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Closed Products

The following products are no longer available through the FIRST STEPS programme and are provided for reference only.

For a list of products that are currently offered through FIRST STEPS you should visit the Your Options page.


A shared equity scheme available until it was announced in the 2013 budget that it would be superseded by 'Help to buy'. With FirstBuy, customers could purchase a minimum of 80% of the property with a mortgage and a deposit and raise a minimum deposit equivalent to 5% of the value of the property. There was NO fee charged on the loan for the first five years and after that there was a fee on each of the equity loans of 1.75%, rising annually by the increase in the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 1%. Firstbuy in itself was an amended version of Homebuy Direct (below) the other principal government equity loans product of recent years.

London Wide Initiative (LWI)

London Wide Initiative was a shared equity product for key workers, and in some cases local residents, at specific developments across London. Through LWI, the government retains a percentage of equity in a home and the home buyer will not need to make any monthly payments on the government's share. If the home buyer left their key worker profession within the first three years of ownership then they repaid the government's share or sold the home.

Open Market HomeBuy

Open Market HomeBuy helped first time buyers and key workers buy a home of their own on the open market with help of an equity loan. In 2008 two options replaced the old Open Market HomeBuy scheme that had existed since 2006, these options were MyChoiceHomeBuy and Ownhome.


MyChoiceHomeBuy was a government funded, low-cost-homeownership product that enabled eligible applicants to choose and purchase a home of their own on the open market with the help of a flexible equity loan.

Home buyers would raise a mortgage with a high street bank or building society and received a government equity loan of up to 50% of the property value. There is an annual charge on the loan of 1.75% in the first year that would marginally increase each following year.


The alternative scheme to MyChoiceHomeBuy was called Ownhome delivered by Places for People where home buyers could lend between 20% and 40% of the value of their chosen property, up to a maximum of £165,000. No interest payments were payable on the Ownhome loan for the first five years. After five years interest was charged at a fixed rate of 1.75% each year. After a further five years this would increase to a fixed rate of 3.75% p.a.

First Time Buyers' Initiative (FTBI)

First Time Buyers' Initiative was a government backed scheme started in 2006 delivered through English Partnerships (the then national regeneration agency, in collaboration with the Housing Corporation). It enabled aspiring first time buyers, who could not otherwise afford to buy a new home, to purchase a new property with an affordable mortgage and with government assistance on a designated FTBI development.

Assistance was paid to the participating house builder, not the first time buyer. The government would then be entitled to a share of the future sale proceeds which are equal to the initial percentage contribution required to assist the buyer. It enabled the FTBI buyer to take out an affordable mortgage (minimum 50% of the total purchase price) on which they would make repayments.

HomeBuy Direct

HomeBuy Direct was an equity loan product where the customer purchased a minimum of 70% of the property with a mortgage and a deposit, receiving two 15% equity loans, one from the Homes & Communities Agency and one from the house builder. The loan is interest free for the first five years. After that you will pay a fee on each of the equity loans of 1.75%, rising annually by the increase in the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 1%.

If you bought a home with FirstBuy, LWI, FTBI or HomeBuy Direct and are looking to take your next steps, visit who can help and advise you on fee payment, equity repayment (in part, or in full) and other services such as remortgaging, transfer of ownership, further advances and much more.

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