BuildStore has launched a new range of low-cost mortgages for the self build sector, including a new product in partnership with Furness Building Society.

With over 25 years’ of experience and over 30,000 completed projects, BuildStore identified a need for a low-cost mortgage range to support more people as they work to achieve their goal of self building.

The first low-cost product from the Furness Building Society has a discounted rate at 2.7% below the society’s Mortgage Variable Rate for the first two years, which has a current pay rate of 5.99%.

With this product customers can borrow up to 70% on land and build costs or up to 100% of build costs if the plot is already owned. A completion fee of £1,500 applies, and early repayment charges will apply for the first two years.

This is the first product in the new low cost range, with several of BuildStore’s lenders preparing to launch low cost product.

Traditional self build mortgages from high street lenders carry the risk of receiving less money than expected due to down valuations, which can cause serious cashflow problems, and cause your build to grind to a halt.

BuildStore’s cost-based mortgages provide guaranteed stage payments, which are agreed upon as part of the mortgage and are linked to your project’s build costs.

This means that borrowers can confidently plan their finances, knowing precisely how much funding they will receive at each product stage, ensuring financial transparency throughout your construction journey.

BuildStore provides a detailed forecast of your build costs, carried out by a construction professional as part of your mortgage application, saving you time, ensuring your budget is realistic and reducing the risk of running out of money. They also analyse your cashflow to ensure you always have money in the bank to keep your build moving.

Chris Martin, BuildStore’s Head of Mortgages, said: “We’ve built a reputation over many years as the UK’s leading self build mortgage broker. Our mortgages remove the risks associated with other products by helping customers ensure they have properly budgeted their build and know exactly what they’ll receive at each stage of their project.

“This new range is available for self and custom build, conversion, or renovation projects. It provides the extra benefits and peace of mind of a BuildStore mortgage at a low cost and makes getting a mortgage for a homebuilding project even more affordable.”

Read about the new Consumer Duty for mortgage companies. 

A recent survey by Suffolk Building Society found that 69% of would-be self builders were unaware that some mortgage lenders will lend for the purchase land as well as for build costs, as long as the land has planning permission in place, making it a certainty.

The research by Suffolk Building Society of 2,000 people also found that many people saw finance and obtaining land as the biggest barriers, but despite this a third of the respondents said they would consider a self build. This was only marginally down from 2020, the last time they asked the questions, showing potential self builders were not overly put off by the economy.

Correspondingly, concern over financing a project was the number one barrier for those interested in self build: other concerns were around seeking planning permission and difficulties in finding suitable land.

Suffolk Building Society believes this lack of awareness about borrowing for land may put people from the idea of self building, believing that it is only for those who are cash-rich or for those with an existing, or gifted, plot. 

The research found that just over half of those who are considering a self build at some point still believe that the route is the preserve of the very wealthy.

Richard Norrington, Chief Executive at Suffolk Building Society said: “Self build television series undoubtedly make for great viewing, but they do set the bar remarkably high. One could easily assume that self build is only for those with unlimited time and deep pockets.

“Self build is considered a fairly standard route to homeownership in countries such as Hungary, France, and Sweden, and with better education and awareness, self build could become more mainstream here in the UK too.”

Self build facts

The survey showed that, actually, the propensity to consider a self build decreases with age: younger people in their 20s (60%) and 30s (56%) are significantly more interested than those in their 50s (16%) and 60s (7%). 

This shows a different picture than much of the other research out there, such as NaCSBA’s own research with the NSBRC of people building, which found that almost three quarters of actual self builders are 55 or over. But it is welcome news that young people are interested in the route. 


As a main motivator, the ability to design the layout of their own home dropped significantly to 28% from 51% in 2020. Instead the research pointed to a range of reasons for self building, including the route being a more affordable way to achieve the ideal home (15%) or having a home in the ideal location (12%). Importantly for government, one in ten (9%) of those considering a self build were doing so to create a home for multiple generations to live together.

Sustainability remains a consistently important motivator, with four in five (83%) wanting the ability to make eco-friendly decisions about their home. However, of these, seven in ten would said such decisions would be dependent on budget.


About the survey: Research undertaken amongst 2,000 UK adults by Opinium on behalf of Suffolk Building Society.

In July 2023 the Consumer Duty came into force, a set of new mortgage industry rules that changed the way mortgage advisers operate. This reinforced the need for mortgage advisers to make sure that they, and the mortgage deal they recommend, produce the right outcomes for their customer.

To help custom and self builders understand the Consumer Duty changes, Chris Martin, Head of Mortgages at leading self-build mortgage broker BuildStore Mortgage Services explains how the rules should ensure you get the right deal to fund your project.

“The new Consumer Duty rules focus on making sure mortgage products and services offer fair value, that customers fully understand how the product works and what features, benefits and risks are included and that the customer gets the right support through the mortgage process,” explains Chris.

“They specifically refer to advisers having to focus on ‘avoiding foreseeable harm’ when helping their customers. This means that mortgage advisers need to look at their customers’ needs and consider what could go wrong and if the product they’re recommending adequately deals with these risks.

“Arranging a mortgage to pay for your self build is more complex than simply getting a better deal for the mortgage on your current home.

“Unless you’re fortunate enough to have another property to raise money on to pay for your build, you’re likely to look for a stage payment self-build mortgage where money is handed over to you by the lender as your build progresses.

“The key question to ask your adviser here is how the lender decides how much they’ll release to you at each stage of your build. Money you spend on your build – particularly in the early stages – is often not reflected in the lender’s assessment of the value of your part-built site.

“If your lender releases money based on an uplift in the value of your project, then you run a real risk of not getting what you need and running out of cash. This could lead to long delays and scrabbling around to find funds from elsewhere.

“At worst your build could come to a standstill and contractors could move to other jobs. If – as is common on custom build sites – you have a contract with the builder where you have to make specific payments at certain times, then you could find you’re in breach of your contract if you can’t get the money you need from your lender.

“This scenario is the most relevant example of a ‘foreseeable harm’ for self or custom build – and can be easily avoided. There are many deals available where the lender agrees a schedule of stage payments as part of the mortgage application and links these to your build costs as they come about – there are no valuations during your project so you know from the start exactly what you’ll get as your project progresses.

“If you only ask your adviser one question, this is the one to go for. If you’re recommended a product which needs a site valuation each time you want more money, you need to ask your adviser to confirm how they’re sure you’ll get the money you need to cover your costs at each stage.

“At BuildStore we’ve seen the arrival of the new rules as a great step forward as we know that getting the wrong mortgage deal can have huge consequences for self-builders. We’ve been helping people fund their homebuilding projects for over 25 years so we’ve seen everything that can go wrong. We offer a package of products and processes to help avoid these problems – what are now being called poor outcomes and foreseeable harms.

“We’ve got access to over sixty guaranteed stage payment, no valuation mortgage deals and we provide a professional check of build costs for every customer to make sure their expected costs are realistic. We’ll also review each customer’s cashflow through their build to make sure they won’t run out of money, based on the cash available, expected build costs and agreed mortgage releases.”

New products exclusive to BuildStore

BuildStore recently carried out a review of the self-build mortgage market and realised that some self-builders – particularly those who are borrowing a lower proportion of their project costs – were more likely to choose their mortgage deal based on interest rate and fees without fully understanding if the product has the right features to make sure their build is successful – and avoid poor outcomes and harms.

To make sure everyone has the opportunity to get their mortgage at a great price and get the features and support they need to complete their build successfully, BuildStore has launched a range of exclusive new deals.

These products offer market-leading rates and fees to those who need to borrow less than 70% of their build costs, with the benefit of guaranteed stage payments, no valuations, a free cost build cost assessment and support from our team right through the build.

For more help and advice visit our help section on the Self Build Portal

NaCSBA member Potton is celebrating its 60th year in the timber frame business with its first open day in 2024 on Saturday 6th January at its St Neots show centre

The day is a packed overview of the entire build process when building with Potton, ideal for novice and serial self builders. As well as the opportunity to see the range of show homes on the site, visitors can drop in, without an appointment, to have a chat and their questions answered.

Potton’s self-build consultants will be in the Gransden to offer expert advice informally, or with one-to-one sessions, and there is a programme of morning talks visitors can join.

Seminar timetable
10.40am – 11.20am Build & Budget. An overview of the self build process.

11.40am – 12.20pm Timber frame or SIPS  Discover the pros and cons of these different build systems and the benefits of offsite construction.

12.40pm – 1.20pm Designing your dream home. A step-by-step guide to designing your ideal home, including the local authority planning context, approvals and tailoring your home to your needs.

Plus on the day, each show house a specialist in it acting as a hub with the: Design Hub in The Milchester, the Land Hub in the Wickhambrook, the Build Hub in The Elsworth.

Plus you’ll get the chance to raise a glass of fizz to Potton to celebrate it’s 60th year!

Sign up for Potton’s Self Build Day on 6 January


Swansea Building Society has been helping people get on the housing ladder since 1923 with a considerable number of years operating in the self build market.

We caught up with Richard Miles, the Society’s Head of Savings & Marketing / Area Manager (East Region), who explained why building societies are such major players in self builds, and why the personal touch can make a difference to your own self build journey.

When it comes to financing a self build nearly everyone will need some form of finance, explains Richard, with most needing to take a self build mortgage. This is different from a conventional mortgage as the lender typically lends in stages (see below), corresponding with build phases. To acknowledge the greater risk in comparison to a conventional mortgage, the fees and interest rates tend to be higher.

However, on completion the self build mortgage can usually be transferred to a conventional product, so it gets your house built and then you move on to a standard mortgage product.

Some mortgages will finance the land purchase, while some people may have savings to start the process, and need the self build mortgage to follow through to completion.

The nature of a self build mortgage also means that you will have more of a relationship with your lender for the duration of the build. This can build trust, which is where building societies like the Swansea have an edge.

The building society difference

Building societies come out on top for many self builders as they tend to be more local in their approach, often with people, rather than a computer, underwriting a project, and making local visits.

This means they understand exactly what you are planning, rather than a ‘computer says no’ scenario. Self building often fits well with building societies’ core values of helping people with home ownership, rather than purely focusing on profits.

Having a good relationship with your lender can be transformative in terms of not only securing your lending, but also your experience during your build. A personal relationship with your lender can make site inspections easier and keep communication channels open.

For example, at Swansea Building Society we lend on self build projects in Wales and the Welsh borders (and the rest of England on a case by case basis), but we like to ensure that our self build clients are close enough that we can make personal site visits if needed.

This helps build trust and understanding when the unexpected occurs or on a complicated project, explains Richard.

Typical fund release stages for a stand alone self build might be:

  • Land
  • Foundations/plot
  • Wallplate/eaves (ie the structure up to the roof)
  • Wind and watertight (windows and roof on)
  • First and second fix
  • Completion

Securing your self build mortgage:

To obtain a self build mortgage, you need to be aware of your expected costs and have your plans ready to discuss your project.

You must also have an understanding about the reality of your planning situation with full planning permission in place at time of the mortgage application. And of course you need to factor in a contingency fund, which should be a minimum 10%, but we would suggest at least 15-20% in these uncertain times with fluctuating material and labour prices.

When choosing a lender you also need to consider whether you need an arrears or advance stage payment product. For those with some cash to invest, an arrears product may offer a better interest rate as it pays after the completion of each phase. On the other hand, an advance product pays before each phase to allow you to build, but there are fewer lenders operating in the market offering this.

For more insight about finance and VAT visit our How to Build section

Tips for finance

  • Research a range of lenders before you’re ready to take out a mortgage so you know what lending they are prepared to do (which can vary between lenders), and get a feel for the organisation’s values.
  • Understand what inspection phases will be necessary for your self build, as these may vary on a self build vs custom build, or for different structural methods, i.e. brick and block or timber frame.

Case study – self builder

Here’s what one self builder said about why her choice of Swansea Building Society was the right one for her (see the images of her home):

“The advice and support given by Sioned Jones, Area Manager at the Carmarthen Branch, was comforting and made the whole process an easy step-by-step route to being able to build our home. The flexibility of their lending criteria and rates puts them at the top of the list when it comes to wanting to move forward with buying a plot and developing. You remain in charge of the project with Sioned and her team there to support you at any time you need.

“The application process is relatively short and hassle free. Swansea BS has experienced valuers who visit the property before and during construction at key stages to release funds within days. The trust between everyone involved from start to finish cannot be underestimated. We would happily recommend them to anyone and everyone!

 Questions for your lender

  • Can you engage directly with them or do they only work through a broker?
  • What deposit do you need to contribute, and what are they prepared to lend?
  • Will they lend on the land, or just the phases?
  • Are there any systems they don’t lend on?
  • What are the inspections/money release stages?
  • Will you have a personal relationship with your lender – will the same person be doing the site inspections?
  • Is the self build mortgage an interest only product for the life of the build?
  • Can you switch rates to a more favourable rate once the build is completed?

Find Building Societies in the Member Directory on the Self Build Portal, as well as brokers such as Glasgow Mortgage Company, Mayflower and BuildLoan (via BuildStore). 

Member update

Ecology Building Society has launched a new range of mortgages designed for homes built using modern methods of construction (MMC), ideal for self and custom builders.

Its new Off-site Build products have four initial modular manufacturers signed, including Agile Homes (garden room, below), HebHomes (night image below), nHouse Commercial and R. House (main picture), with more to follow.

A long-standing NaCSBA member, Ecology Building Society specialises in mortgages that support energy efficient homes and better building, with over 40 year’s of experience in the market.

What is MMC?

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) refers to systems that are manufactured offsite in a factory, and they can involve a range of approaches, such is insulated concrete formwork or timber frame. In this case the new products are for panel-based modular manufacturers offering whole home systems.

These systems use panellised units that are made off-site in the factory before being assembled on-site. It is a system that can easily create an energy-efficient home, with significantly quicker construction times, improved and more consistent build quality and a lower carbon footprint achieved by reducing transport emissions, using more sustainable building materials and reducing construction waste.

Self and custom builders can choose an arrears payment product, or, for the first time, an advanced payment mortgage secured against the panels while they are being manufactured in the factory. Ecology believes this will make it easier for more people to access mortgage finance for such MMC builds.

House building is going to become more sustainable as government now recognises the urgent need to reduce the carbon impact of house building. It wants new homes to reduce their carbon emissions by 75% by 2025.

Gareth Griffiths, Ecology’s Chief Executive said: “Decarbonising our homes is key to meeting our net-zero ambitions. Now, more than ever, it’s important that lenders play an active role in incentivising green building and helping to reduce energy bills.

“We hope that our new mortgages will help scale-up modern methods of construction to deliver more homes built to higher energy-efficiency standards.

“The introduction of the ‘advanced payment’ mortgage option is an exciting first for Ecology, making energy efficient off-site build homes more accessible for those borrowers who may require up-front funding.

“Our innovative approach, to secure our lending, in advance, on the modular panels while they are in the factory, has the potential to be a game-changer, helping to realise the environmental benefits of off-site construction, which will be critical in the fight against climate change.”

Self builders in Scotland need to be quick if they’re hoping to apply for the Self Build Loan Fund, which closes on the 31 August 2022.

Administered by the Communities Housing Trust (CHT)  on behalf of the Scottish Government, the fund is designed to support self or custom builders, allowing them to finance the construction of their new home up to a maximum of £175,000.

In March 2021, Scottish government extended the Fund for another year to allow for the inevitable delays brought on by the pandemic and its impacts on labour and materials. At the same time it boosted the fund by £2 million.

The fund was launched on 1 September 2018 and is open to applications from individuals who have been unable to secure self-build mortgage finance from the mainstream market for their project, but are in the position that they can repay the loan by 31 August 2023.

To date, the fund has financed the projects of 40 families and individuals in 13 local authority areas: Aberdeenshire, Argyll & Bute, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, Falkirk, Highland, South Lanarkshire, Orkney, Perth & Kinross, Scottish Borders, Shetland, Stirling and the Western Isles, with more to come.

Find out more about the fund and the applicants on the CHT website.

In February 2021 the CHT created a short briefing paper about the impact of the fund, which you can see here and captured in the infograhpic below.

This reflected growing demand for the Self-Build Loan Fund, with increasing interest over 2020, rising by 153%.


Self Build Loan Scotland

Source: CHT

Main image: Image by Sharon Ang from Pixabay

Ethical lender Ecology Building Society is incentivising sustainable building with a new range of discounts for the most energy efficient homes on its C-Change mortgages for custom and self build homes.

The new discounts have a maximum discount of 1.5% off the rate for homes that reach Passsivhaus standards, with a sliding scale of discounts available for other highly energy efficient standards. The enhanced range builds on the building society’s record for supporting sustainable and energy efficient projects.

Not only do the new discounts help meet the UK’s net-zero ambitions, but they are a welcome incentive at a time of increasing mortgage rates and the wider cost of living crisis.

How the products work

Ecology’s self-build mortgages start with an initial rate of 4.99% during the construction phase of your project (from 1 August). Once completed, borrowers who have achieved the right standard are eligible for a C-Change discount of up to 1.5% based on the SAP rating in the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) or if the property is accredited to the AECB Building Standard or Passivhaus standard.

The changes also include the addition of dedicated discounts for homes built to a SAP rating from 100 to 109 and SAP ratings of more than 110, of 1% and 1.25% respectively. This is a first, which Ecology is referring to as A+ and A++, that reflects the environmental performance of homes built to a standard that generates more energy than they consume.

Building Regulations require that a SAP calculation and a predicted ‘On construction’ Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is submitted for new dwellings prior to building work commencing.

New range of C-Change Sustainable Homes discounts

Ecology Green discounts

For example, if the finished build is accredited to the Passivhaus standard a discount of 1.5% applies giving a variable rate of 3.49% for the remaining term of the mortgage (from 1 August). An application fee of £799 is payable and applicants can borrow up to 80% of the property’s value in stages to support the progress of the build.

The decision to enhance the discounts comes at a time when the government is recognising the urgent need to reduce the carbon impact of house building and has stated that new homes much reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2025.

The Society also offers a Renovation Mortgage where a property is being purchased for renovation or retrofit. They will consider lending on homes in any condition, as long as the works required improve the energy efficiency of the property. On completion of the renovation the Society’s retrofit discounts apply.

Daniel Capstick, Ecology’s Mortgage manager explains, “Now more than ever it’s important that lenders play an active role in incentivising green building and helping to reduce energy bills. We’ve been leading the way on sustainable mortgages for over 40 years, and we hope that the updates to the C-Change discounts will encourage our borrowers to build even more energy efficient homes, which is critical in the fight against climate change.”

Mark Stevenson, Chair of the National Custom and Self Build Association said:  “NaCSBA knows that custom and self-builders lead the way in innovation and sustainability, as individuals invest more in a home that they have designed to suit their needs than a speculative builder would.

“This was evidenced in our 2022 Custom and Self Build Market Report, where over half of all self-builders said they had used a sustainable heat source in their project. Ecology’s new discounts are a welcome incentive in the market, rewarding those who want to build a more sustainable future for themselves and their communities, and which set a challenge for the wider industry to raise its game and promote more sustainable construction practices.”

Find out more about Ecology’s C-Change mortgages

Image credit: Image by MVOprp from Pixabay

Government has opened the much anticipated Help to Build equity loan scheme, with applications accepted from 27 June. Initially announced in March 2021, the Help to Build equity loan scheme will help more people with smaller deposits access an owner commissioned home.

The scheme will make a big difference to many, as most custom and self build homes were unable to access Help to Buy, and this scheme will help redress the balance. Based on proposals from NaCSBA, the Help to Build will enable many more people to build the homes that they want to live in, bring choice and diversity to the market.

Help to Build – how it works

The £150 million of initial funding will offer people an equity loan of between 5% to 20% (up to 40% in London) of the total estimated cost. But to qualify you need to meet set criteria, set out in the prospectus.

To qualify you can spend no more than £600,000 on your new home, including the cost of the land, unless you already own it. In this case you can spend no more than £400,000 on the build.

To apply you need to:

  1. Have a deposit of at least 5%
  2. Secure a self build mortgage, from a lender registered for Help to Build, or through a broker.
  3. Apply for Help to Build through Homes England

Full details are available in the Help to Build Prospectus

Successful applicants will receive an equity loan offer based on the estimated cost to buy a plot and the build costs. Once your home is complete, Homes England pays the equity loan to the registered lender.

Remember, this is not a discount scheme – the costs are the same as if you were funding the build yourself, and the loan attracts interest. For the first five years no interest is charged, and is only applied from year six onwards, and the total amount you pay is related to the value of your home at the time of the loan being settled, as opposed to how much you borrowed at the start.

Plus, once offered, you have a three year period to find land and complete your home.

While you’re building you’ll be on a self build mortgage, which typically pays out money at different build phases, and on completion you will transfer to a regular repayment mortgage. It is at this point that the equity loan element is paid to the lender by the government.

Find out more about Finance and Fees

“Help to Build is important because it opens up custom and self-build as an option to those with smaller budgets and in particular smaller savings. Access to finance is just part of the answer. The key constraint is access to land with permission to build. This challenge is being addressed in part through the Right to Build legislation, which requires local authorities to ensure enough plots are permissioned to match the demand on the registers that they operate.

“However, some local authorities have been too slow to respond to the legislation, and it is important that they do more, not least to respond to the increased demand following the launch of this scheme. This is why the government’s response to the Bacon Review, also published today, and the ongoing funding to the Right to Build Task force are important pieces in a wider plan,” says Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, NaCSBA CEO.

Karen Curtin, managing director at Graven Hill, the UK’s largest custom and self build development, welcomed the Help to Build scheme, saying it was long overdue. 

“The Help to Build scheme is a dream come true for many would-be self-builders, and we’re in full support of the initiative. With applications now open, the UK is finally moving in the right direction as we continue to revolutionise the housing market. Gone are the days of self and custom building being for the few – we are thrilled to see it become an option for the many,” she said.

How could it work?

During the build
You borrow from your mortgage lender:

Deposit: £20k (5%)
Self build mortgage: £380k (95%)
Total amount: £400k

Once completed
Once your home is ready and (should you still want the equity loan) government pays it to your lender to reduce the amount you need to borrow on your repayment mortgage. The example below shows a loan outside London (based on 20% – within London government will lend up to 40%)

Equity loan: £80k (20%)
Deposit: £20k (5%)
Equity loan: £80k (20%)
Repayment mortgage: £300k (75%)
Total amount: £400k

Andrew Craddock, Darlington Building Society Chief Executive said: “Extending into Help to Build was a logical step as the Society has been at the forefront of self-build lending for over a decade, in partnership with BuildLoan.

“Self-build isn’t the preserve of the wealthy, and Help to Build makes it more practical and accessible than ever before for people to build their dream home. This scheme also opens up the opportunities to first-time buyers. It is a fantastic example of the market moving with the times, and people’s changing wants and needs.

“With 40% of UK emissions coming from homes in the UK, self-build projects can also offer a greener alternative, as people can opt to add more environmentally conscious measures – both during the build stage and to last throughout the lifespan of the finished property.

“Help to Build also helps to diversify the UK’s housing stock and alleviate the shortfall in available homes, and I for one am looking forward to seeing the new homes it creates.”

Next steps for growth

Help to Build represents an opportunity for sector growth, and NaCSBA is encouraging the sector to ensure that the fullest possible ranges of options to custom and self-build exists. This includes, for example, the building of custom and self build flats and apartments, and the conversion and renovation of existing properties.

The challenge now is to secure enough smaller and more affordable plots and options to enable people to take advantage of Help to Build, and democratise self build. This will help address the “Missing Market” identified by Richard Bacon MP in his Review of Custom and Self Build.

“When we have fully opened up the housing market and the planning process to the power of consumer choice, we will see more great places being developed which are warmly welcomed by their communities, with beautiful and more spacious houses, at keener prices – and that are better designed, better built, greener and which cost less to run, which enrich the lives of the people who live there – while driving innovation and inward investment. And when afterwards we have done this, we will look back and wonder why it took us so long,” Richard Bacon, Review of Custom and Self Build.

The National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) has welcomed the publication of the Help to Build prospectus, and calls for members of the public to register to be among the first to take advantage of this pivotal scheme on opening for applications.

The link for registering is at the end of the prospectus, as it is important that people understand how the scheme works before registering to find out more information. Registering will ensure you are notified for when the scheme formally opens, and you can find out more on the government’s Own Your Own Home website.

Download the prospectus

Help to Build is the government’s new finance programme – an equity loan scheme designed to open up the custom and self build market to people with smaller deposits. 

The potential of the scheme is significant, making an owner-commissioned property a more affordable route to home ownership, for more people. This in turn will lead to more homes being built, contributing to government’s ambition to delivery 300,000 homes annually. The loan doesn’t just have to be for a self build, as other options, such as barn conversions, are covered. 

Help to Build logo

The loan is a first for anyone wanting to custom or self build, as the Help to Buy scheme, which this scheme is loosely based on, was not available on owner-commissioned homes. 

Where Help to Buy transferred the funds to the developer, Help to Build is focussed on the mortgage lender. This is because the self-builder is likely to engage with multiple parties – to buy the land, build the house and fit out the interior. The new scheme is expected to open up the market to more people wanting to build, especially those with smaller deposits.

About the fund

The prospectus sets out what would-be self and custom builders can expect from the scheme, such as the fact that lending is only through registered stakeholders, and the self build mortgage used to build the house will convert to a non-custom or self-build mortgage on completion of the build.

It also sets out the eligibility criteria for applying, for example:

  • You must have a have a minimum 5% deposit ,
  • loans can be between 5-20% of the total estimated cost (40% in London),
  • people can borrow up to £600,000 for the build and land, or up to £400,000 for build alone,
  • the loan will attract interest, payable from year 6,
  • the planned house must be your only home,
  • you must have outline planning permission to apply, and
  • payback amounts are calculated on the value of your home at the point of sale – so if the value rises so does the amount you owe on the loan.

NaCSBA hopes that the success of the scheme will help drive a step change in the sector encouraging more permissioned land to come forward and more businesses delivering the sites and homes that customers desire. In doing so it hopes it will create a virtuous cycle of activity as the sector works towards creating the 30,000 to 40,000 homes a year that the government would like to see the it provide.

 Help to Build could support this vision by helping several thousand people along the road to home ownership. 

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP said: “People across the country dream of building their own home and through our ground-breaking Help to Build scheme we are making it a realistic and affordable option.

“Help to Build will put them in charge of the house-building process and make sure they get the home they truly want.

“This scheme will also support small housebuilders and create thousands of local jobs – providing a huge boost the self and custom build sector and delivering much-needed new homes.”

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, NaCSBA CEO said: “Help to Build will mean that more people can have the new home they actually want including those with smaller deposits, sound plans and big hopes. The greater choice enabled by this scheme will lead to more affordable and better homes that are more wanted and more sustainable.

“Contrary to common perception, in most cases custom and self build is not about people undertaking the build themselves. Rather, it is about the homeowner having control over the design and specification of their project – enabling them to create the home they want, rather than the one someone else believes they would like. It means that new homes will now be part of the solution for the large numbers of people whose cultural, ecological, physical or emotional needs are not currently met by the new-build market.”

Karen Curtin, managing director at Graven Hill, the UK’s largest custom and self build development, said: “With self-building becoming more affordable, we hope that more people will feel able to purchase their own self-build plot. We’ve found them to be hugely popular, so it’s clear that there is a desire to self-build among the general population. People have simply not been given as much support as needed to explore this route until now.  

 “Accessibility has always been at the heart of Graven Hill, with purchasers benefitting from financial support such as Plot Passports, fast track planning, Golden Brick packages and custom home options, we aim to make the self-building process as simple as possible for homeowners. Now, there is even more opportunity for all homeowners to create a home that meets their requirements and lifestyle.  

“We will be releasing a number of new plots that will be eligible for this government funding in the near future. By taking a more innovative approach to house buying, we can make ‘settling’ a thing of the past.” 

Photos: Potton/Kingspan