Changes to the LIFT scheme, which allows buyers to get between 10% and 40% towards the price of a home purchased on the open market, mean applicants are no longer restricted on the size of property they can buy, as long as they meet the financial criteria and the property is large enough to avoid overcrowding. Price thresholds have also increased in 26 local authority areas.
Amy, a recent LIFT scheme buyer said: “I thought I would only be able to buy a small flat in an area I would not be happy to live in long term, however, the LIFT scheme allowed me to buy an affordable home with enough rooms for when I have a family.
“I previously paid more in private rent for a one-bedroom flat or to share a two-bedroom flat than I am on my mortgage. It’s also meant I could buy much sooner than planned and it's a property for most of my adult life. I am so grateful the LIFT scheme exists.”
Properties purchased through the scheme must be advertised for sale on the open market, e.g. on a website, and be within the price threshold for the area.
Bethany had been renting privately and now owns a two-bedroom property in East Lothian thanks to the LIFT scheme, saving her over £100 per month.
Bethany said: “It was a smooth process through which I felt fully supported and I’m very grateful I was able to use the LIFT scheme. If you’re thinking you can’t afford to buy check LIFT because it’s easier than you think.”
Bethany’s purchase details:
Property price: £120,000
Deposit paid: £6,000
Scottish Government contribution: £47,630
Monthly mortgage payments: £320
Previous monthly rent payments: £450
In this example, the Scottish Government contributed 40% of the price and will get the same percentage back when the property is sold. The Scottish Government’s 40% is repaid either when the property is sold, or the buyer can choose to increase their equity share in the property over time. There are no monthly repayments to the Scottish Government.
Not just for first-time buyers
Kevin, a previous social tenant, recently bought a home through the LIFT scheme. Kevin said, “LIFT helped us buy our first home. Council rent was £416 a month, our mortgage is £230 a month. We will be able to pay more mortgage off, repay government money, and own our own home.”
In addition to first-time buyers, the LIFT scheme is open to current social tenants, as well as people with a disability, and people aged 60 and over who can demonstrate a housing need.
Members of the armed forces, veterans who have left the armed forces within the past two years, and widows, widowers and other partners of service personnel whose partner has lost their life while serving in the armed forces within the last two years, are also eligible for the scheme.
Link Housing administers the LIFT scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government in all 32 local authority areas.
For more information and to apply online, visit www.linkhousing.org.uk/LIFT or text ‘LIFT’ to 66777. Eligibility criteria apply. Always seek independent financial advice before applying.