First Home Fund
The Scottish Government’s First Home Fund is a shared equity scheme that helps first-time home buyers purchase a property that meets their needs and is located in the area they want to live.
The scheme will provide you with up to £25,000 towards the purchase of a home and can be used for both new build and existing properties.
As this is a shared equity scheme, both you and the Scottish Government will hold an equity share in the property under a shared equity agreement.
The scheme opened in December 2019 and will provide £200 million of funding for first-time buyers. Due to high uptake in recent weeks, the First Home Fund closed to new applications at 6pm on Friday 2 October 2020.
This represents a pause in the First Home Fund scheme which will re-open in 2021 for purchases completing from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. Further details will be announced in due course.
The Scottish Government continues to support homebuyers and the housebuilding sector through existing schemes including Help to Buy (Scotland) and the Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT).
Frequently Asked Questions
- My award letter relates to funding for 2020-21 but the completion date is confirmed as being delayed beyond 31 March 2021. Will I need to re-apply when the scheme opens for 2021-22 applications?
Decisions on whether to extend the approval period for applications already made which may be delayed beyond 31 March 2021 due to COVID-19 will be made on a case by case basis, taking into account the circumstances of each case.
As you may be aware, on 15 July construction businesses were able to move to Phase 4 of the Industry Restart Plan. By progressing to Phase 4, the construction industry is able to fully restart construction activities with appropriate safety measures in place and this is likely to allow house builders to progress sites faster than has been possible up until now. The final stage of the industry restart plan will see construction companies increase density and productivity, building on their experience of the new guidelines.
Normally if missives do not conclude within 3 months of application and the purchase does not complete within 6 months thereafter or by 31 March 2021 (whichever is earlier) then the application will be cancelled and the applicant must re-apply.
- Can I apply for 2021-22 funding before the scheme re-opens?
No, applications for 2021-22 funding can only be submitted when the scheme re-opens, via the online form which will open at www.linkhousing.org.uk/firsthomefund.
- I have decided against buying the property I was approved to buy with support from the First Home Fund: can I change the property or do I need to re-apply?
You must re-apply if the property you originally intended to buy changes. The only exception is a different plot number with a property of the same value and builder within the same development, prior to receipt of Solicitors Confirmation Letter.
- Will there be changes to scheme criteria for 2021-22 applications?
No changes will be made.
- Will there be any exceptions to the deadline for 2020-21 applications?
No exceptions can be made in order to be fair to all applicants, therefore please allow sufficient time to submit applications by the deadline.
- When will funding for 2021-22 be announced?
Funding for next financial year will be announced in due course, following the results of the Spending Review. The Link and Scottish Government websites will be updated with full details when available.
- Can I apply to the First Home Fund after conclusion of missives?
We have received a number of enquiries about whether applications can be made after conclusion of missives: this is not permitted except where there are exceptional circumstances and the usual application handling timescales would not be compromised. This also applies to cases where builders are asking clients to sign a “conditional missive” now, for a reservation in 2021/22, prior to the scheme re-opening in January. We strongly advise against this practise as we cannot guarantee funding.
- What if conclusion of missives is delayed?
Normally missives must conclude within 3 months of the date on the award letter (or the end of the financial year, whichever is sooner), or they have to re-apply. However, if a 2020/21 case was due to have missives conclude this financial year for First Home Fund, the Scottish Government has permitted Link to extend the deadline to do so to the end of March 2021 provided they settle by then. For 2021/22 applications the published rules will apply (i.e. must conclude missives within 3 months of date on award letter, and must settle within 6 months thereafter or end of 2021/22 financial year whichever is sooner).
Information for buyers
- Applicant Journey Flowchart
- First Home Fund Overview
- Scottish Government Shared Equity Scheme Post Sales Information for Buyers
The following lenders offer mortgages for the First Home Fund:
- Bank of Scotland
- Capital Credit Union
- Glasgow Credit Union
- Leeds Building Society
- The Mansfield Building Society
- Scotwest Credit Union
- Vida Homeloans
Information for homebuying professionals
- Guidance leaflet for lenders & IFAs
- Administrative procedures
- Sustainability calculator
- After Sales Shared Equity Procedures
- Application form sample – all applications must be online
- Award letter
- Standing instructions to solicitors
- Settlement timescales
- Solicitors Confirmation Letter Accuracy Calculator
Link’s After Sales team provides a range of services and transactions for buyers who purchased their home through one of the Scottish Government’s shared equity schemes. Find out more.
More information on the First Home Fund and the eligibility requirements can be found on the Scottish Government website.
Contact the First Home Fund team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0330 303 0555.