More help for first-time buyers

A new scheme to help people get on the housing ladder has been unveiled by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The Scottish government will allocate £220 million over three years for the Help to Buy (Scotland) shared equity scheme to provide financial support to make buying a home easier.

From Monday, September 30, the scheme will be open to all first-time buyers and existing homeowners buying a new-build home from participating home builders.

The home must be a buyer’s only residence and they must not own another home.

The Scottish government will provide help to eligible buyers of up to 20 percent of the purchase price of a new-build home from a participating home builder.

An eligible buyer will be expected to contribute a minimum of 80 percent of the cost of the new-build home. The shared equity scheme will apply to homes worth up to £400,000 in Scotland.

The scheme is backed by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and house building industry body, Homes for Scotland.

The progress of the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme will be monitored by a group including Council of Mortgage Lenders and Homes for Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon said: “There is no doubt that getting onto or moving up the property ladder has become tougher.

“House buyers are being hampered by the lack of affordable mortgages, with high deposits often a major barrier.

“The Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme will not only help people to buy their first home, it will also help ‘second-steppers’ and others move to a new property.

“The scheme will also help support the housing industry alongside our commitment to investment in affordable housing across Scotland.

Philip Hogg, chief executive of Homes for Scotland, said: “We are delighted with this announcement and anticipate it will have an immediate and significant impact. Not only has an extra £100 million of funding been allocated to the scheme, it has also been extended by one year.

“This, together with Wednesday’s announcement on the extra time being allocated before energy changes are introduced, gives our industry a major confidence boost as well as the certainty it needs to plan investment.”

Paul Smee, director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, added: The CML fully supports Help to Buy (Scotland) shared equity scheme. Working with the Scottish government, lenders want to ensure it helps people in Scotland.

“Lending to Scottish borrowers reached its highest level since 2008 in the second quarter of this year, and with schemes like help-to-buy conditions are improving for home-buyers.”