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Help For First Time Buyers

30th March 2009

A 60 million scheme offering a route into home ownership for first time buyers starts today.

The Open Market Shared Equity Pilot scheme is being expanded from 10 council areas to the whole of Scotland.

A substantially increased budget of 60 million - up from 24 million - is expected to help around 1500 households to buy through the scheme this year.

The scheme is part of the Scottish Government's Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers, to help people on low to moderate incomes buy an affordable home where that is sustainable for them.

Through the Open Market scheme, buyers can own a home, but only pay for a proportion of it - between 60 and 80 per cent of its value - with the Government funding the remainder through taking an interest-free equity stake.

The buyer does not pay any charges on the equity stake, but pays the Scottish Government a proportion of the sale price at the time of sale, or earlier if they wish.

Minister for Housing and Communities, Alex Neil said: "As part of its economic recovery plan, the Scottish Government wants to help families during difficult economic times.

"This scheme will help first time buyers across Scotland to access the housing market.

"It will also help people who are struggling to sell their homes in the current climate by stimulating sales of properties in local housing markets.

"It will provide a small, but much needed boost to house sales in a number of areas across Scotland."

Kennedy Foster from the Council of Mortgage Lenders Scotland, said: The Council of Mortgage Lenders supports the expansion of access to sustainable home-ownership across Scotland.

"Where there is demand for it, these schemes provide low to moderate income borrowers with housing choice and opportunity."

Jonathan Fair, Chief Executive of Homes for Scotland, said: "Today's formal launch of the Scottish Government's 60 million Open Market Shared Equity scheme, across the whole of Scotland, is a welcome and important step towards assisting first-time buyers to
re-enter the market at this critical time.

"Encouraging and assisting sales of homes, including off-the-shelf new build as well as existing properties, has the potential to help reinvigorate Scotland's wider sustainable economic growth."

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