The Forces Help to Buy Scheme (FHTB) was launched on 1 April 2014 as a three year pilot scheme and has now been extended to the end of December 2019.
This means that if you are thinking of benefiting then you had better be quick.
FHTB enables 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 interest free.
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.
Who is FHTB designed for?
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:
- 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.
How to apply for Forces Help to Buy?
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.’
Common questions about FHTB
How much do I have to pay back?
It will all depend on how much you borrow. But your loan amount is divided over ten years and you pay back that amount monthly (you can choose to make overpayments).
You can opt to start making the loan re-payments straight away, six months after receiving it, or in your final ten years of service.
Can I leave the forces after receiving FHTB?
Put simply, yes. However, if you are due any terminal benefits (resetlement grant) any outstanding FHTB loan balance will be taken automatically from it.