Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Affordable Homes for First Time Buyers
The Scottish Government’s Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) brings together several ways to help households access home ownership. These include:
- The New Supply Shared Equity Scheme to allow first time buyers to buy a new build property from a housing association
- The Open Market Shared Equity Scheme to allow first time buyers to buy a property on the open market
New Supply Shared Equity Scheme
From time to time, Hebridean Housing Partnership will have affordable homes for first time buyers under the New Supply Shared Equity scheme.
This scheme is aimed at first time buyers such as tenants of Housing Associations like HHP or people in private rented houses or living with relatives. It can also help people whose housing situation has changed significantly (e.g. marital break up) or people whose house is no longer suitable (e.g. through disability). As the scheme is aimed at people with lower incomes there are criteria which must be met to qualify.
How Does it Work?
The scheme allows people who cannot afford the full price of a property to buy on a shared equity basis. Normally buyers will pay between 60% and 80% of the cost of the property and the Scottish Government take the remaining share. The buyer will still own the house and will have all the benefits and responsibilities of home ownership. The maximum initial share is 80%. When the property is sold the proceeds are divided based on equity held. This applies whether the value of the property has gone up or down.
Buyers will need to show they cannot buy a house without the help of the scheme and will need to prove they can afford a mortgage for the share they are going to buy. Normally the share available to a buyer will be set at the maximum mortgage they can afford plus any personal contribution they can make. So if a property is valued at £120,000 and you can afford to contribute £72,000 (mortgage plus any personal contribution) you would hold a 60 percent share in your new house.
If you want to find out more about the New Supply Shared Equity Scheme please contact Hebridean Housing Partnership’s agents Tighean Innse Gall, 41A Point Street, Stornoway – Telephone 01851 706121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Market Share Equity Scheme
In January 2016, the Scottish Government announced £80 million of further funding for the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme (OMSE) in order to help people on low to moderate incomes to buy an affordable home.
The OMSE Scheme is open mainly to first time buyers with priority given to social renters, the disabled, members of the armed forces and veterans, as well as widows or widowers of service personnel.
Buying a home through shared equity involves the Scottish Government having a financial share in a property under a standard security so that a buyer does not have to fund the full purchase price. The buyer does own the property outright and pays for a majority stake, usually between 60% and 90%, with the Government providing funding for the remainder.
Although the scheme is mainly geared towards younger first time buyers, there is no limitation on the age of an applicant. It is also possible for some people who are not first time buyers to obtain assistance, for example, for a disabled person who requires to access more suitable housing.
There are limits set on the price of homes that can be bought under this scheme to ensure that only 'starter' properties are available and these are referred to as threshold prices. These limits vary according to house prices in different parts of Scotland.
If you want to find out more about the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme please contact Highland Residential (Part of Albyn Enterprises Limited),68 MacLennan Crescent, Inverness – telephone 01463 701 271 or email LIFT@highlandresidential.co.uk.