A step up the property ladder

A WIDDRINGTON couple have reaped the benefits of a new scheme which helps first-time buyers get on the property ladder.

Lloyds TSB and Northumberland County Council launched Local Lend a Hand in November and since then almost £200,000 worth of funding has been allocated.

Under the initiative first-time buyers can purchase a home with a minimum deposit of just five per cent of the purchase price. Seven local residents have already done so, with an average property value of £80,000.

Among those taking up the scheme are Derek and Sally Scott, from Widdrington.

“We’ve been keen to get on the property ladder since we got married over a year and a half ago, but despite saving hard we were struggling to get a big enough deposit together,” said Mr Scott.

“We heard about the scheme through a radio advert and it has been fantastic. Not only did it reduce the amount of deposit we needed significantly, it also gave us access to a lower interest rate so we can be confident we can afford the monthly repayments. Thanks to Lend a Hand we’ve just moved in to our own home – something that seemed completely out of our reach before we heard about the scheme.”

Subject to Lloyds TSB’s usual lending criteria, first-time buyers are able to select a property within the county and borrow up to a maximum £95,000.

They will put down five percent of the property price and Northumberland County Council will provide a cash backed indemnity of up to 20 per cent as additional security. The authority then earns interest on this amount.

The house buyer owns the property and has access to products at a lower rate of interest than would normally be available for this level of deposit.

Council Executive Member for Housing Tom Brechany said: “It is great news that, after just a few months, we are already seeing first-time buyers across Northumberland get the keys to their first home.

“These are the first steps to helping over 100 home buyers in the area, and this will boost the local housing market as a whole.”

Those interested in the Northumberland version of the national scheme should visit their local branch of Lloyds TSB for more information.