Schemes to help you buy a home in Scotland

Read our guide to Scotland’s home buying schemes including Help to Buy and Shared Ownership, and see if you can buy your own home using one of the schemes.

Help to Buy

Help to Buy (Scotland) is made of up two schemes. The Affordable New Build Scheme available to larger homebuilders and the Smaller Developers New Build Scheme for smaller home builders and is available through participating builders.

Since 5 February 2021, the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme is no longer be accepting applications to the Help to Buy (Scotland): Affordable New Build scheme. They will continue to accept applications to the Help to Buy (Scotland): Smaller Developer scheme.

If you have a current application under the Affordable New Build scheme this will still be processed. If you have any questions regarding which scheme your current application is under, you will need to contact your administering agent.

Help to Buy (Scotland) is a shared equity scheme aimed at helping both first-time buyers and home movers buy their new build home.

The agents administering the schemes will identify which scheme your application will be processed under.

The rules covering the two schemes are identical:

  • You must have a deposit of at least 5%.
  • Your deposit and mortgage must cover a combined minimum of 85% of the purchase price.
  • The Scottish Government will as a result take a stake of up to 15% of the purchase price holding security over this proportion till you own your home outright.
  • The mortgage must be a repayment mortgage of at least 25%. This cannot be an interest-only first mortgage.

Details of how to apply for the Help to Buy (Scotland): affordable new build scheme are on the Scottish Government website.

Scotland Help to Buy

Help to Buy scheme: everything you need to know

A guide to Help to Buy ISAs

There are two other shared equity schemes in Scotland, which were created for first-time buyers only, under its LIFT (Low-cost Initiative for First-Time Buyers) programme.

New Supply Shared Equity (NSEE)

If you want to buy a new build home from a housing association or local council but can’t afford the total cost, you might be able to get help through the New Supply Shared Equity (NSSE) scheme.

The NSSE scheme is available across Scotland. It’s open to first-time buyers and these priority access groups:

  • people aged 60 and over
  • social renters (people who rent from the council or a housing association)
  • disabled people
  • members of the armed forces
  • veterans who have left the armed forces within the past two years
  • widows, widowers and other partners of service personnel for up to two years after their partner lost their life while serving.

The NSSE scheme is also available to people who have previously owned a home and have experienced a significant change in circumstances – for example, a marital breakdown.

Through the NSSE scheme you’ll be able to buy a new build home without having to fund its entire cost, and will receive assistance from the Scottish Government.

You’ll pay for the biggest share – usually between 60% and 80% of the home’s cost – and the Scottish Government will hold the remaining share under a ‘shared equity agreement’, which it will enter into with you.

It also means that if you ever choose to sell the home, the Scottish Government will get a share of the money.

How much can you afford to borrow?

Affordability calculator

You repay your mortgage lender and the Scottish Government when you sell.

Here’s an example of the scheme for someone buying 60% of the property:

Cost of property £100,000 % of cost
Scottish Government share £40,000 40%
Your share £60,000 60%
Sale price of property £120,000  
Scottish Government share £48,000 40%
Your share £72,000 60%*

Since the NSSE scheme is aimed at households with low to medium incomes, the local council or social landlord in your area will assess your application to see if you qualify.

You’ll need to be able to show that you can’t buy a new build house that suits your needs without getting help from the NSSE scheme.

Check the NSSE leaflet for further information before checking locations of New Supply Shared Equity projects currently available.

You should contact the relevant registered social landlord or local council directly and they’ll give you more information on the scheme and tell you how to send them an application.

Open Market Shared Equity scheme

The Open Market Shared Equity Scheme helps first-time buyers on low to moderate incomes to buy a home on the open market (within a certain price threshold), where this is sensible and sustainable for them to do so.

Although the scheme is currently open to help all first-time buyers, it is also open to priority group applicants which include social renters (in other words, people who rent a property from either a local authority or a housing association), disabled people, people aged 60 and over, 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 for up to two years after their partner has been killed while serving in the armed forces.

Under the scheme you will be required to contribute between 60%-90% of the purchase price of a home with the Scottish Ministers providing assistance to fund the remaining amount. Although you will own the property outright, the interests of the Scottish Government will be secured by a standard security on your property.

You will find some more general information about the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme and general information on the house buying process on the website and Shelter Scotland.

Shared Ownership

This is a cross between buying and renting, aimed mainly at first-time buyers.

You buy a share of the property (usually 25%, 50% or 75%), and a housing association, or other social housing organisation, owns the rest.

You pay to the Housing Association an occupancy charge (equivalent to a reduced rent) on the part you don’t own.

Priority for shared ownership housing will be given to:

  • first-time buyers with limited housing alternatives
  • members of the armed forces
  • veterans who have left the armed forces within the past two years
  • widows, widowers and other partners of service personnel for up to two years after their partner was killed while serving
  • public sector tenants
  • families on low incomes
  • disabled people.

If you can afford to buy a house outright, you won’t qualify for shared ownership housing.

Your local council

Shelter Scotland

Your next step

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