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North Devon Council's putting its money where its mouth is...to help local families get on the first rung of the property ladder.
It's joined forces with Lloyds TSB to help local people buy their first home with a deposit of just 5%.
The council will put forward 20 per cent of the house cost as a form of insurance. That will be kept in a separate account by the bank and eventually paid back by the first-time buyer.
The council has set aside £1m towards the Local Lend a Hand scheme which is enough to help 30 families. If it's a success more money could be put into the scheme.
The council is the first local authority in Devon and Cornwall to take part in the scheme.
Executive Member for Housing, Councillor Faye Webber: "First-time buyers often say that raising a deposit is the biggest challenge they face when looking to take their first steps onto the property ladder. I hope that it makes a difference to local people who have been struggling to raise the funds for a deposit to buy their own home."
Stephen Noakes, mortgages director at Lloyds TSB says: "With the launch of Local Lend a Hand in North Devon, we're making the housing market more accessible to more people. We know that many young people turn to the Bank of Mum and Dad to get their foot on the ladder, but that is not a solution for everyone. Helping people to buy their first home is crucial in achieving and maintaining a sustainable housing market. Local Lend a Hand addresses some of the real problems that prospective buyers in North Devon might face."
Cecilie Booth, Director at Sector Treasury Services, says: "Many potential first-time buyers in North Devon, including those on the council's housing register, or currently in affordable or social housing units, are unable to save a sufficient deposit, even though they could afford mortgage repayments on a typical first home. This initiative is designed to bridge that gap. Local authorities will both free up social housing for the more vulnerable and reduce payouts to private landlords and expensive short-term accommodation. More people will be able to take the step of buying their first home, stimulating the local housing market and benefitting the wider local economy. "
Subject to meeting the bank's usual lending criteria, borrowers are able to select any existing property in the area covered by North Devon Council up to a maximum loan of £150,000. They must also:
* be a first time buyer
* live in the property as their main residence
* provide at least 5% deposit
Anyone interested in the local scheme should visit their local branch of Lloyds TSB for more information.