Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme

A strong and growing house-building industry is key to Scotland's future economic prosperity. The Scottish Government is supporting home ownership by helping people to become homeowners where it is affordable for them over the long term.

The Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme aims to help stimulate Scotland's house-building industry and to help people to buy a new build home in Scotland from a home builder who has been approved to participate in the scheme. On 27 September 2013 Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced funding for the scheme of £220m over three years. This was increased in May 2014 to £275m; the revised budget is allocated as follows:

  • £35m for financial year 2013/14
  • £140m for financial year 2014/15
  • £100m for financial year 2015/16
2014/15

The Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme is a demand-led scheme and its budget for 2014/15 (which covers house purchases from the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015) has been fully allocated. No new application forms to the scheme will be considered.

2015/16

Funding of £100 million has been made available by the Scottish Government for the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme for financial year 2015/16 (which is for transactions due to conclude from 1 April 2015 – 31 March 2016).

You should be aware that transactions approved to conclude in financial year 2015/16 cannot conclude in either 2014/15 or 2016/17.

If you wish to apply for the 2015/16 scheme, you must speak to your independent Financial Advisor, lender or home builder in the first instance.

Please be aware that the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme is a demand-led scheme and once its budget is fully allocated in each financial year to help people to buy a home, no new application forms can be considered.

As from 22 October applications will be only be accepted by administering agents, for properties valued up to a maximum of £250,000.

These changes do not affect those currently holding an approval for the purchase of a property valued up to £400,000.

You can apply up to 9 months in advance of the anticipated completion date. Please apply at least one month in advance of the completion date to allow the necessary legal paperwork to be completed.

What is Help to Buy (Scotland)?

The Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme helps buyers to buy a new build home from a participating home builder without having to fund all of the purchase price.

Here's a short summary of how the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme works:

  • the scheme is only available on new build homes from participating home builders and on homes up to a maximum value of £250,000;
  • your mortgage lender is likely to require you contribute a deposit of around 5% and your mortgage and deposit must cover a combined minimum 80% of the total purchase price.
  • Your mortgage from a qualifying lender must be a repayment mortgage, of at least 25%, and you are not permitted to buy a Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme property with an interest-only first mortgage;
  • the Scottish Government will help buyers to purchase the property and will take an equity stake of between 10% and 20% of the value of the property;
  • the scheme is only available to those who are unable to afford to purchase the property without the Government purchasing an equity share in the property, i.e. if you are able to afford over 90% of the purchase price through a combination of available mortgage and deposit, your application is likely to fall;
  • the scheme is not available to a single person who requires a mortgage of more than 4.5 times their income or couples that require a mortgage of more than 3.5 times their joint income;
  • the Scottish Government’s equity stake can be repaid at any time;
  • your repayment of the equity is based on the value of the property at the time of the repayment;
  • no annual interest is charge on your equity stake; and
  • there are currently 8 lenders offering mortgages for the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme, please contact them to check what their lending criteria is for the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme.
If you are interested in the scheme, what should you do?
  • read the information leaflet for buyers. This will provide you with vital information on how the scheme operates;
  • in the first instance you will need to search for Help to Buy properties that are for sale by a participating home builder. The properties may be marketed for sale on estate agents’ websites, home builder’s websites, in local newspapers, or on the radio;
  • contact the home builder for further details and to arrange viewings;
  • speak to a lender or an independent financial advisor before you submit an application form to one of the agents administering the scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government;
  • you should not submit a full mortgage application until you have received an 'Authority to Proceed’ from one of the administering agents informing you that your application is eligible to participate in the scheme; and
  • you can apply up to 9 months in advance of the anticipated completion date. Please apply at least one month in advance of the completion date to allow the necessary legal paperwork to be completed.
Participating Lenders

There are currently 8 lenders offering mortgages for the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme:

  • Barclays
  • Glasgow Credit Union
  • Leeds Building Society
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • Nationwide
  • Scotwest Credit Union
  • Skipton Building Society
  • Virgin Money
After Sale Shared Equity Procedure

The Scottish Government has prepared After Sales Shared Equity Procedures to help with any post-sale queries from shared equity owners. The document contains sample emails and correspondence to be used for situations including when a property is re-mortgaged, when a person wishes to purchase additional equity, and when a person wishes to add or remove a person from a shared equity documentation.

The Scottish Government has also prepared a Post Sale Booklet for Buyers which covers the most commonly asked questions relating to any post-sale situation or queries.

Home Builder Registration for the scheme

The registration process for home builders to take part in the scheme is still open to all home builders of new build homes in Scotland.  The homes must be available for sale between 01 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.

All home builders who wish to participate in the scheme must complete and return a Registration Form.

All home builders will be expected to enter into a Participation Agreement with Scottish Ministers. We recommend that organisations ensure that they can comply with the terms of the Participation Agreement before submitting a Registration Form.

Copies of the Participation Agreement, Guidance for Home Builders and the Registration Form can be requested from the Housing Markets Team by emailing housingmarkets@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)

This Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) relates to the provisions for the amendment of Section 11 of the Land Tenure Reform (Scotland) Act, which is more commonly referred to as the '20 year security rule'.

Help to Buy (Scotland) Small Developments scheme

The forthcoming Help to Buy (Scotland) Small Developments scheme announced in the Programme for Government on 26 November 2014 will support Help to Buy purchases on small developments, spreading the benefits of Help to Buy to smaller developers.  Its £30m budget will be available for new-build properties on small developments with completion dates between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.

Details on the launch of the scheme, including the application process, qualifying criteria and opening dates for appliciations will be made available in due course.