Important changes to the LIFT scheme

Following a review by the Scottish Government, changes have been made to the Low Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) scheme.

The LIFT OMSE scheme helps first-time buyers, and other priority groups, get onto the property ladder by providing an interest-free loan towards the cost of a home. The Scottish Government provides funding of between 10% and 40% of the sale price and gets the same percentage back when the property is sold.     

When buying through the LIFT scheme, you choose a property for sale on the open market. To be eligible, properties must be: 

  • Advertised for sale publicly e.g. on a website or social media site, and 
  • Priced within the maximum threshold for the local authority area. 

Removal of property size restrictions

LIFT scheme buyers were previously restricted on the size of property they could purchase depending upon the size of their household.

This restriction has been removed, so you can now purchase any size of property as long as you meet the financial criteria and the property is large enough to avoid overcrowding.  

For example, a single applicant, who would previously have been eligible to buy up to a three-apartment property, can now apply to purchase any size of property they meet the financial criteria for, making buying through LIFT a viable option for more households.

Increase in price thresholds

Property price thresholds have increased in the following 26 local authority areas:

  • Angus
  • Argyll & Bute
  • Central Mainland (Highland)
  • Dundee
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • East Lothian
  • East Mainland (Highland)
  • East Renfrewshire
  • Edinburgh
  • Eilean Siar
  • Falkirk
  • Fife North
  • Fife South
  • Glasgow
  • Midlothian
  • Moray
  • North Aberdeenshire
  • North Ayrshire
  • Orkney
  • Perth & Kinross
  • Renfrewshire
  • Rural Stirling
  • South Lanarkshire
  • West Dunbartonshire
  • West Lothian
  • West Mainland (Highland)

See here for a full list of price thresholds.

In addition to first time buyers, the following groups get priority access to the scheme:   

  • Social renters   
  • People with a disability who can demonstrate a housing need  
  • 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 who have lost their life while serving in the armed forces within the last two years    
  • People aged over 60 who can demonstrate a housing need   

Link Housing administers the LIFT scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government for the whole of Scotland; applications to the scheme are made through Link’s dedicated LIFT team. 

Eligibility criteria applies. Always seek independent financial advice before applying.

To find out more, visit www.linkhousing.org.uk/LIFT