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Help to Buy Schemes in Wales

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Wales is a beautiful place to live. Thousands of people move there every year to enjoy the exciting cities, lush countryside and friendly people. 

Getting on the property ladder while staying in Wales is often a priority for those who already live in the country. Meanwhile, lots of potential buyers from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland dream of moving there, too. 

To make this possible, the Welsh government has introduced several ‘Help to Buy’ schemes that make it easier for people to buy a house in the country. In the blog below, we’ve outlined what these are, so you can make an informed decision when buying a home in Wales. 

Why house buyers need support in Wales

In 2023, the average house in Wales will cost around £224,000, whereas ten years earlier, in 2013, a typical house would cost approximately £154,000. 

This significant increase in property price is not proportionate to how salary has grown in this time – meaning that houses are now far less affordable than they used to be.

To combat this imbalance, the government has introduced schemes that make it easier for people to take their first step onto the property ladder. 

Keep reading below for our outline of the help-to-buy options in Wales in 2024.

Option 1: Shared Ownership

Like the equivalent scheme in England, the ‘Shared Ownership’ initiative enables you to buy a share of a house (anywhere between 25% to 75%) and then continue paying rent on the remainder you do not own. 

This means that you will own some equity in the house and benefit from its price growth. It also enables you to ‘staircase’ to a higher percentage of ownership further down the line by purchasing more shares. This is a measured, intelligent way to gradually grow your equity in a house, without trying to pay for more than you can realistically afford. 

Option 2: Help to Buy

‘Help to Buy’ is a scheme offered by the Welsh government that involves a shared equity loan scheme for homes up to £300,000. This is targeted mainly at first-time buyers and home movers who have a 5% deposit.

The scheme provides a shared equity loan of up to 20% of the purchase price, and you must take out a repayment mortgage to cover the remaining amount. The loan must be paid back within 25 years.

Option 3: Homebuy

‘Homebuy’ is another equity loan scheme that offers between 30% and 50% for those who meet the criteria to buy a property. This criteria includes, but is not limited to:

  • Proving that you are not adequately housed or cannot afford to live in your current home
  • Being able to get a mortgage to cover your contribution, and have savings to cover the other costs of buying a home
  • Meeting the specific criteria set by each local authority/Registered Social Landlord that operates the scheme

The Homebuy initiative helps those who cannot afford to buy a property and is particularly beneficial in rural communities of Wales, where there may be few opportunities to buy a home.

Alternative methods for getting onto the property ladder in Wales

If you are creative, you can find other ways to get onto the property ladder in Wales. While the schemes above are at your disposal, and can be extremely useful, some other routes are worth considering.

Firstly, you are more likely to be accepted by a lender if you have a ‘guarantor’ who can take responsibility for any missed payments. However, this is an enormous emotional and financial responsibility for anyone willing to take this on, so you should think it through carefully.

You could also seek to find a less expensive property in the Wales housing market – for example, a ‘fixer-upper’ that you can improve on your own. If you have the handyman skills to do this without bringing an expert in, then this could get you a good deal.

There are plenty of methods you could explore to increase the size of the deposit you’re able to raise, too. Putting your money into a Lifetime ISA can enable you to get up to £1,000 contributed by the government. Finding a second job, subletting a spare room, or moving back in with your parents (to decrease your rent payments) can all make a difference over several months or years.

Should I use the ‘bank of Mum and Dad’?

If you are in the fortunate position where your parents can provide you with financial assistance when getting on the property ladder, then this is worth taking advantage of.

Putting down a larger deposit makes your mortgage much more affordable since you will get a more favourable interest rate. Even then, you could arrange to pay your parents back the money over an extended period, which is what some people choose to do. 

With the average property in Wales currently costing £224,000, a 10% deposit would equal £22,400, which is extremely difficult for the average person to raise. The bank of Mum and Dad could be particularly useful in achieving this if that option exists.

Where are the best places to live in Wales?

With so many people keen to move there, it’s no surprise that Wales has an active property market. In Cardiff over the past year, there have been almost 10,000 house sales, while in Clywd county and Swansea, there have been around 4,500 and 6,600 sales, respectively. 

In the Sunday Times ranking of the best places to live in Wales, the areas that ranked amongst the highest were: 

  • Abergavenny (average house price £319,000)
  • Barmouth (average house price £283,750)
  • Narberth (average house price £256,600)
  • Ruthin (average house price (£321,000)
  • Solva (average house price £284,700)

If you are looking to move into Wales, then it is worth checking out these areas and speaking to an estate agent that operates there.

Where are the most affordable places in Wales?

For any potential house buyer struggling to raise enough funds to make a purchase, knowing which towns you get the best value for money in can be extremely useful.

According to online figures, the areas in Wales that are the most affordable include:

  • Ferndale (average house price £106,992)
  • Abertilley (average house price £120,714)
  • Maesteg (average house price £125,346)
  • Blaenau Ffestiniog (average house price £134,436)
  • Fairbourne (average house price £160,676)

Some property types are generally more affordable than others, too. See more information on this below.

What do different property types cost in Wales?

In Wales over the past year, a typical flat costs £147,000 while a detached property sets you back £352,000. For a semi-detached house, you can expect to pay £217,000; for a terraced property, it is approximately £164,000.

How much does it cost to rent in Wales?

If you are saving up to make a deposit on a property in Wales, you may have to rent in the meantime. On average, across the country, it costs approximately £856 per month, although this figure will vary depending on the location and size of the property.

This means you will need to save a sum on top of this amount to gradually build up a deposit. 

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