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Unlocking Homeownership with Forces Help to Buy

How mortgage lenders are helping to deliver the Armed Forces Covenant

Description: Discover the ins and outs of the Forces Help to Buy scheme, designed to empower members of the British Armed Forces in achieving homeownership. Learn about eligibility, benefits, property criteria, and more.

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Forces Help to Buy: Homeownership for the Armed UK Forces

Are you a member of the British Armed Forces dreaming of homeownership? The Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) scheme is designed to help those serving in the UK Forces obtain help for a deposit to purchase a property of their own. From 1 January 2023, the Forces Help to Buy will become an enduring policy, now and in the future. The aim is to help address the low rate of home ownership within the armed forces, as well as helping Defence Accomadation Strategy in recognizing the positive impact owning a home can have during an inherently mobile career.

Eligibility Criteria

FHTB is open to regular members of the British Armed Forces, including the Army, Royal Air Force, and Military. To qualify, you must have completed your minimum service period with at least six months of service remaining and meet the right medical categories.  Whether you’re a first-time buyer or relocating due to service commitments, FHTB can be your key to homeownership.

Its not available to reservists or members of the military Provost Guard Service.  There my be exceptions to this criteria, especially where there are special medical and personal circumstances. For more information refer to JSP 464 , volume 1, Part 1, chapter 12 or contact the Joint Personnel Administration Cell.

How It Works

With FHTB, you can borrow up to 50% of your annual salary, to a maximum of £25,000, interest-free. This loan is repaid over a period of up to 10 years through deductions from your salary. The funds can be used for a property deposit and associated costs, offering a faster path to homeownership.

How To Get It?

Service personnel need to apply for a Forces Help To Buy on JPA, through the self-service application for FHTB. Full instructions for completion is online in the JPA Self Service Guide: Applying for Pre-Approval for FHTB.

Property Criteria

While FHTB provides flexibility, there are specific eligibility requirements for the property itself. The property must be located in the UK, intended as your main residence, and can be a house, bungalow, flat, or maisonette. New builds and existing properties are both eligible, but certain restrictions apply, such as no buy-to-let or second homes.

Benefits of FHTB

The FHTB scheme offers numerous advantages for Armed Forces members, including the ability to save for a deposit quicker, afford a more expensive property, and facilitate easier relocation when posted elsewhere.

Considerations Before Applying

Before applying for FHTB, it’s crucial to understand that the loan is not free money. Monthly repayments are required, and FHTB is not a substitute for a mortgage. Additionally, the scheme has a limited timeframe, so applying before leaving the Armed Forces is essential. We would recommend checking your affordability with lenders, the FHTB loan is factored in when assessing affordability.

How to Apply

Ready to take the leap? Applying for FHTB is a straightforward online process through the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) website. Ensure you have your JPA login details and bank account information ready.

JPA user guides and forms

JPA- contact us

you’re considering FHTB in conjunction with other buying schemes or exploring consent to let options, our advisers have experience to help guide you. Stay informed and make strategic decisions on your path to homeownership.

Combining Schemes

Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) can be combined with other schemes to help military personnel purchase a home. There are important limitations and eligibility requirements to consider.

Combinable Schemes:

  • Help to Buy Wales : The government’s Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme can potentially be combined with FHTB, but only in specific circumstances and locations. You’ll need to check eligibility carefully and ensure the combined loan doesn’t exceed the maximum borrowing limits.
  • Mortgage schemes: FHTB is designed to be used alongside a regular mortgage. Our advisers can help you find a mortgage that complements FHTB, considering repayment terms and interest rates.
  • Grants: Certain grants for specific groups, such as those for disabled veterans or first-time buyers in rural areas, might be combinable with FHTB, depending on the specific grant and its rules.

Important Points:

  • Combined borrowing limits: Combining FHTB with other schemes might push you closer to, or even exceed, the borrowing limits. Ensure you stay within the maximum allowed amount (50% of your salary or £25,000).
  • Eligibility restrictions: Not all schemes are compatible with FHTB. Always research individual scheme eligibility carefully before assuming they can be combined.
  • Seek professional advice: Combining schemes can get complex. Consider seeking financial advice from a specialist familiar with military schemes and housing options.

Resources:

Remember, the availability and compatibility of these schemes might change, so staying updated with the latest information is crucial.

Mortgage Considerations

While there isn’t a specific FHTB mortgage, understanding how lenders factor in the FHTB loan is crucial. Our regulated mortgage brokers can help you understand what works best for you.

Personal Savings and FHTB

While the scheme acts as a deposit booster, if you can add and increase the deposit, it can sometimes reduce the LTV giving you a better interest rate.

Already Own a Property?

If you already own a property, FHTB may not be an option. Bright Money can help explore what mortgages are available to you.

Conclusion

Navigate the Forces Help to Buy scheme can be tricky, From eligibility to property criteria, benefits, and beyond, having the right experienced adviser by your side throughout the property journey is essential.