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Forces Help To Buy

Since 1 April 2014 Regular Service personnel have been able to take an advance of up to 50% of their salary, up to a maximum of £25,000 to buy their own home. The loan is available regardless of marital status – single and married personnel have access to the same level of loan - and will be repaid through your monthly salary over 10 years. You will be expected to live in the home whenever Service needs allow.

The Forces Help To Buy Scheme is running initially for a trial period of 3 years. Full details are in the document below and there are some common Questions and Answers below.

Full details on Forces Help To Buy (extract from JSP464) (PDF, 150KB)

Q&A

Who can apply for Help to Buy: Forces?

In general, Forces Help to Buy will be available to Regular personnel who wish to buy their own home regardless of your marital status or the length of your current engagement.

Can you apply if you already own a home?

Forces Help to Buy is intended to support those who want to buy a first home but can’t afford to, therefore it will not be available to the majority of existing homeowners (exceptions can be made on a case by case basis where the existing home is not suitable for the families needs).

Can you let the home you buy with Help to Buy: Forces?

In general, you will be expected to live in the property you have bought with the loan if it is within reasonable travelling distance from the place of work.

Can I take the loan and still live in Service Family Accommodation?

If personnel are posted within reasonable travel distance then they will be expected to live in the property. Should they be posted away from this location for Service reasons then SFA will be available at the normal rates.

Will Reservists be able to take out a Forces Help to Buy loan?

No. Regular service places a greater mobility requirement on Service personnel. This scheme is designed to address this disadvantage, in line with the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, and is only open to Regular personnel.

How much can I borrow?

You can borrow up to 50% of your current annual salary, capped at £25k

Do I have to pay it back before I leave Service?
Yes - The normal terms of the loan will be ten years. Those who leave Service during this period will need to make arrangements for early repayment.

Why has this scheme been launched?

We know that high mobility and Regular deployments mean that many personnel have delayed buying a home - and some experience difficulty when accessing credit. Initiatives like Help to Buy: Forces and MoneyForce are developed based on feedback you provided in the NEM consultation and delivering on the Covenant pledge to address disadvantage caused by Service.

Houses are expensive in my area. Will I be able to borrow more?

The level of loan has to be linked to your ability to repay. Experience has shown that 50% of salary is the right amount to ensure repayments are affordable and mortgage lenders’ don’t lower the amount they will lend you.

Why can I borrow less than seniors? This means buying a home is harder for me.

The level of loan has to be linked to your ability to repay. Experience has shown that 50% of salary is the right amount to ensure repayments are affordable and mortgage lenders’ don’t lower the amount they will lend you.

So are you getting rid of Single Living Accommodation and Service Families Accommodation?

No. SLA and SFA will remain available to those who need it.

Can I buy with someone else (outside of the Service) using this scheme?

Yes. The scheme will be open to those entering into joint home ownership.

How will you evaluate the pilot?

The scheme will be evaluated using a combination of established methods of data analysis and feedback from personnel.

Can I use this scheme to pay off my existing mortgage?

No. Forces Help to Buy is intended to support those who want to buy a first home but can’t afford to, therefore it cannot be used to pay off an existing mortgage.

Why has the loan been set at 50% of salary?

The level of loan has to be linked to your ability to repay. Experience has shown that 50% of salary is the right amount to ensure repayments are affordable and mortgage lenders’ don’t lower the amount they will lend you.

Can I take this loan and combine it with other Government Schemes?

Yes, but not all schemes are compatible. FHTB can be used in conjunction with the Government Help To Buy Equity Loan Scheme, Help To Buy (Scotland) and Help To Buy (Wales), but not the Help To Buy Mortgage Guarantee Scheme.

Nationwide Building Society has provided a House Purchase guide for Armed Forces personnel and it can be found here. (PDF, 1.21MB)