Scheme could help first-time house buyers

A scheme to help people currently in social or private rented accom­modation buy a house on the open market is being piloted by the Scottish Government.

The initiative is aimed at potential first time buyers, es­pecially those living in council or Hjaltland Housing Association properties, in private rented housing or with relatives. People in the armed forces and veterans are also eligible.

The scheme to provide financial support to those on low incomes who wish to own their own home is being managed locally by Hjalt-land.

Applicants who meet the entry and financial criteria will receive funding to help them buy a property on the open market, thus releasing rented accommodation and relieving pressure on the housing waiting list. Hjaltland, together with SIC, have agreed that priority be given to those in council and Hjaltland properties in the high demand areas of Lerwick, Scalloway, Tingwall, Burra, Weisdale, Voe, Brae, Cunningsburgh and Sand­wick.

Funding has been received to help five people take part in the scheme. Four out of the five will be in public sector rented ac­commodation in the high-pressure areas, and the fifth allocation will go to any first time buyer.

If they are deemed to be eligible, the person’s salary and savings will be taken into account and they will be expected to buy as much of their chosen property as possible, up to 80 per cent of the price, which could either be mortgage and savings or purely mortgage. The government scheme will then fund the remainder.

Under present rules the potential purchaser has 12 weeks to find a property they wish to buy. They are not allowed to buy the house they are already in.

After two years the person would be entitled, if they wish, to make a further purchase to own a greater part of the property.

When the house is sold, the government stake is handed back.

The scheme is similar to Hjaltland’s own shared ownership scheme, except that in this case the owner will have full title.

For further information please contact Fiona Robertson at Hjaltland Housing Association on (01595) 694986.


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