Scotland launches Help to Buy
The new £220m Help to Buy (Scotland) shared equity scheme, details of which were announced today by deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, gives buyers the opportunity to purchase a majority share in a new build home up to the value of £400,000.
Following the success of an equivalent scheme in England, which has generated over 12,500 sales since its introduction in April, it is keenly anticipated that Help to Buy (Scotland) will stimulate a much needed increase in the supply of new homes following a building slump which has seen levels fall to their lowest in almost 70 years.
Philip Hogg, Chief executive of Homes for Scotland, said: “Given the immediate and significant impact the Help to Buy concept has had elsewhere in the UK, it was absolutely imperative that comparable levels of support were provided here to ensure that buyers, builders and the wider Scottish economy were not disadvantaged.
“We therefore applaud the Scottish Government on both the measures announced today and the new timeframe for the proposed changes to energy standards revealed earlier this week.
“Having listened to the industry, the Scottish Government has acted in a pragmatic way to encourage the building of more homes and support vital jobs, skills and apprenticeships.
“Increasing the range of options available to purchasers, we believe Help to Buy (Scotland) could be a game changing initiative, acting as the required catalyst to help reverse the downward trend we have witnessed in home building over the last five years.
“The extra time being allowed before the implementation of new energy standards also provides additional assistance to the industry as it strives to recover from the severe impact of the economic downturn.”
The introduction of the scheme has also been welcomed by the Scottish broker market.
Ian McGrail, managing director of broker FirstMortgage, said: “The introduction of Help to Buy in Scotland comes as a great relief to us as we will now be able to deal with the escalating demand from first time buyers which has rapidly increased in recent months.
“The surge in employment opportunities in some of our major cities has made Scotland an increasingly attractive option for first time buyers, as our branches have reported enquiries are now at a record high.
“This should also bring some much needed good news for developers and construction firms, as the number of new homes built can now be sold on to homeowners. It is our sincere hope that the second phase of the scheme will also be introduced in the weeks ahead to ensure that those who still cannot be helped by Help to Buy 1 still have a chance of becoming a homeowner.”