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Mortgage guides

Help to Buy & home ownership schemes

What is Help to Buy?

'Help to Buy' is the name given to a number of UK government backed schemes, generally designed to help first time buyers purchase a home.

These include;

Are there any other government backed schemes?

Yes. Alongside these schemes, there are others that are also designed to help people get onto the property ladder. These aren't branded with the 'Help to Buy' wording.

Find out more about home ownership schemes where you are

What is the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme?

The Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme is a government incentive designed to help those purchasing property in England with a first time buyer mortgage.

The scheme allows first time buyers to borrow an equity loan to cover from 5% and up to 20% of the property purchase price of a newly built home (up to 40% if the property is in London).

The equity loan percentage you borrow is used to calculate your interest and equity loan repayments.

For more detailed information, visit the Gov.uk website


If you apply for a NatWest mortgage as part of buying a home using the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme, property and buyer eligibility criteria will apply. We don't currently accept online mortgage applications using this scheme, but you can speak with one of our qualified mortgage advisers to apply.

What are the Help to Buy: Equity Loan regional caps? (England only)

A maximum property purchase price limit applies when purchasing a home via the scheme, depending on the region it’s in.

Help to Buy: Equity Loan examples

Help to Buy: Equity Loan FAQs

How do you pay off a Help to Buy: Equity Loan?

You can partly or fully repay the loan at any time. Otherwise, you will pay it off when you sell the property or when the main mortgage term ends.

Can you pay off the Help to Buy: Equity loan early?

Yes, you can pay off the equity loan any time after purchase completion of your property.

Do I need a mortgage deposit to be eligible for the scheme?

Yes. To be potentially eligible for the scheme, you need a deposit of at least 5% of the final purchase price of the property.

When does the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme end?

The current scheme runs until March 2023.

What about a Help to Buy: ISA?

Shared ownership and Right to Buy

Two other home ownership schemes that may be of interest are shared ownership and Right to Buy. You can read a brief description of these schemes below, with more detailed information available on the Gov.uk website.

All of these schemes are subject to eligibility criteria for both the borrower and the property being purchased.

Shared ownership

  • With shared ownership, buyers take out a mortgage for a portion of a property and then pay rent on the remaining share.
  • Over time, they can increase their percentage of ownership and generally, can eventually become the outright owner.
  • All shared ownership homes are leasehold properties.
  • We don't currently offer mortgages on properties purchased via shared ownership (i.e. where the buyer's ownership will be lower than 100%).

Right to Buy

  • The Right to Buy scheme allows eligible council and housing association tenants to buy their home in England with a discount of up to £84,600 (£112,800 in London).
  • Full eligibility can be found on the gov.uk website, including an eligibility checker tool. The scheme is only available to those who have had a public sector landlord for at least 3 years and are secure tenants.
  • We don't currently accept online mortgage applications for those purchasing property via the Right to Buy scheme, but you can speak with one of our qualified mortgage advisers to apply.

The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme

This home ownership scheme provides support from the UK Government for lenders to offer new 91% - 95% mortgages (in other words, a mortgage with a deposit of as little as 5%).

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