The Lifetime ISA
Launched in 2017, this savings account aims to help you buy your first home (or save for later life). You can save up to £4,000 annually until you turn 50, with the government adding a 25% bonus up to £1,000 each year. You must be between 18 and 40 to open an account.

The property purchased with these savings must cost £450,000 or less, which can be challenging in some areas. If you withdraw money to buy a property above this cap, a 25% charge will apply, which can reduce some of your initial investment.

Shared Ownership
Under this scheme, you purchase a share of a new-build or resale property (typically between 25% and 75%, sometimes as low as 10%) and pay rent on the remaining share. If it’s a flat, there will also be a service charge for building maintenance.

With a mortgage required only for the purchased share, the deposit and loan amounts are smaller than for a standard home purchase. The rent is usually around 2.75% of the landlord’s share value annually. Future rent increases should be anticipated.

While shared ownership has advantages, some owners face issues like rising service charges, poor building maintenance, costly lease extensions, and lease restrictions that complicate selling.

A significant benefit is the option to buy additional shares (up to 100% ownership), known as staircasing. Eligibility varies across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In England, your household income must be under £80,000 annually (£90,000 in London). Housing associations and local authorities may have additional criteria. Use the Share to Buy website to search for shared ownership properties, with a separate tool for Londoners.

Rent to Buy
This scheme allows tenants in England to rent homes at approximately 20% below local market rates to help save for a deposit. Eligibility requires being employed, a first-time buyer, and capable of paying rent while saving for a deposit.

Outside of London, you can search for rent-to-buy homes via the shared ownership scheme service. Initial tenancy agreements last up to two years, with potential extensions if more time is needed to save. Tenants can purchase the home once they have saved enough for a deposit and secured a mortgage.

Rent to Buy is unavailable in Scotland. The Rent to Own scheme in Wales is closed to new landlords but may still have available properties. Northern Ireland has a different scheme.

London Living Rent
This is London’s version of Rent to Buy. Eligible applicants must live or work in London, reside in private rented accommodation or with friends/family, have a maximum household income of £60,000, and be unable to buy in their area, even through shared ownership.

Rents vary by location, with the average for a two-bedroom property in 2024-25 around £1,240 per month. Due to discounted rents, these properties are in high demand and quickly occupied. Tenancies are typically for at least three years, with encouragement to buy the home within ten years.

Current listings include new-builds in Barking, east London, with rents starting at £1,154 for a one-bedroom property and £1,400 for three bedrooms. Comparable three-bedroom properties on Rightmove were priced from £1,650 to well over £2,000.

First Homes
Exclusive to England, this government scheme offers first-time buyers homes at 30-50% below market value without the need to pay rent. You can find these homes through developers or estate agents participating in the scheme. 

The property must be a new-build or a resale of a previously purchased First Home. Eligibility requires a maximum annual income of £80,000 (£90,000 in London). If buying with a partner, both must be first-time buyers with a joint income under £80,000. Local councils may have additional requirements.

New-build First Homes cannot exceed £250,000 (£420,000 in London) after the discount.

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