First time buyers in Scotland have been given a boost with the announcement of a £150million loan scheme to help them get a foot on the property ladder.
Prospective buyers will be able to access loans of up to £25,000 provided they can find at least 5% of the value of the property.
The move follows an earlier announcement of help for first time buyers with a raising of the threshold for the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT).
Since last June, all first-time buyers in Scotland have benefited from relief on LBTT which effectively raised the zero-tax threshold from £145,000 to £175,000.
Around 80% of first-time buyers now pay no LBTT at all, while those buying a property for more than £175,000 receive relief on the portion of the price below the threshold and benefit from savings of up to £600.
The new help-to-buy scheme was announced by Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, when she addressed the SNP’s annual conference at the week-end.
Welcoming the news Craig Smith, Director of Scottish Property Centre Shawlands, said: “This extra money will be an enormous help to young people seeking to take their first step on the property ladder.
“Rising property prices, particularly in Glasgow, a shortage of housing stock and a lack of credit have all conspired to make it more difficult for this generation of young people to buy their own homes, something their parents took for granted.
“We welcome any move that eases the cost burden on first time buyers, and we hope this is the first move in a general change of direction.”
The scheme in Scotland will mirror the Help to Buy scheme currently being used south of the border which was introduced in 2013 to help first-time buyers.
The loans will be secured on the equity of the home and is repayable in full at any time, with no monthly payments needed. Users of the scheme must repay the loan when the house is sold.
It will begin later this year and run until the end of parliament in 2021.
The Scottish Government also announced plans to tackle the oversupply of short-term lets in the country in a bid to protect its housing stock.
A consultation has now been launched to consider what powers local authorities should be given to help regulate the number of properties being used for short-term lets, to ensure local communities are protected.
For more information on the help-to-buy scheme and to find out if you qualify for funding, call your local Scottish Property Centre branch or email www.scottishpropertycentre.net