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Affordable housing and financial assistance schemes available in Scotland

At the TSPC we are fully aware how hard it is to get on or move up the property ladder and every little help and guidance is crucial. Here are just a few options that are available and might just be what you are looking for.

Help to Buy

The Help to Buy (Scotland) Affordable New Build Scheme can help you to buy a new home from a participating house builder with just a 5% deposit. The Scottish Government will fund a loan of up to 15% of the property price, with the remaining 85% of the purchase price made through a combination of mortgage and deposit.

The scheme is available on homes in the following price thresholds:

  • For homes that complete on or before 31 March 2017 the maximum home value is £230,000
  • For homes that complete on or before 31 March 2018 the maximum home value is £200,000
  • For homes that complete on or before 31 March 2019 the maximum home value is £175,000

There are a number of other criteria to consider with regards to the Help to Buy scheme. Further information on Help to Buy and Help to Buy ISAs can be found at www.helptobuy.gov.uk/help-to-buy-isa

Help to Buy ISAs 

Help to Buy ISAs are only available to fist time buyers who are saving for their first home.

If first time buyers save money into a Help to Buy ISA the Government will boost those savings by 25% of the amount saved.  So for example for every £200 you save the Government will pay you a bonus of £50.  The maximum Government bonus is £3,000.

Help to Buy ISAs are available from a range of Banks and Building Societies.

The accounts are available to each first time buyer so if two first time buyers are purchasing together then each of them can save towards the cost of buying their home jointly and each of them can have a Help to Buy ISA.  In the case of a joint purchase, therefore, the total Government bonus available (depending on savings) is £6,000.

The maximum amount that you can deposit into your Help to Buy ISA is £200 per month but you can deposit an initial lump sum of £1,200.

The minimum Government bonus is £400. 

Once the first buyer (or buyers) has purchased their first home, then closer to the date of completion, their Solicitor or Conveyancer will apply for payment of the Government bonus.  The buyer cannot apply for payment of the bonus personally.  Once the bonus is received, it will be added to the money or deposit being put towards the purchase price.

Further information on Help to Buy ISAs can be found at www.helptobuy.gov.uk/help-to-buy-isa  

LIFT

The Scottish Government is committed to supporting home ownership in a balanced and sustainable way by helping people on low to moderate incomes to become home owners, where that is affordable for them. Its Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) brings together several ways to help households access home ownership. When you buy a shared equity home from Link, or on the open market, you pay for the majority of the equity in the property and the Scottish Government pays for the rest.

Link is supporting first time buyers across east, west, central and southern Scotland.

  • Priority for social housing renters, people with disabilities, armed forces personnel and recent veterans
  • Receive between 10% and 40% of the purchase price from the Scottish Government
  • Scottish Government takes an equivalent equity stake which will be redeemed on the sale of the property
  • Opportunity to buy out the equity stake in the future

Shared equity and shared ownership

These schemes are designed to help you if you've only got a small deposit but they can seem quite confusing. For example what's the difference between shared ownership and shared equity?

Shared equity, for example, means you own 100% of the property but that a third party has an equity stake in it - they help you to buy the property but they get the same proportion back from the price you receive when you come to sell. Shared ownership on the other hand means you own part of the property and the other part is owned by a third party. There may also be additional occupancy charges levied.

Both are valid ways to get on the ladder but understanding the differences between these various terminologies is really important.

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