Halifax launches its HomeBuy deal

Halifax for Intermediaries has launched its Open Market HomeBuy proposition, despite take-up with other lenders being low.

The government launched Open Market HomeBuy last October but only three out of the four participating lenders – the Yorkshire, Advantage, Nationwide and HBOS – unveiled offerings at the time of launch.

Last week, the government admitted that there had been just 109 completions since the scheme was launched, although 6,000 cases are in the pipeline.

The low take-up sparked speculation that HBOS would no longer participate. But Halifax has now launched its proposition which combines a 75% LTV mortgage, a 12.5% equity loan funded by Halifax and a 12.5% loan funded by the government on an interest-free basis.

Eligible borrowers must be app-roved by HomeBuy agents and can only access the product via intermediaries. The 75% loan is a five-year tracker at 1% above base rate, after which time it reverts to the SVR of 1.5% above base rate.

Halifax applies an early repayment charge for the first five years of the loan on a 5% basis for years one and two, 4% for year three, 3% for year four and 2% for year five.

A spokesman for HBOS says: “We have always been fully committed to Open Market HomeBuy. The original number of people the scheme intended to target was 10,000, so you have to put these figures in context.”

Nationwide, the Yorkshire and Advantage also say they are committed to the initiative. But the number of cases the mutuals have reportedly completed casts doubt on official figures.

Larry Banda, head of mortgages at Nationwide, says the society had completed about 100 cases as of February 9.

And a spokesman for the Yorkshire says it has completed 137 cases, made offers on 290 and has 186 applications in train. He adds that alternative government figures he has seen show that at the end of January 199 cases had completed and 9,000 applications had been approved.