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Military Life

Did you know that the Forces Help To Buy scheme is ending soon?

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Serving personnel looking to get onto the property ladder or make renovations to an existing home have a limited amount of time before the Forces Help To Buy scheme ends.

The Forces Help To Buy (FHTB) scheme was launched in April 2014 as a three-year pilot scheme but was extended and will now end on 31 December 2022.

The FHTB scheme provides serving personnel the opportunity to get themselves onto the property ladder without having any money previously saved. 

Service accommodation is not the only housing option available to those serving in the UK Armed Forces. Everything you need to know about the scheme and how to apply is detailed below.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has said that since the FHTB Scheme began in April 2014:

  • 66,414 forces Help To Buy applications had been received.
  • 32,270 of those applications proceeded to the next stage.
  • Payment has been made to around 28,102 applicants, totalling more than £429m, with an average of £15,290 per claim.
  • At least 95% of payments, as of 30 September 2022, resulted in a purchased property or extension.

How does Forces Help To Buy scheme work?

FHTB allows service personnel to borrow by way of an advance, the equivalent of half their annual salary – before tax – up to a maximum of £25,000.

The loan can be and is intended to assist towards the balance of the purchase price of the home (taking into account, for example, deposit, legal, surveyors, land registration and estate agent fees).

Most major mortgage lenders accept the FHTB loan to be used as the deposit for your intended new home.

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The Forces Help To Buy scheme is ending on 31 December 2022 (Picture: MOD).

Who can apply for the Forces Help To Buy scheme?

The FHTB scheme is primarily designed for first-time buyers or those needing to move to another property, either because they are assigned elsewhere or as a result of certain extenuating family or medical circumstances.

Property for which FHTB has been claimed must be intended for the service person's own immediate occupation, or that of their immediate family. An exception to this applies to those in overseas postings at the time of application and purchase.

It is not intended for the purchase of ‘buy-to-let’ properties or any other second property, but under certain circumstances can be used to extend or modify an existing property.

To be eligible, personnel must fulfill the following criteria: 

  • They must be in regular service. 
  • Those serving in the Royal Navy must have been accepted onto trained strength. 
  • Army and RAF personnel must have completed two years' service from the date of enlistment and be on trained strength i.e. completed Phase two training. 
  • Have at least six months left to serve at the time of application. 

You do not have to be married or have children to apply – single service personnel can also apply.

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Personnel can borrow up to half their annual salary before tax (Picture: MOD).

How to apply for the Forces Help To Buy loan?

Service personnel are to apply for Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) on JPA through the Self-Service Application for FHTB.

Full instructions can be found online under the tab JPA Self Service User Guide – 'Applying for Pre-Approval for FHTB'.

How much do I have to pay back?

It will all depend on how much is borrowed. But the loan amount is divided over 10 years and you pay back that amount monthly and can choose to make overpayments.

You can opt to start making the loan repayments straight away, six months after receiving it, or in your final 10 years of service.

Can I leave the Armed Forces after receiving FHTB loan?

Put simply, yes. However, if you are due any terminal benefits (resettlement grant), any outstanding FHTB loan balance will be deducted automatically from it.

Where possible, any outstanding balance should be paid before leaving.

If this cannot be achieved, you will have to continue making the monthly payments once you have left.

When is the Forces Help To Buy Scheme ending?

The Government announced FHTB will be extended until at least 2022.

What are the Forces Help To Buy scheme interest and insurance costs?

Great news, you will pay 0% interest on the loan. However, you will pay a small amount of insurance each month to protect the loan.

Insurance cost will work out at around £6-£7 each month depending on how much you borrow.

What is the Forces Help To Buy scheme address?

Defence Business Services Military Personnel, FHTB Section, Centurion Building, Grange Road Gosport, Hants, PO13 9XA.

Does the FHTB property have to be a new build home?

No, unless you are also using the Government loan too.

What is the Forces Help To Buy scheme contact number?

You can be put through to the FHTB section if you contact the JPAC enquiry centre on: 0141 224 3600 Choose option four.

For full forces help to buy scheme terms and conditions, check out Joint Service Publication (JSP) 464