Council mortgage scheme offering real Helping Hand for first-time buyers in Leeds

Caption: New homeowner John Egginton (second from right) receiving the keys to his new home from Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield flanked by Leeds Building Society’s Head of Corporate Communication Gary Brook and Councillor Mary Harland (Kippax and Methley)

Up to 18 new homeowners in Leeds are in line to secure their first houses after taking part in a mortgage deposit scheme supported by Leeds City Council.

Eleven first-time buyers have already completed deals to buy homes in recent weeks through Leeds Building Society’s ‘Helping Hand’ scheme, with a possible further seven currently being processed.

The scheme, which officially began in Leeds in September last year, sees first-time buyers able to secure a property valued at up to £160,000 with just a five per cent deposit, as the council underwrites the other 20 per cent of the deposit.

The scheme is aimed at those who have the means to be able to make the monthly repayments of a mortgage, but cannot provide the full 25 per cent deposit required by lenders.

The idea behind the scheme is to provide a much-needed boost to the housing market in Leeds as well as associated local industries such as estate agents, removals firms and construction or refurbishment.

The first successful applicant in Leeds was John Egginton, who was able to take the keys to his new home at Valley Ridge in Kippax before Christmas.

After being able to buy his first home through the ‘Helping Hand’ scheme, 30-year-old John Egginton from Garforth said:

“I rented accommodation with a friend in Kippax until about two years ago when my circumstances changed so I moved back home to my parents house to save some money.

“I had intended on moving out immediately to rent a property, however lets were hard to come by, were extremely expensive and low quality. Buying was a pipe dream as first-time buyers had to stump up around 20% deposit at least. Then towards the end of last year I spotted the advert for the 95% mortgage and three months later I had my new house keys in my hand.”

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“It was wonderful to be able to meet John and see how proud he is to now have his first home. To see the effect something like the Helping Hand scheme can have in terms of making a massive positive difference to someone’s life is fantastic, especially in the context of the 26,500 people currently on the council housing waiting list and young families who are desperate for somewhere to live.

“The current housing market is making it almost impossible for people to be able to get on the first rung of the property ladder, so I am delighted that the council can help first-time buyers like this.

“This scheme is a great example of how new ideas can have a real impact, with the local economy also benefiting through all the related businesses which are part of buying or moving into a house. We look forward to many more people following John’s lead and using the scheme to achieve their dream of owning their first home.”

The council has set aside a total of £2 million for the scheme for an initial five-year period, but an important element is that anyone wishing to make use of it must meet strict criteria set down by the Leeds Building Society to prove they can afford the repayments.

Leeds Building Society’s Head of Corporate Communication Gary Brook said:

“We are all well aware of the difficulties facing first-time buyers, as saving for a large deposit can be a barrier to home ownership.

“At Leeds Building Society we are delighted to be able to work with Leeds City Council to support people in the city achieve their aspiration of owning their own home.”

For more information about the ‘Helping Hand’ scheme call into any local branch of the Leeds Building Society or call 08450 540 994, where qualified mortgage advisors are available seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.

Notes to editors:

Local Authority Mortgage Scheme Key Features

5 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

• 5.49% fixed up to and including 30 November 2017

• Available up to 95% loan to value

• No Higher Lending charge

• Free standard valuation up to £335

• No Completion Fee

• 10% capital repayments allowed each year without incurring an early repayment charge

• £199 Booking Fee

• Maximum loan of £152,000

• Tapered early repayment charges of 5% of the amount redeemed in years 1 and 2, 4% in year 3, 3% in year 4 and 2% in year 5.

The Helping Hand 95% mortgage is available to first-time-buyers only in the Metropolitan boundary of Leeds and includes some areas with a Bradford and Wakefield postcode.

Leeds Building Society has assets of £10bn (as at 30 June 2012) and 67 branches throughout the UK, Gibraltar and Ireland. The Society has operated from the centre of Leeds since 1886.


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde,

Leeds City Council press office,

Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472

Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk


Gary Brook

PR Manager

Leeds Building Society

Telephone: 0113 225 7606

Out of Hours: 07866455111

Email: gbrook@leedsbuildingsociety.co.uk