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March 2019

A Place to Call Home

In 2018 we helped more people own a home by providing over 36,000 mortgages, including 9,690 to first time buyers.

With average house prices almost eight times the average earnings of a full-time worker, we understand that getting on the property ladder and even moving home remain a challenge for many. To help tackle this, we took many steps last year to help our customers through this challenging process.

In September, through our Accord brand we launched a range of market leading Help to Buy mortgages, available exclusively to people who are buying a new property through the government’s Help to Buy scheme. Alongside these, our new Help To Buy ISA mortgage, which is exclusively for first-time buyers, offers a preferential deal for those who've saved using a Help To Buy ISA account, irrespective of the provider. This means they benefit from a preferential mortgage rate, as well as the government bonus that comes with the Help To Buy ISA.

In conjunction with these new mortgages, we have changed our criteria to allow borrowers purchasing new build properties to have just a 10% deposit, compared to 15% previously. As we know new build properties can encounter delays, we will now reissue mortgage offers for these properties for a further six months, providing the customers’ circumstances haven’t changed. We have also set up a specialist team of new-build underwriters and an expert help desk to ensure customers get the specialised support they need. These improvements have helped our customers buy 1,937 new build homes in 2018, an increase of 22% compared to the previous year.

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