You may be thinking of starting a new chapter in your family’s life and buying your own home, but it’s not easy to save for a deposit, especially if you don’t have a second income. So how can you get a leg up on the housing ladder? Here, AFF’s Money & Allowances Specialist, Claire Hallam, looks at some of the schemes that are available…

Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) – allows regular serving personnel to borrow an interest-free deposit of up to half their annual salary. The loan, which has to be repaid over ten years or when your soldier leaves the army, is capped at £25,000. You’re eligible to apply after completing 12 months’ service – discovermybenefits.mod.gov.uk.

First Homes – a new scheme available in England. It aims to help first-time buyers and key workers, by offering homes up to a certain value at a discount of 30 per cent compared to the market price. You’re eligible if you have a household income of less than £80,000 (£90,000 in Greater London) – gov.uk.

Lifetime ISA – if you’re under 40, you could consider opening a Lifetime ISA, which is a savings scheme for first-time buyers. See gov.uk/lifetime-isa.

Mortgage guarantee scheme – launched earlier this year to encourage lenders to offer 95 per cent mortgages again after they were withdrawn during the pandemic – you’ll need a five per cent deposit and the 95 per cent loan is backed by the government.

Shared ownership – you buy a percentage of your home and then pay rent on the rest, normally to a local housing association.

For more information on all the schemes available and eligibility criteria, including those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, see ownyourhome.gov.uk

Don’t forget, the Joint Services Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) also gives regular briefings – JSHAO.

The Services Insurance and Investment Advisory Panel (SIIAP) can help with your search for mortgage brokers that have experience of forces life – siiap.org

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