Ruth Maguire MSP has welcomed the Scottish Government’s intentions to reopen the pilot First Home Fund after the scheme has helped thousands to enter the housing market.

The new scheme has been particularly popular since the housing market reopened in June, and is expected to support over 8,000 households into home ownership by the end of the financial year. Those who are completing purchases this financial year have until October 2 to apply to the fund.

The fund offers first-time buyers of loans up to £25,000 for their deposit.

In recognition of its early success since opening in December 2019, the Scottish Government intends to reopen for applications in the new year for home purchases completing in 2021/22.

The SNP MSP said: “I’m pleased to hear that the pilot First Home Fund is expected to help over 8,000 households to enter the property market and that the Scottish Government plan to re-open the fund for more applications next year.

“The uptake of assistance for first time buyers, particularly during a period of recovery for the economy is a positive development.

“I would encourage anybody in North Ayrshire looking to complete a move in this financial year to ensure that they apply before the deadline on Thursday this week or to keep an eye out for applications reopening in the new year.”

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “The pilot of our First Home Fund has been a huge success, helping thousands of people own their first home.

“The fund has been especially important since property sales resumed over the summer, and we invested a further £50 million in July to help ensure that first-time buyers could still access the market despite changes to mortgages caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“While the scheme is almost fully subscribed for 2020-21, I am pleased to say that I will reopen the pilot for the next financial year, and look forward to announcing further details of this in due course.

“In the meantime, first-time buyers will still be able to access shared equity schemes including Help to Buy (Scotland) and LIFT (the Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers), and I would encourage them to consider these options.”

The First Home Fund was launched with an initial budget of £150 million. The Scottish Government invested a further £50 million in July in response to reduced availability of higher loan-to-value mortgages caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

It is open to all first-time buyers in Scotland and can be used for new build and existing properties.

Buyers are required to fund around 5% of the value of their new property from their own funds as a deposit. The Scottish Government contribution is secured on the equity of the home, is repayable in full at any time, and must be repaid if the home is sold. No monthly payments apply.

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