First Home Fund closes after five days

First Home Fund closes after five days

The First Home Fund, a shared equity pilot scheme launched by the Scottish Government to provide first-time buyers with funding, has closed for applications after just five working days.

The fund opened on 1 April this year with a budget of £60 million. It provides first-time buyers with up to £25,000 to help them buy a property that meets their needs and is located in the area where they want to live.

Launched in December 2019 with an initial budget of £150 million to pilot a new approach to supporting first-time buyers, it is open to all first-time buyers in Scotland and can be used for new build and existing properties.

Announcing the closure, a message on the Scottish Government website said that the fund is fully committed for 2021-22 and applications are now closed.

It reads: “Any applications in progress but not yet submitted at point of closure are unable to be processed.”

Reacting to the news, Nicola Barclay, chief executive of industry body Homes for Scotland, said: “This will clearly be very disappointing news to all those people who had been hoping that the First Home Fund would enable them to get onto the property ladder.

“We anticipated that there would be huge demand given the success of the pilot scheme run last year. Despite this, the Scottish Government allocated just 30% of the levels spent in 2020, citing budget cuts from Westminster for the reduction.”

She added: “This also comes on top of the closure of the hugely successful Help to Buy scheme and will be a huge blow to all those who aspire to own their own home. The lack of availability of 95% LTV mortgages has made it incredibly difficult for first time buyers to access mortgage finance, despite strong evidence that shows that owning a home is often cheaper than renting.

“I urgently call on Kate Forbes to act now to support all those who will be devastated by today’s announcement. No one can be in any doubt about the need to support those unable to save for large deposits, and we will be watching closely at pledges made by all political parties as the election campaign continues.”

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