THE WELSH Government has announced their £170 million equivalent of England’s Help to Buy scheme for homeowners.

Help to Buy – Wales was announced by Carl Sargeant AM, the Minister for Housing and Regeneration, at Redrow Homes' Mon Bank development in Newport yesterday.

Potential homeowners will be able to apply for the first shared equity loans, up to a maximum of £300,000, from January 2 next year.

If buyers apply for a loan of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of their property, it must be a new-build home bought from a builder registered with the scheme.

It must also be their only home.

They must also have a five per cent deposit and pass an affordability assessment before buying the house.

While the loan can be paid off at any time, buyers must have paid it back within 25 years.

All loans from the scheme, which will end on March, 31 2016, will be interest free for the first five years.

From year six onwards, interest on the loan will be charged at 1.75 per cent. This will then increase with the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus one per cent.

In England people can apply for loans of up to £600,000.

Mr Sargeant said: “This reflects the different nature of the housing market in Wales and will ensure that our support is focussed towards the people most in need of our assistance.”

All funds will be transferred to solicitors in Wales but in England loan payments are paid directly to the house builder. Mr Sargeant said the Welsh Government’s plan would reduce legal burdens on builders.

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