09 Oct 2017

Graven Hill offers Help to Buy on Tailored-finish homes

Graven Hill offers Help to Buy on Tailored-finish homes

Graven Hill, the largest custom and self-build site in the UK, is offering Help to Buy: Equity Loan on its Tailored-finish products, significantly opening up one aspect of the customised-home market to buyers.

Effectively, this means that Graven Hill Village Development Company (GHVDC) is able to offer  a house type that competes with the spec-built homes of the volume builders in affordability.

This is because Help to Buy is one route to affordability, which helps level the playing field between a custom-build route and spec building.

Since its launch in 2013, the scheme has helped hundreds of thousands of people buy a home, most specifically First Time Buyers.

But the loan is only available on completed homes, which means that custom and self-build homes are usually ineligible, as the purchase is typically at plot or Golden Brick to secure VAT and CIL savings. However, the entire Graven Hill site is exempt from CIL as part of the fact it used a Local Development Order to permission the site rather than conventional planning permission.

Purchasing at Golden Brick means plot sales can be zero-rated for VAT as it counts as a construction, offering savings for the private homebuilder.

Help to Buy: Equity Loan – facts
The Government will lend up to 20% of the cost a newly built home
The maximum you can borrow is £120,000 (£240,000 in London)
Buyers must have a minimum 5% deposit
The scheme is on available in England

The Tailored products

Graven Hill’s Tailored Finish homes are customisable terraces/mews homes, ranging from 2-4 bedroom homes, and starting from £199,000. It’s a hybrid approach to custom build, with the significant difference being that there is no plot transfer.

Instead, the properties are marketed in a similar manner as conventional off-plan homes. Customers have a range of layout configurations and finishes to choose from, which are selected from a palette of options. So while not fully customisable, they do offer a significant ability to reflect their purchasers lifestyles and personal preferences.

The optioned home is then built out as a turn-key property by GHVDC. Should the buyer pull out prior to completion, for whatever reason, the customised home will then be built out and sold on as a spec build.

Karen Curtin, Managing Director of GHVDC said: “Launching the Help to Buy scheme has been a landmark event for Graven Hill. The vision has always been to make this an inclusive community that meets the range of needs and budgets of those who want to make their home in this idyllic setting…

“We hope this latest development will encourage more people to discover how Graven Hill can turn their dream home into a reality.”

On a recent trip to Graven Hill, Housing Minister Alok Sharma, said: “We need to get creative with how we build our housing in this country to deliver more of the right homes in the places people want to live.

“That’s why it’s great news that developers like Graven Hill are making new custom build homes available for sale through Help to Buy: Equity Loan, so that more people than ever before will be able to purchase their very own tailor-made home.”

Editor’s comment

Help to Buy is purchaser and not developer finance, helping the public buy the home. But it acts as a form of subsidy for housing, rather than actually making homes truly affordable.

There is much talk in the halls of NaCSBA about a Help to Build product that would support the serviced plot/custom homes market in a similar way. Without this, custom build is at an unfair disadvantage in comparison to market housing.

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