Around 18 new homeowners in Leeds are set to secure their first houses after taking part in a Leeds Building Society mortgage deposit scheme which is supported by Leeds City Council.
11 first-time buyers have already completed deals to buy homes in recent weeks through Leeds Building Society’s ‘Helping Hand’ scheme, with a possible further seven currently being processed.
The scheme, which officially began in Leeds in September last year, sees first-time buyers able to secure a property valued at up to £160,000 with a 5% deposit, as the council underwrites the other 20% of the deposit.
The scheme is aimed at those who have the means to be able to make the monthly repayments of a mortgage, but cannot provide the large deposits required by some lenders.
The first successful applicant in Leeds was John Egginton, who was able to take the keys to his new home at Valley Ridge in Kippax.
After being able to buy his first home through the ‘Helping Hand’ scheme, Egginton said: “I’m 30 and from Garforth. I rented accommodation with a friend in Kippax until about 2 years ago when my circumstances changed so I moved back home to my patient parents house to save some money. I had intended on moving out immediately to rent a property, however lets were hard to come by, extremely expensive and low quality.
“Buying was a pipe dream as first time buyers had to stump around 20% deposit at least. Then towards the end of last year I spotted the advert for the 95% mortgage and 3 months later I had my new house keys in my hand.”
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said: “It was wonderful to be able to meet John and see how proud he is to now have his first home. To see the effect something like the Helping Hand scheme can have in terms of making a massive positive difference to someone’s life is fantastic, especially in the context of the 26,500 people currently on the council housing waiting list and young families who are desperate for somewhere to live.
“The current housing market is making it almost impossible for people to be able to get on the first rung of the property ladder, so I am delighted that the council can help first-time buyers like this. This scheme is a great example of how new ideas can have a real impact, with the local economy also benefiting through all the related businesses which are part of buying or moving into a house. We look forward to many more people following John’s lead and using the scheme to achieve their dream of owning their first home.”
The council has set aside a total of £2 million for the scheme for an initial five-year period, but anyone wishing to make use of it must meet strict criteria set down by Leeds Building Society to prove they can afford the repayments.
Gary Brook, Leeds Building Society’s head of corporate communication, added: “We are all well aware of the difficulties facing first time buyers, as saving for a large deposit can be a barrier to home ownership. At Leeds Building Society we are delighted to be able to work with Leeds City Council to support people in the city in achieving their aspiration of owning their own home.”