The government’s £400m scheme to help people buy new-build housing in the recession is struggling to win support from mortgage lenders

More than 100 developers have signed up to the HomeBuy Direct programme in an attempt to increase sales, but only three lenders – Nationwide, Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax – have said they will offer mortgages to people buying new-build houses through the scheme.

A fourth, Abbey, is also believed to back the scheme but had not confirmed this when Building went to press.

Some of the four lenders are limiting the number of homes they will mortgage on a scheme; Nationwide had said it will only provide funding for 20% of homes on a site.

Under Homebuy Direct scheme, buyers get an “equity loan” of up to 30% of the property’s value. This is jointly financed by the developer and the government, and does not have to be paid back for five year.

If we had five or six lenders who could do it then it would be enough

Ian Hepworth, Countryside

The buyer then takes out a conventional mortgage for the rest of the purchase price.

One lender, Halifax, said buyers must put down a 7% deposit in addition to the equity loan. However, one developer, who did not want to be named, said asking for an additional deposit “completely defeated the point” of the scheme.

Ian Hepworth, group sales and marketing director of Countryside Properties, said: “It is good that the government is doing shared equity with us but it has to get to grips with the lending market. If we had five or six lenders who could do it, then it would be enough for everybody interested in buying.”

He added that most of Countryside’s customers under the scheme’s forerunner had needed equity loans greater than the 30% limit on Homebuy Direct.