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Scottish Government extends Help to Buy

Words: Laura Edgar

Scotland’s housing minister Kevin Stewart has announced that Help to Buy (Scotland) is to be extended beyond 2019.

The scheme allows people to purchase a new-build home with a small deposit.

From April 2019, a further £100 million will be invested over two years, which the Scottish Government says will help up to 4,000 households to buy a new home.

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.

“Housing is about more than bricks and mortar; we want to provide safe, warm homes, help create a fairer Scotland, and preserve a diverse and more resilient construction sector.”

Since 2013, Help to Buy (Scotland) has supported more than 12,000 households in buying a new home.

Kate Houghton, policy and practice officer at RTPI Scotland, told The Planner the institute is “pleased to see this renewed funding commitment from the Scottish Government to meeting the country’s urgent need for more homes”.

“Viability of development is a major challenge, and we therefore hope that the extension of Help to Buy will ultimately support the delivery of sustainable and well planned places for people.”

Nicola Barclay, chief executive at Homes for Scotland, which represents most of Scotland’s housebuilders, said: “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.”

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