First-time buyer shared equity scheme extended

Couple looking in estate agent window The scheme is designed to help people on low to moderate incomes get on the property ladder

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A scheme to help people get on the housing ladder is being extended to all first-time buyers, following a cash boost from the Scottish government.

Funding of the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme has been doubled to more than £20m.

Until now, only priority groups such as people who rent from a council or housing association and war veterans have been eligible.

The extra cash means applications will be accepted from all first-time buyers.

The scheme lets people pay for between 60% and 90% of their home.

The government funds the rest by taking an interest-free equity stake.

Mr Neil said: "Many first-time buyers may not be able to afford a large deposit to help them buy their first home.

"That is why we are doing all we can to help people on low to moderate incomes across Scotland get on the property ladder where it is affordable for them.

"It is good news for households and families wishing to purchase their first home and also helps second-steppers who wish to move home."

Lift initiatives

The Scottish government operates two other related initiatives - the New Supply Shared Equity Scheme and the New Supply Shared Equity with Developers Scheme.

They all form part of the government's Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (Lift)

Link Housing Association chief executive Craig Sanderson said the move would help many families get a home of their choice.

"I welcome the Scottish government's extension of this initiative which will have a 'knock-on' effect of releasing much-needed housing available at rents affordable to people in low-paid employment or on limited fixed incomes," he added.

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