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Help to Buy (HtB) Wales

Date: 11/11/13

Help to Buy (HtB) Wales

Invitation to Builder Registration event on November 25 and briefing note

Dear member,

The 2013 Budget contained funding for a Welsh HtB Equity Loan scheme. The Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Carl Sargeant, is very committed to increasing building in Wales and has committed to introducing a HtB Equity Loan scheme.

Over the last few months HBF has worked closely with Welsh Government (WG) officials and the CML to design a scheme, drawing on the expertise of a number of people from member companies with a detailed knowledge of the English initiative. Plans are well advanced and we are confident the scheme will be up and running this calendar year. However we do not yet have a definite launch date because a number of milestones must be reached before the WG can confidently announce a date. 

That said, more details on the timetable to launch and the design of the initiative will be made available at the Welsh Government’s Help to Buy – Wales builder registration event.

Please see below an invitation from Carl Sargeant AM,  to the event that will be held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff at 14:15 on the 25 November 2013.

The event will be a key opportunity for you to find out more about the scheme, including how it will operate and how it will benefit your customers. The event will also take you through the builder registration process and outline the steps you will need to take if you wish to participate in the scheme. We would strongly urge you to attend this important event. But please note this will not be a formal launch event for the scheme.

You will need to register for the event as outlined in the attached invitation.  A full agenda for the afternoon will be sent out following registration.

The WG has designed the scheme to be as close as possible to the English scheme, apart from having a lower property cap (in comparison £600,000 in England), including using all the HCA’s legal documentation.

There are many requirements for the scheme, but I summarise below some of the key ingredients.

The WG, working with the CML, must get approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA, previously the FSA). We hope this will be a formality, given that the scheme very closely mirrors the already-approved English scheme.

WG must also have at least two lenders ready to offer mortgage products on launch day. We hope to have at least two national lenders plus a selection of Welsh building societies, though they may not all be ready from the outset.

Companies participating in the scheme will be required to register before they can offer the product (just as participants in the English scheme must register with the HCA).  The WG registration event on the 25 November will provide more details on this process in preparation for the scheme going live later in the year.

HBF is very keen to ensure all house builders wishing to participate in the scheme have the opportunity to introduce the scheme on day one. Companies not already taking part in the English scheme will require a consumer credit licence, which is why we have worked with the WG to ensure the registration process will open early enough to allow smaller house builders sufficient time to apply for and obtain this licence. (Companies already in the English scheme can use their existing licence.)

I hope this note is helpful. We will be in touch again as soon as we have firmer details about the scheme and some definite dates. There will be more details in the HBF Chairman’s Update – Wales, that we will send to members shortly. And of course a lot more information will be available at the event on 25th.

Richard Price

Planning and Policy Advisor - Wales