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Benefits to Bricks - What you need to know

Paul Coss - Co-founder and Chief Customer Officer 9th June 2022

The government’s announced new policies for first time buyers, including a total review of the mortgage market, expanding the Right to Buy scheme, and allowing buyers to use housing benefit to pay for their mortgages. Here’s the main takeaways.

Help for first time buyers on Universal Credit

Currently, you can’t declare housing benefit as income when you apply for a mortgage - which is a barrier for those on lower incomes wanting to get on the property ladder. But new proposals - dubbed ‘Benefits to Bricks’ - could see mortgage lenders asked to accept housing benefit as a form of income. 

The Right to Buy scheme (which allows council tenants to buy their home at a big discount) will also be expanded to include Housing Association tenants, who currently have to use the less popular Right to Acquire scheme.

It’s stated that there will be a cap on the number of homes sold (though no figures have been provided yet) and the government has pledged a one-for-one replacement - meaning that for every home sold, another will be built. Though there’s some reservations about how achievable that will be in reality. 

The government also plans to explore discounting Help to Buy and Lifetime ISA savings from the Universal Credit eligibility rules.

More homes to be built

Along with promising to replace each council or housing association home sold, the government has announced its plan to work with local communities to “build the right homes in the right places”. Publicly-owned brownfield sites (land that was previously developed but currently unused) are to be repurposed into affordable housing sites under the new plans. 

Self-build homes are set to be encouraged, along with plans to convert unused agricultural buildings into residential communities. More control and rights for leaseholders is also on the agenda, giving those in leasehold properties the right to buy their freehold. 

Review of the entire mortgage market

A review of the entire mortgage market has been proposed in an attempt to make homeownership more attainable for young people, key workers, and other first time buyers. According to the government, the number of first time buyers in the UK has been steadily falling year on year, with just 31% of millennials in a position to get a mortgage. 

The outcome of the review is set to happen in the autumn, and will focus on “unlocking the door to homeownership” by making low-deposit mortgages more accessible.

What to make of it all

It’s still early days, so there’s likely to be further developments on these policies, but anything that gets more people to become homeowners can be seen as good news. 

There’ll definitely be concerns around the supply of much-needed social housing - a policy like this could potentially run down vital stock of housing association properties if they’re not replaced. Mortgage lenders also need to get fully on board with accepting housing benefit as income.

We’re a landlord-free zone at Haysto, so we can definitely get behind anything that helps people escape the uncertainty of renting. Being a homeowner gives you far more control of your finances and situation - something lower-paid workers really need. 

If you’re looking for a mortgage on low income, or thinking about Right to Buy, our Mortgage Experts are available 7 days a week to chat through your options. Make a quick enquiry and we’ll give you a call back. 


Our Mortgage Experts are fully-qualified with experience in bad credit, self-employed and complex mortgages. They have a proven track record of getting mortgages for people who’ve been rejected elsewhere.

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