Scottish Government unveils plan to help first-time buyers

Mortgage indemnity scheme to aid households across Scotland
Mortgage indemnity scheme to aid households across Scotland
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A NEW scheme to help thousands of people get on the housing ladder was unveiled today, with the Scottish Government providing a financial guarantee to make mortgages more easily available.

It will mean that instead of having to come up with 25 per cent deposits, prospective house buyers could be required to put down only five or ten per cent.

The three-year scheme will apply to new-build properties up to £250,000.

The government said its guarantee would help up to 6000 households gain easier access to new homes. Nationwide and the Royal Bank of Scotland are throwing their weight behind the national mortgage indemnity scheme, developed by home-building industry body Homes for Scotland.

And Bank of Scotland/Halifax will offer mortgages though the scheme in the near future. Twelve house builders have signed up for the scheme so far and more are expected to follow shortly.

A report yesterday said the difficulties people faced in getting a mortgage could soon see the average age of first-time buyers rise to 40.

According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, there were 44,000 loans advanced for home purchases in Scotland in 2011 compared to 105,000 in 2006 – a fall of 60 per cent.

Often would-be buyers can afford to make the mortgage repayments, but are refused because they cannot find the large deposits demanded.

The new scheme will enable credit-worthy borrowers to access 90 to 95 per cent mortgages from participating lenders. Homes for Scotland believe the scheme could generate sales of up to £1 billion over three years and create or safeguard 22,800 construction jobs and over 650 apprenticeships.

Launching the indemnity scheme in Edinburgh, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Government wants to help people get onto and move up the housing ladder, where it is sensible and sustainable for them. “I hope this new scheme encourages lenders to offer more high loan-to-value mortgages to credit-worthy borrowers who are unable to put down the large deposits demanded in the current mortgage market.”

Homes for Scotland chief executive Philip Hogg said: “The main obstacle to recovery in our sector remains constraints on mortgage lending. The scale of the problem is highlighted by the fact that Scottish home buyers are having to find an average 25 per cent. This equates to nearly £40,000 based on an average home price of £156,410 – completely unachievable for most.

“We need new and creative ways of thinking in order to get the marketing moving and more homes built. Only through the implementation of innovative measures like MI New Home can we ensure Scots have access to a full range of housing options.”