The Scottish Government unexpectedly made changes to ‘Help To Buy (Scotland)’ recently, cutting off access to the scheme for many new applicants from 5 February.  While the news is undoubtably disappointing, some funding is still available and additional funds have been allocated to the ‘First Home Fund’ from 1 April, meaning first time buyers who need help should still be able to access it.  Read on to find out more:

Help to Buy Changes

There are actually two Help To Buy schemes in Scotland:  the “Affordable New Build Scheme”;  and the “Smaller Developer Scheme”.  Both operate the same, but the ‘Smaller Developer Scheme’ earmarks funding for small to medium sized builders.

The Government has stopped funding the ‘Affordable New Build Scheme’ but has allocated a pot of money to the ‘Smaller Developer Scheme’ for 2021/22.   Applications will remain open for the Smaller Developer Scheme until all of this funding has been allocated for the year.  Your builder will be able to advice if they are eligble to participate in the Smaller Develeper Scheme, or you can access a list of builders on the Scottish Government website.

First Home Fund

The ‘First Home Fund‘ was introduced in 2019 and, unlike ‘Help to Buy’ is available for both New Build and Resale property in Scotland.  It offers up to £25,000 towards the purchase price of a property in a ‘shared equity’ arrangement.  The ‘First Home Fund‘ will reopen for applications on 1 April 2021 and the fund has been allocated £60m from the Scottish Government.  The fund will remain open until all of this funding has been allocated.

Conclusions

Despite this being a disappointing announcement from the government, the ‘First Home Fund’ and ‘Smaller Developer Scheme’ will ensure that shared equity funding is available to first time buyers in 2021.  However, buyers should remember that once the funding has been allocated, the funds will close.  Last year the First Home Fund closed on 2 October.

It is also welcome that the Scottish Government announced a pot of money to ensure that those ‘Help to Buy (Scotland)’ customers using the main ‘Affordable New Build Scheme’ who have already been approved but not yet bought their property, will not be affected by the changes.

If you are looking to buy a new build property using the Smaller Developer Scheme or the First Home Fund, you can generate a quote for all conveyancing costs, outlays and taxes using our online quote calculator.