Homebuyers beware

First Time Buyers looking for help to buy a house are likely to be disappointed.

The Open Market Shared Equity Scheme, which allows people to buy a share in a house and pay rent for the remainder, as a step towards full ownership, is this year only helping 650 people, all of whom applied last year. No new application forms are being issued.

And although there are some schemes to help with the purchase of new build, the New Supply Shared Equity scheme does not operate in the Falkirk area.

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie thinks more could and should be done, and has called on the Scottish Government to take action.

“At a time when people are having difficulty getting on the housing ladder, and when we could be stimulating the Scottish economy by boosting construction, it is shameful that so little is being done. First Time Buyers were promised grants of £2000, but that never materialised.

“If the Scottish and UK Governments won’t help First Time Buyers directly, they could at least work together to put pressure on the Banks to increase lending and support shared equity schemes. That could also help people looking to move to shared equity from a mortgage they are struggling to pay.”

Cathy has tabled questions to the Scottish Government. The first answer stated that the Scottish Government “are now also developing more innovative forms of affordable housing, for example through a £2.5 million New Supply Shared Equity trial being funded in partnership with private developers.”

“Forgive me for not being overwhelmed, but two and a half million is not going to pay for a significant share of very many houses,” said Cathy.

“Apart from that they could only offer to ask the new UK government to repeat the exemption from stamp duty that was given under the previous UK Government. Don’t hold your breath.”.

Cathy has also tabled questions on Housing Association grants.

“I’m very concerned by what I am hearing about the pressures on housing. The figures that I have requested will show whether the Scottish Government is squeezing Housing Association funding at the same time as things are getting more difficult for First Time Buyers, people with existing mortgages are struggling, and local authority budgets are under extreme pressure.”

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