What is the First Homes scheme?

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Government propose discount scheme for first time buyers and key workers

First Homes Discount

Under a new government-backed scheme, eligible first time buyers are able to purchase a new build home with a 30% to 50% discount. Initially announced in February 2020, the First Homes scheme gives people in England the chance to buy a home in their local area for less than the market price.

 

First Homes Discount: Overview

Buyers can look for new properties available through the First Homes scheme in their local area, with developers offering these homes to first time buyers with a discount of 30% to 50% of the market value of the property.

Each home being sold through the scheme is valued by an independent surveyor to make sure the discount is based on actual market value, and these homes cannot cost more than £250,000 – or £420,000 in London – after the discount has been applied.

When selling your home, you can only sell to someone who is also eligible to buy through the First Homes scheme. You will need to give them the same percentage discount that you received but based on the home’s market value at the time of the sale.

 

First Homes Discount: Applications

To apply for a property available through the First Homes scheme, you will need to contact the relevant developer, or estate agent if you’re buying from a previous First Homes purchaser, and inform them that you wish to buy through First Homes. The developer will assist you in completing the application before sending this to the local council.

You will be required to pay a fee if the home you want to purchase is a new build property, with the amount being set by the developer, but you will receive this fee back if your application in unsuccessful.

The local council will check through your application to ensure that you are eligible for the home and will contact you with their decision; they will also contact the relevant developer and your mortgage advisor.

 

First Homes Discount: Eligibility

The scheme aims to help people in areas of high demand, who would be unable to afford to buy a home locally without the discount. In order to buy a home through the First Homes scheme, you must meet certain eligibility criteria:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Your household income must be no more than £80,000 (or £90,000 in London).
  • You must be a first time buyer, meaning you have never owned another home in the UK or abroad.
  • You must be able to get a mortgage for at least half the price of the home.

 

First Homes Discount: Prioritisation

The local council may have additional eligibility conditions. For example, some councils may prioritise giving First Homes discounts to:

  • Essential workers.
  • People who already live in the area.
  • Those on lower incomes.

However, buyers may be exempt from some or all council conditions if they are:

  • A member of the armed forces.
  • A veteran who left the armed forces in the last five years.
  • The divorced / separated spouse or civil partner of a member of the armed forces.
  • A widow or widower of a deceased member of the armed forces (if their death was caused wholly or partly by their service).

 

To find out more about other home-buying options such as Shared Ownership and Help to Buy, visit our article index for informational features and blog, or check out our helpful FAQs and guides. Alternatively, you can start your search for a new home on Share to Buy’s property portal today!