Is Help to Buy still an option in Scotland?

It’s not all bad news for you if you’re planning to buy in Scotland with Help to Buy because there are still options available. The BBC recently reported that the Help to Buy scheme in Scotland has fully allocated its funds for 2014/2015 - three months after the start of a new round. Financial support through Help to Buy will only become available on 1 April 2015 in Scotland again.

What are your options?

If you previously sent an application form to the scheme and an administering agent received your application by 5pm on 18 July 2014, your application will be assessed by the relevant agent and they will then contact you. If you are not contacted soon, get in touch with the agent to check availability of any funds that were potentially set aside.

According to the Scottish government, all applications already approved will proceed as normal. Demand for the scheme was exceptionally high and the government is considering other potential options for extending funding in the current financial year. However, hopeful buyers are advised not to hold their breath and instead plan for April 2015.

If you were intending to submit an application: Your first port of call is your independent financial advisor, home builder or lender (Barclays, Glasgow Credit Union, Leeds Building Society, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, Scotwest Credit Union, Skipton Building Society, and Virgin Money support Help to Buy). While you will not be able to benefit from the scheme until April 2015, they can advise you on how to get your application in early to receive ‘Authority to Proceed’ from an administering agent for the next round.

Because funding will be even more limited in 2015/2016 (£100 million as opposed to £140 million in 2014), it’s best to start gathering information now and be well prepared for an early application. The next step after getting financial advice is to look for properties that would apply under Help to Buy (new build homes from participating home builders and properties under £400 000) on estate agent websites and home builder’s websites. After you’ve selected a desired property you can contact an administering agent for Help to Buy who works with the Scottish Government, as shown in the table below this blog*.

What are the other options for buyer support?

For low to moderate earners the Open Market Shared Equity scheme is still an option. This is essentially a shared ownership scheme where the Scottish government holds a maximum 40% stake in the property, enabling home owners to be able to manage their mortgage payments more easily. As is the case with Help to Buy, you will need to have at least 5% to put down on a mortgage. Unlike Help to Buy, you will not have sole ownership of the property. However, the advantage of shared ownership is that it opens up your housing options considerably because you can buy from any seller – and in this area, an online estate agent like Tepilo is your best advisor.


*

AGENT:

Albyn Enterprises Limited

68 MacLennan Crescent INVERNESS IV3 8DN Telephone: 01463 259 895

Local Authority Areas Covered by the Agent:

Highland, Eilean Siar & Shetland Islands

AGENT:

Grampian Housing Association Limited

Huntly House 74 Huntly Street ABERDEEN AB10 1TD Freephone: 0800 1214 496

Local Authority Areas Covered by the Agent:

Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire & Moray

AGENT:

Link Homes

Watling House Callendar Business Park FALKIRK FK1 1XR Telephone: 08450 020163

Local Authority Areas Covered by the Agent:

Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Scottish Borders & Fife

Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dundee, Falkirk, Perth & Kinross & Stirling

Glasgow, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, East and West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, North and South Lanarkshire, North, South and East Ayrshire, Argyll & Bute and Dumfries & Galloway

AGENT:

Orkney Housing Association Limited

39a Victoria Street Kirkwall ORKNEY KW15 1DN Telephone: 01856 875 253

Local Authority Areas Covered by the Agent: Orkney Islands

Table supplied by the Scottish government.


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