This guest post  on  UK schemes for buying property has been kindly provided on behalf of Urban Property Services in Stockport.

It is prime time to be buying property in the UK right now. There is a plethora of options available to first-time buyers, those looking to re-mortgage their property or people looking for home loans. In April 2016, there is set to be an increase in stamp duty via a three percent surcharge, therefore banks, lenders and property magnets alike are all rushing to push their deals through ahead of it happening. This is leading to a more competitive market with ‘challenger banks’ appearing on the market and actually finally taking on the big banks. This has resulted in some great deals for buyers – here are some of the best:

Help to Buy ISA

The government-led ‘Help to Buy’ scheme is in place to help first-time buyers save up for a deposit. For every £200 you save and put into your ISA, the government will contribute £50 up to a maximum of £3,000. This would increase the savings for your deposit from £12,000 to £15,000. It is available at most high street banks; the only stipulation is that you must save up a minimum of £1,600 to be eligible for the government contribution.

Buy-To-Let Mortgages

The number of buy-to-let mortgages acquired in January 2016 rose by 22% compared to the same period last year; this is mainly due to low-interest rates on mortgages and the forthcoming three percent surcharge on stamp duty. Banks and building societies have lots of attractive options for those looking to buy-to-let at the moment so landlords and letting agents alike are inundated. The Greater Manchester area, referred to as the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ by George Osbourne, is particularly attractive for investors. Letting agents in Stockport have commented on the popularity of the area with investors recently as it is easy to commute to Manchester City Centre, and the entire area is currently going through a large regeneration project.

Re-Mortgaging Properties

The amount lent in January 2016 for re-mortgages was £5.4bn, a 32% increase on the same time last year. The main reason behind this is the attractive low interest rates for those looking to free up some capital; a relatively short fixed rate mortgage will enable property owners to borrow money at the lowest rate for quite some time and many older buyers are jumping on the opportunity.

There are plenty of options for those interested in investing in property or getting on to the property ladder at the moment, the key thing is to do your research, look around and not be afraid of going to a smaller, newer bank. These often offer the best deals.