Affordable housing scheme extended to first time buyers


The government announced recently that from the 14 May 2008 that the Homebuy affordable housing scheme is open to all first time buyers with an annual household income of below £60,000. This is a major expansion of the eligibility criteria and the government are planning a major marketing campaign which is to be launched in conjunction with lenders and housing associations to raise awareness.

Back in April 2005 the Labour government in its election manifesto stated its intention to assist first time buyers who could not own or part own a home without financial help. The scheme provided for 3 shared equity products:

  • Open Market Homebuy, which supports outright purchases on the open market with the assistance of an equity loan.
  • New Build Homebuy, which is a shared ownership scheme offering the opportunity to part-buy, part rent a newly built property.
  • Social Homebuy, which offers social tenants the opportunity to part-buy a minimum share of 25% in their existing home at a discount, and pay rent on the outstanding equity.

Originally the Homebuy scheme gave priority to social tenants, those on housing waiting lists for social rented housing and public sector key workers such as the nursing profession and other public sector key workers.

With the announcement that both the New Build Homebuy and Open Market Homebuy products will be made available to all first time buyers is a major expansion of the eligibility criteria for the Homebuy scheme and should help a lot of first time buyers who would not normally be able to buy a property to get a foot on the property ladder.

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