Partnership helping first time buyers get on the property ladder

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FIRST time buyers are getting a helping hand onto the property ladder thanks to a new partnership.

In November last year, Lloyds TSB and Northumberland County Council launched Local Lend a Hand, a new initiative which helps first time buyers get on the property ladder.

Over the past four months, 12 first time buyers in Northumberland have applied for the scheme; almost £200,000 worth of funding has been allocated, and the first customers have now picked up their keys and moved into their homes.

Local Lend a Hand, which launched in branches of Lloyds TSB last November, lets first time buyers purchase a home with a minimum deposit of just five per cent of the purchase price.

Derek and Sally Scott from Widdrington are among the first people in Northumberland to purchase a new home through the scheme.

Derek said: “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.

“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 the Lend a Hand scheme we’ve just moved in to our own home, something that seemed completely out of our reach before we heard about the scheme.”

While the Local Lend a Hand scheme is being rolled out across the country, Northumberland County Council was one of the first local authorities in the north east to make the scheme available. Seven local residents have already purchased a home through the scheme with an average property value of £80,000.

Coun Tom Brechany, executive member responsible for housing at the council, 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 homebuyers in the area, and this will boost the local housing market as a whole.”

Stephen Noakes from Lloyds TSB added: “The aim of Local Lend a Hand is to make the housing market more accessible to first time buyers in Northumberland, and it’s great to see Mr and Mrs Scott move into their new home so quickly with the help of the scheme.

It shows that Local Lend a Hand really is providing a solution for people that might otherwise be put off by the size of deposit they’d need.”