With house prices continuing to rise across Scotland, many first-time buyers are unable to save up sufficient deposits and obtain mortgages to take their first step onto the housing ladder.
The Scottish Government has created a number of shared equity schemes to help those on low to moderate incomes become home owners.
This includes the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme, which has helped over 10,000 households purchase a home since it started in 2007.
With LIFT, buyers contribute between 60% and 90% towards the price of a property advertised on the open market, typically through a combination of mortgage and deposit.
The Scottish Government pays the remaining percentage under a shared equity agreement with the buyer. The same percentage is only repayable if the owner comes to sell the property.
The buyer will typically contribute a 5% deposit when purchasing through the scheme – although some lenders may be able to offer 0% deposit mortgages – making home ownership more accessible to those who may have thought it out of reach.
The groups which can benefit from the scheme include: first-time buyers; social renters; people with disabilities; members of the Armed Forces; recent Armed Forces veterans; and widows and widowers of Armed Forces personnel who have been killed whilst serving in the past two years.
Over 60s can also benefit from the scheme, but unlike other applicants there is no requirement for them to take out a mortgage to fund their contribution.
Many people on low or moderate incomes do not believe that home ownership is a realistic option for them and continue to pay the high living costs associated with renting.
However, with LIFT, buyers can secure mortgages which are often far more affordable than the monthly rent they are paying.
Aimee Powell was a single, low-income earner who was renting privately due to her inability to obtain a large enough mortgage to buy a suitable home.
Aimee found that home ownership was a viable option for her and ultimately took her first step onto the property ladder with the assistance of the LIFT scheme.
She said of the scheme, “LIFT gave me the opportunity to become a home owner and create an investment in myself rather than throwing money away on rent.
Without LIFT, I would not be a homeowner now.”
Armed Forces personnel can also benefit from the LIFT, which has proven invaluable in securing suitable accommodation to help with transitions into civilian life.
Shadrech Chipwatali was a serving Armed Forces member who was making plans for the future in advance of his departure from The Forces.
A key part of his plans was to ensure that he and his family had a home suitable in terms of size and location.
Shadrech’s vision became a reality when he applied to the LIFT scheme.
He said, “This scheme gave us an option to get a house of our own when we least expected.
As a member of Armed Forces, it is especially ideal as LIFT gave me an option to buy a house from an area of my choice. This means my transitioning from Army life to civilian is already sorted.”
Countless others have benefitted from LIFT across Scotland, fulfilling their dreams of home ownership and building brighter futures for their families.
From helping first-time buyers onto the property ladder, to helping people with disabilities into more suitable homes, LIFT can assist many of those who least expect to be able to buy a home.
Link Housing Association administers the LIFT scheme throughout all 32 local authority areas in Scotland.
For more information about the scheme or to apply today, please click here