Ian McGrail, Managing Director of FirstMortgage, an independent mortgage advice service, comments on the ‘shared equity scheme’ that has been announced to help new homebuyers based north of the border.
Ever since George Osborne announced the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme in March’s spring budget, potential first-time buyers north of the border have been feeling rather left out! Our English neighbours have been able to buy newly built houses with a deposit of only 5%, a distant dream for Scots looking to take their first step onto the property ladder – until now.
This week, I am delighted to announce that our Deputy First minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has answered our prayers and revealed a £120M shared equity scheme. This funding will be available over the next two years, to both first time buyers and existing homeowners, who are buying a new build home.
The Scottish government’s decision to introduce a shared equity scheme should see our already busy offices receiving record numbers of enquiries, in what’s set to be an extremely busy year for all involved at FirstMortgage.
I expect the scheme’s effects, however, to be felt far beyond the FirstMortgage offices, as Scotland’s building and construction industries are boosted and we see a large number of new affordable homes built across Scotland. This increase in new affordable housing coupled with increasingly lower mortgage rates, means young people in Scotland should be able to break the cycle of renting for the very first time.
Scotland’s housing market has been a tough and often daunting place for prospective first-time buyers over the last few years. A combination of demand from lenders for large deposits and a severe lack of affordable housing has meant that many have found themselves left out in the cold.
With this in mind, the Scottish government’s recognition of the problem and decision to introduce a shared equity scheme, will hopefully allow thousands of people across Scotland to see homeownership as a reality and take their first all-important step onto the property ladder.