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First-time Buyer: Help to Buy gave this house buyer just the leg-up she needed

Proud owner: Yasmine Majeed bagged a three-bed home aged 21

ACCORDING to UK Finance, which produces in-depth information on mortgage trends, the average age of a first-time buyer is now 32. Yasmine Majeed, a business energy consultant who works in Brighton, has managed to beat the odds by purchasing her first home at just 21.

She originally planned to rent but found that many landlords wouldn’t accept such a young tenant without a guarantor or a prohibitively large deposit. Frustrated, Yasmine decided to investigate whether buying would be feasible, and found the Help to Buy equity loan scheme could open the door to home ownership.

Last year, she bought a three-bed semi off-plan at Barratt Homes’ Chalkers Rise in Peacehaven, East Sussex, eight miles from Brighton. She moved in during the summer.

‘I had been saving for a while to move out, but thought I would be renting, as owning seemed out of reach,’ explains Yasmine. ‘I was amazed to find out that I could actually buy my own home using Help to Buy, and decided that this was the route I wanted to go down.’

Help to Buy works by providing a loan for up to 20 per cent of the purchase price (40 per cent in London), meaning buyers only have to find a five per cent deposit.

‘Chalkers Rise is round the corner from where I was living with my parents. As soon as I saw the show home, I decided to buy off-plan. This was a bit scary as I hadn’t actually seen my house, but it gave me more time to save for things such as furniture and council tax, so I didn’t have to stress when I got the keys.’

Yasmine’s now busy settling in, and plans to take advantage of some of the perks at Chalkers Rise, which include a free bus pass. ‘My commute will be easier if I choose to use the bus pass, as I won’t have to worry about driving,’ she says. ‘I’m proud that I’ve been able to buy my own house. Help to Buy is a brilliant way for young people like me to get onto the property ladder. It was such an easy process.’

The Help to Buy equity loan is interest-free for the first five years. From year six, you’ll be charged interest at 1.75 per cent, a rate that increases every subsequent year in line with the Retail Price Index, plus one per cent.

It is currently available to all home movers (but not investors), for properties costing up to £600,000, but from April 2021, eligibility will be restricted to people who have never owned a property before. Lower regional price caps are also being introduced.

Do the maths

Full price for a similar three-bed house: £354,995

5 per cent deposit: £17,749

20 per cent Help to Buy loan: £71,000

Mortgage: £1,062p/m

Estate charge: £10p/m

Total monthly spend: £1,072

Chalkers Rise is a short walk from Peacehaven seafront and close to the South Downs National Park. Nearly a third of homes have a car-charging point, and residents are offered a free bus pass for six months and a year’s free car club membership. One-bed apartments start at £194,995, and three-bed houses at £354,995, with four-beds from £369,995. Help to Buy available,

Home buyers event

IF YOU’RE considering taking your first step onto the property ladder, don’t miss the Home Buyers Event which is being hosted by Fairview New Homes this Friday and Saturday.

You’ll be able to learn about Fairview’s entire portfolio of new developments across the capital, including The Lane in Tottenham, above, where one, two and three-bed apartments start from £315,000, and Altitude in Hornsey, from £397,000. Discover how London Help to Buy can turn your home ownership dream into reality, and have your questions answered by experts.

Solicitors, financial advisers and interior designers will be on hand offering advice and support, as will Lawrence Bowles, a senior analyst at Savills estate agency.

Attendees will also be able to get the lowdown on what buying a new Fairview home is like, at Q&A sessions with purchasers from Hydro in Surrey Quays and Venue in Anerley. Incentives — such as a Stamp Duty contribution, furniture pack, curtains or blinds, legal fees and moving costs — are available to those reserving at the event. It’s free to attend but you will need to book in advance to go at

The Home Buyers event takes place on Friday January 31, 12 noon — 7pm and on Saturday February 1, 10am-5pm at Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London SE1 9DD.