DARLINGTON Building Society is helping people to build their own homes after becoming the first lender to support the Government’s Help to Build: Equity Loan scheme.

The scheme marks a significant milestone for self and custom housebuilding, which is now a more realistic and accessible option for thousands of people in the UK.

It works in a similar way to the popular Help to Buy scheme: A deposit of at least five per cent is required, topped up with a government equity loan of between five to 20 per cent of the total estimated project cost.

Eligible home-builders can spend up to £600,000 in total to cover the total estimated project costs, including the cost of the land. Darlington Building Society can offer Help to Build mortgages of up to 95% for the land and build phase, available through BuildLoan.

Andrew Craddock, Darlington Building Society chief executive said: “I’m delighted that Darlington Building Society is the first lender to offer mortgages under the government’s Help to Build scheme. “Extending into Help to Build was a logical step as the Society has been at the forefront of self-build lending for over a decade, in partnership with BuildLoan.

“Self-build isn’t the preserve of the wealthy, and Help to Build makes it more practical and accessible than ever before for people to build their dream home. This scheme also opens up the opportunities to first-time buyers. It is a fantastic example of the market moving with the times, and people’s changing wants and needs.

“There’s an environmental aspect too. With 40 per cent of UK emissions coming from homes in the UK, self-build projects can also offer a greener alternative. People can add more environmentally conscious measures – both during the build stage and to last throughout the lifespan of the finished property.

“Self-build helps to diversify the UK’s housing stock and alleviate the shortfall in available homes. I for one am looking forward to seeing the fantastic new homes the Help to Build scheme creates.”

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Raymond Connor, BuildLoan chief executive officer, said: “I am delighted to be part of the launch of the Help to Build Scheme with Darlington Building Society. We have worked with the Society and Homes England to create a product which I believe will mark a real period of growth in the self-commissioned housing sector.

“People now quite rightly demand choice in every area of their lives, and one of the most important of these should be the homes they live in.

“The Help to Build Scheme will expand the self-build sector but will also provide the type of finance required to boost the emerging custom-build sector. Developers and House builders can now have the confidence that purchasers of custom-build homes will have access to the same finance as those who have bought new homes under the Help to Buy scheme.”