Low Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT)

First time buyers can now get a helping hand onto the property ladder thanks to a new Scottish Government Scheme. LIFT Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE), a shared equity scheme from the Scottish Government, has been created to help first time buyers, and other priority groups, take the first steps into affordable property ownership.

Through the scheme, buyers fund the majority share of the property (usually through mortgage and deposit) and receive an interest-free loan of between 10% and 40% of the property price from the Scottish Government for the remaining share.

Example: If the property costs £100,000 and the buyer can afford to contribute £70,000, the Scottish Government could provide the remaining £30,000 (30%). When the property is sold, 30% of the sale price is returned to the Scottish Government.

The share funded by the Scottish Government is held under a ‘shared equity agreement’; buyers own the property outright and can choose to either increase their share over time or wait to repay the percentage share when the property is sold.

The scheme has restrictions on the size of property that can be purchased, depending upon size of household, and there are maximum price thresholds for each local authority area. Find out more on Link Housing Association’s website

Local authority and housing association tenants, disabled people with a housing need, members of the armed forces, veterans who have left the armed forces within the last two years, partners or spouses of those killed while serving in the armed forces within the last two years, and people aged over 60 with a housing need can all apply to the scheme, even if they have previously owned a property.

Link administers the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government throughout Scotland. Find out more and apply online www.linkhousing.org.uk/lift-tenants