First-time buyers are being given a helping hand getting on the property ladder thanks to an innovative scheme by Eastbourne Borough Council and Lloyds Bank.
The Local Lend a Hand scheme will help first-time buyers purchase a home with a five per cent deposit, allowing the bank to offer a mortgage of up to 95 per cent.
This will overcome the problem many young people face of saving up thousands of pounds for a suitable deposit - something that can take years and is no doubt a huge contributing factor to the fact the average age of first-time buyers is now around 33-34 years old.
The council has set aside £1 million that it hopes will help 34 people take the first step on the property ladder.
Councillor David Tutt said, “One of our corporal objectives is to help young people and to help them find homes that are right for the future. It’s very difficult for people to save the initial deposit and so this is a way of helping them.
“I was listening to a couple from Hastings who are now in their first house and absolutely delighted about it and full of praise for the way the scheme’s worked over there. “
Eastbourne Borough Council will be the second council in Sussex to roll out the scheme after Hastings launched it in January 2012. Since then, it’s proved highly successful in helping young people buy their first homes.
Lloyds TSB bank manager Richard Constantine explained a bit more about how the scheme works. He said, “What it means is that first-time buyers only need to find a five per cent deposit now as opposed to previously having to find a ten per cent deposit, which is far more achievable.
“They can purchase properties up to the value of £145,000, which means the lending will be £137,500 and hopefully we’ll be able to help out 35 people in Eastbourne get onto the property ladder for the first time.
“We know it’s difficult to get on the property ladder, we know that youngsters are having to stay at home now for longer than they would want.
“The scheme was run twice by Hastings Borough Council because it was so successful the first time. Both times they used up their full allocation of funding and obviously we’re hoping to replicate that good work here.”
The scheme accepts joint applications, as long as one of the pair is a first-time buyer.
Amy Simmons is one of many who have taken an interest in the Local Lend a Hand scheme and hopes it will help her and her boyfriend buy their first house together.
The 24-year-old said, “We’re looking to move out but realistically, we’re never going to be able to save the 20 per cent deposit that we’d need. I found out about the scheme through the local council and so have come in to speak to an advisor and consider my options.
“It’s a fantastic scheme, buying with five per cent, otherwise we’d never be able to get on the property ladder.”