Halifax to 'give' £600 to first-time buyers

Couple with keys to new house

Potential first-time buyers could get £600 from Halifax for signing up to one of its mortgages.

The building society has launched a 'Head Start Home Saver' scheme to help those trying to get on the property ladder - and as a clever marketing tool to lure in more customers.

The scheme encourages people to save and in effect rewards them for choosing Halifax as a mortgage provider.

It says people are not saving enough for a deposit and only 32% of non-homeowners could realistically buy a house within the next five years.

New borrowers who want to benefit will need to have an existing Halifax savings account and the balance must have grown in 10 out of the last 12 months before you apply for the mortgage.

There is also a minimum of £150 which you need to put away each month and you will only get the £600 when applying for a mortgage within the Halifax first-time buyer range.

Current rates on Halifax savings accounts are; Halifax ISA Direct reward 2.60%, Halifax Web Saver reward 2.80% and the Halifax Guaranteed Saver reward 2%.

But it's important to look at the whole market before buying a mortgage as even with the £600 this may not represent the best value for money.

David Hollingworth, spokesperson for London & Country mortgages, says the idea behind the scheme is to reward those first-time buyers who have demonstrated a savings habit, something which is ever more necessary in today's market where first-time buyers need bigger deposits.
But Hollingworth warns: "It is important to understand that there are no guarantees customers will qualify for the rate or that the deals on offer will actually represent good value, even with the £600 cash back.

"It will still be important to weigh up the rates on offer against the rest of the market when the time come to secure the mortgage."

He says two of the best first-time buyer rates around are the Halifax two-year mortgage with a fixed rate of 5.99%, no fee and 90% loan to value and the Chelsea BS mortgage offering a rate of 4.39% for a 90% LTV with a £195 fee.

Simon Kenyon, Halifax spokesperson, says: "We know from our own research that for some customers to get on to the ladder, their savings behaviours need to change. With Head Start Home Saver, we are rewarding customers who save for their deposit with Halifax."