% of your total land and building costs in England - and up to 40% in London.

The loan is based on the estimated costs of buying the land and building your property.

The total build costs cannot be over £600,000, or £400,000 if the land is already owned. 

Applicants must plan to live in the property as their primary home when it's finished. 

Why has Help to Build launched?

Backed by £150m government funding, Help to Build is designed to help families who don’t have Grand Designs-size budgets to realise their dream of building their own home. 

Most people who want to custom-design their own homes are priced out of self-building, because it can require huge sums up front.

The average deposit needed for a self and custom build is around 25% of the total land and building costs. 

Help to Build has been created to bridge the gap between a small deposit and the money needed to build your own home.

It will also help people to overcome prohibitive mortgage costs, by reducing the overall size of the mortgage required to do the works. 

The government hopes the scheme will help thousands onto the property ladder, while enabling people to create homes tailored to their specific needs, including those with disabilities or those who live with large families or elderly relatives.

How do I apply for Help to Build?

You can apply for Help to Build if you:

  • are 18 years of age or over

  • have a right to live in England

  • will live in the newly-built home as your only home

Help to Build application steps

To apply for Help to Build, you'll need to:

1. Secure a self build mortgage, from a lender registered for Help to Build, or through a broker

2. Apply for Help to Build through Homes England

3. If your application is successful, you’ll receive an equity loan offer based on the estimated costs of buying a plot of land (if needed) and building the home

4. When your home is complete, Homes England will pay the equity loan to the registered lender

If you accept the offer of an equity loan from Help to Build, you’ll have three years to buy the land (if needed) and build your home.

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The government is planning for Help to Build funding to be available for four years, but it may close sooner if the scheme proves to be popular and the £150m funding runs out.

Where can I apply for a Help to Build mortgage?

Darlington Building Society is the first lender to offer Help to Build mortgages. 

Chief Executive Andrew Craddock said: “Self-build isn’t the preserve of the wealthy, and Help to Build makes it more practical and accessible than ever before for people to build their dream home.

 “This scheme also opens up opportunities to first-time buyers. It’s a fantastic example of the market moving with the times, and people’s changing wants and needs.” 

Self-build homes should be an option for everyone

It’s hoped that the scheme will also boost the self and custom build sector, supporting Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) builders and help to create new jobs.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says Help to Build will help level up communities by supporting young people and families into homeownership in places where they want to live. 

Housing Minister Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP said: “This innovative scheme will build on our work to break down the barriers to homeownership, as well as creating new jobs, supporting the construction industry and kickstarting a self and custom build revolution.” 

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Government plans to unveil more self-build plots and promote factory-built homes 

The government has also today set out the measures that it will take forward from a review by South Norfolk MP, Richard Bacon, to boost the sector. These include:    

  • A specialist unit within Homes England to bring forward more self and custom build plots on regeneration projects across the country

  • Bringing forward legislation through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to promote self and custom building, including the review of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

  • The Modern Methods of Construction Task Force (MMC) will promote the use of modular factory-built homes to boost custom homebuilding.

Bacon said: “Making it easier for people to build or commission their own homes helps to promote a more diverse housing market with more real choice and control for consumers.

“There is clear evidence that getting people more involved in decisions about housing helps to deliver houses that are better designed and better built, which are greener and cost less to run and which communities are happier to see built."

Find out more about Help to Build at OwnYourHome

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