In a move that will no doubt be the envy of peers south of the border, the Scottish government has announced that it will be extending the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme beyond 2019.
From April 2019, a further £100 million will be invested over two years, helping up to 4,000 households to purchase a new home.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said, “Since we introduced Help to Buy, the scheme has not only helped thousands of buyers into new homes – It has supported around 9,000 jobs.
“A third of the annual £50 million budget – £18 million – will be reserved for sales from SME builders, who were particularly affected by the drop in development finance after the financial crisis.
“We know house builders still see Scotland as a place to continue to develop and invest, with the latest figures showing new house completions grew by 5% over the last year.
Nicola Barclay, Chief Executive of Homes for Scotland, which represents companies building the majority of the country’s homes, added, “With most Scots wanting to own their own home and the scheme proven to increase build rates, this is a very welcome announcement.
“This additional funding will provide our member companies with the certainty that they need to invest in and open up new sites and expand the number of homes available to new purchasers. Crucially, just as the scheme’s extension will ensure even more people can buy a home, it will also ease pressure in other parts of the housing market as people move into home ownership from socially rented homes and come off council house waiting lists.”
News of the Scottish Government’s decision to extend funding of its hugely successful Help to Buy shared equity scheme for two more years has been applauded by home builders who described it as good news for buyers and Scotland as a whole.
Over 12,000 households have already used the scheme to purchase qualifying new build homes with only a 5% deposit since Help to Buy was first introduced in Scotland in 2013. This, in turn, has contributed over half a billion pounds in Gross Value Added to the economy.
Barclay added, “This is great news on a number of different fronts as the Scottish Government clearly recognises the value and wide-ranging benefits that its Help to Buy initiative provides.
“By allocating further targeted funding until 2021, it is not only extending the opportunity of home ownership to more Scots who are currently saving to buy their own home but will also provide the much-needed confidence and certainty that housebuilding companies need to continue to invest and grow their businesses in Scotland. This positive message is fundamental to helping us work together to increase the supply of new housing.
“With Help to Buy providing an equity stake that is repayable to the Scottish Government, and with receipts received to date higher than projected, the scheme is already demonstrating its value as an effective housing policy driver for the delivery of new homes, enabling Scots to purchase a new-build home without the need for a large deposit, and with very little impact on the public purse.”