HomeBuy is a Government initiative that assists eligible individuals and families seeking a home ownership or rental solution to find solutions that meet their current needs. The Government has appointed a number of HomeBuy Agents throughout England to help those who are seeking to live in specific areas.
For many people, the HomeBuy Initiative will provide the best path to owning a home in the area in which they currently live and/or work. The initiative also offers discounted rental options for those who are eligible.
Catalyst HomeBuy (This link will open in a new window) is the HomeBuy service for Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey and is provided by Catalyst Housing.
The service is essentially a "one-stop-shop" service for Government supported home ownership and rental opportunities that exist in these areas. By registering with Catalyst HomeBuy, individuals are assessed to identify the schemes they are eligible for. The Catalyst HomeBuy service works with a number of organisations including housing associations, private developers and local authorities to ensure customers are kept informed about all the opportunities available to them.
Catalyst HomeBuy also organises regular home ownership shows. At these events, housing providers attend and give information on opportunities that they currently have available. Independent financial advisers and solicitors provide affordability assessments and offer advice free of charge. The HomeBuy show is a great opportunity to find out more information and have queries answered face to face. Entry to these shows is free so visit the website for the latest dates.
There are a number of different scheme types that are offered under the HomeBuy initiative. Depending on your individual circumstances you may find that one or more of these are available to you.
Shared Ownership is a part-buy/part-rent scheme (previously known as NewBuild HomeBuy) that enables the purchaser to buy a percentage of a newly built property or resale property, usually from a housing association and pay a reduced rent on the remaining percentage.
This scheme is especially appealing to individuals who are unable to:
Under this scheme, the purchaser initially buys between 25% to 75% of the newly built home from the particular provider. The provider then retains ownership of the unsold share on which a subsidised rent is implemented. The rent is normally paid on a monthly basis as it would if rented from a private landlord.
‘Staircasing’ is the term used when the resident decides to purchase a larger share of the property that he/she is currently a shared owner.
Resales are shared ownership homes that become available when existing ‘shared owners’ wish to sell their stake in the property they currently own. This is normally as a result of them moving up the property ladder due to a change in circumstances.
The share that can be purchased and the rent payable will differ from one property to another, as a result of differences in the percentage initially purchased and any staircasing activity that has occurred.
There are currently re sale opportunities available at Well Farm Heights in Whyteleafe.
Under this scheme, purchasers have the opportunity to initially rent a newly built property provided by a housing association (or other provider) at a rate which is normally 80% (or less) of the current market rental value. The rent is payable for a predefined period after which the tenant can purchase a share in the property on a shared ownership basis.
The rental period is aimed to give the prospective purchaser(s) an opportunity to save for a deposit to put towards buying a share of the property they are renting at a later date i.e. through shared ownership. Some providers of this scheme will also offer incentives to save while the property is being rented.
Equity loan schemes offer low-interest loans that boost a purchaser’s affordability by topping up the mortgage that they have obtained. These schemes allow individuals and families to purchase a property that they would normally be unable to afford. The loans offered will have varying repayment requirements depending on the specific provider and will sometimes offer interest free periods, followed by very favourable terms.
These schemes, when available, can either be attributed to specific local authority areas or employer segments and may be restricted to either new build developments or ‘open market’ properties. This will normally be dependent on who has developed the scheme.
Please note that the older HomeBuy Direct equity loan scheme is in its final stages. There is a limited opportunity available only in Milton Keynes. Please visit www.catalysthomebuy.co.uk for the latest availability.
Intermediate Market Rent
Intermediate Market Rent provides a short term tenancy at 80% of typical market rates in order to save a deposit to get on the property ladder. In most cases, the initial rental period is for six months and the person’s ongoing need for the property may be reviewed on a regular basis. Under some circumstances, at a later date, tenants may have the option to buy a share of the property by converting the tenure to Shared Ownership or through Rent to Buy.
This scheme allows some social housing or local authority tenants to buy their current home either outright or on a shared ownership basis with the benefit of a discount. To do so, their landlord must have decided to take part in the scheme. This is likely to be of interest to tenants who do not qualify for the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire, or who are not currently in a position to buy their home outright. Contact your landlord for more details.
Note: Mortgages for all affordable home ownership schemes and initiatives must be provided by a Qualified Lending Institution.
In addition, to be eligible for HomeBuy schemes, candidates must fit into one of the following criteria and must NOT have a household income in excess of £60,000 per annum.
Once you have met the initial eligibility criteria, the Government has prioritised the following four groups:
Those that currently reside in a council or housing association property on an ‘assured tenancy’ basis or in an ‘Affordable Rent’ property where, if they were to vacate the property, it would be made available to someone on the local authority housing list in that area.
Ministry of Defence (MoD) Personnel
Specific categories of staff employed by the Ministry of Defence as specified by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). These will include staff employed as regular service personnel (Military Provost Guard Service, in the Navy, Army and Air Force), clinical staff (with the exception of doctors and dentists), MoD Police Officers and uniformed staff in the Defence Fire Service.
Note: Ex-regular service personnel who have served in the Armed Forces for a minimum of six years, and can produce a Discharge Certificate (or similar documentation) as proof, where they apply within 12 months of the date of discharge from service. The surviving partners of Regular Service Personnel who have died in service, where they apply within 12 months of the date of being bereaved.
Some local authorities may specify individuals or groups that they want to prioritise in their area of operation. This may include employees of specified public sector organisations etc.
Individuals and families that are seeking their first step on to the property ladder, or have previously owned a property and have not had their name on the deeds of a property for an acceptable amount of time.
As a general rule, existing homeowners are not eligible for HomeBuy products. However, all current home owners who wish to be considered are now required to have a 'Priority Need for Accommodation' approved by their current local authority BEFORE they can be accepted on to the HomeBuy register.
Once you have completed your HomeBuy registration, you will be advised of the process for local authority approval.
Reasons for seeking approval could include the following:
The priority need for accommodation will be assessed in accordance with the Housing Act 1996.
In most circumstances you must not have been in rent arrears over the last 12 months. Due to standard mortgage evaluation checks, it is likely that if you have a low credit rating you will be unable to proceed in the purchase of a property.
Your name, or the name of any joint registrant, must not currently be on the deeds of another property whether in the United Kingdom or abroad. However, under certain circumstances this may be flexible. If you have a query on this, please call our HomeBuy Team on 0845 601 7729.
You are required to certify that the information you provide is complete and accurate.
Register with Catalyst HomeBuy by setting up your personal profile online at www.catalysthomebuy.co.uk. Alternatively, call our HomeBuy Team on 0845 601 7729 for a registration form.
What happens next?
Once on the Catalyst HomeBuy Register, you will: -
This information is provided by Catalyst Housing and is subject to change so please visit the website – www.catalysthomebuy.co.uk for the latest details as this is updated regularly. Catalyst Housing accepts no responsibility in relation the accuracy of information provided.
You can also search for your new home with the Catalyst HomeBuy Mobile App if you have an Iphone, Ipad or Android multimedia device. Just text ‘CATALYST IPHONE’ or CATALYST ANDROID’ to 60123 to receive an instant link, or search for ‘Catalyst HomeBuy’ in your app store.
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