The Prime Minister has announced that Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) will be made permanent from 1 January 2023. The Pilot Scheme has been in place since 2014 and helped over 27,000 Service personnel get on to the housing market. Under FHTB, Service Personnel can borrow up to 50% of their gross annual salary (maximum of £25K) with the aim being to encourage and support new first time buyers into home ownership. This advance is interest free, repayable over a maximum of ten years and is open to most regular Service Personnel with more than 12 months’ Service.
Below are some useful Q&A on the FHTB scheme and for details of how to apply, please click on the image below:
Who does this apply to?
FHTB has relevant content to all full time regular serving personnel who have completed 12 months services and Phase One Training, who are looking into home ownership or self build options.
Isn’t FHTB already in Policy?
Whilst FHTB is not a new concept, having been run for the past eight years, it has always retained its pilot status. This change removes that pilot status, making FHTB an enduring policy for SP to access and benefit from.
Will the offer change?
Whilst the immediate answer is no, there will be no change to the amount FHTB has to offer or the circumstances in which it will do so. However, now that FHTB is confirmed as an enduring policy we can now begin to look at improvements either to the policy and/or its processes. Using feedback over the course of the pilot, and noting changes in accommodation and wider defence to ensure an up to date and effective policy.
After being posted overseas I now want to buy a house there, why won't FHTB help me?
For a house to qualify for a FHTB advance it has to be one which a mortgage lender – authorised by the FCA (a financial regulatory body in the United Kingdom) is willing to advance on. Even if a mortgage is not required. Therefore, houses purchased with the help of FHTB are limited to the UK & RoI.
How does FHTB work with the FAM pilot?
The fairer allocation based on LTR(E), and ‘Need over Rank’ are already being trailed on the FAM sites. This strategy now makes this allocation process enduring beyond the pilot. Other outputs and aims of the FAM pilot will guide future iterations of this strategy and adjacent policy.
I started an application in Dec as I didn’t want to miss out, can I cancel and start again at a later date?
Service Personnel may cancel or make an amendment to the amount being claimed whilst their application is still in process. To do this they must notify DBS Mil Pers, FHTB Section in writing.
I’m currently applying for FHTB and the process is frustrating and outdated, are there any plans to address this?
As part of ongoing improvement works, we are looking into how we may improve the process for users, making it more transparent and user friendly.
The amount you can borrow hasn’t changed since 2014, but houses are more expensive, will the amount increase?
Several factors were considered in the initial setting of the FHTB upper limits, including the effect greater borrowing has on your ability to obtain a mortgage. Whilst this will be looked at as part of future FHTB updates, it will need to be done in consultation with Front Line Commands as well as outside SMEs such as the council for Mortgage Lenders (CML).
I have questions about my FHTB application, who do I ask?
Questions should in the first instance be directed to JPAC 0141 2243 600 Option 4.