The high value of private housing and land in the Highlands means that many people find they are unable to buy homes on the open market.
Because of this, several low cost home ownership schemes have been made available. These are:
There are two shared equity schemes as part of the range of assistance from the Scottish Government under its Low-cost Initiative for First-Time Buyers (LIFT). These schemes enable people to buy a home in partnership with a registered social landlord. An owner generally pays between 60% and 80% of the price of a home, with the remainder held by a registered social landlord using a Government grant.
The shared equity schemes detailed here mainly aim to help first-time buyers on low incomes who wish to own their own home but who cannot afford to pay the full price for a house. However, the schemes can help others too. For example, they may be able to help people who are looking for a new home after a significant change in their household circumstances. They may also be able to help disabled people access more suitable housing.
Once the shared equity owner wishes to move, if they have an 80% stake in their property they will get 80% of the current value; the remaining 20% will be paid to the RSL who can either repay the grant or re-use the money to provide more affordable homes. For example, the RSL develops property valued at £100,000 and the shared equity buyer buys an 80% stake. The shared equity owner sells the property 10 years later at an overall value of £200,000. The shared equity owner receives £160,000 and the RSL has £40,000 to reinvest in new affordable housing.
New Supply Shared Equity scheme
The New Supply Shared Equity scheme (previously known as ‘Homestake’) mostly involves registered social landlords building new homes for sale. The brochure "Helping You To Become A Home Owner" contains information about this scheme and your local housing association will be pleased to give you more information if you wish to apply to buy a new home on a shared equity basis.
The Scottish Government and Highland Council are working with registered social landlords throughout the Highlands to confirm locations for New Supply Shared Equity homes. You can get find information about projects and registered social landlords participating in the scheme from the Scottish Government website.
Open Market Shared Equity Pilot scheme
The Open Market Shared Equity Pilot scheme allows people to buy homes that are for sale on the open market and the "Open Market Shared Equity Pilot" brochure contains information about this scheme.
Homes can be bought on the open market through this shared equity initiative in the following council areas: Aberdeen City; Aberdeenshire; The City of Edinburgh; East Lothian; Highland; Midlothian; Moray; Perth & Kinross; Stirling; and West Lothian.
It should be noted that there are strict limits set on the price of homes that can be bought on the open market and these limits will restrict the availability of homes that can be purchased using this grant mechanism. Price thresholds for the Highlands can be found on the Scottish Government website
If you would like to apply to buy a home in the Highlands through this scheme or wish to receive a brochure please contact Albyn Housing Society on 01349 855991 or email them at: email@example.com
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These are aimed at increasing the role of the private sector in community regeneration and provide an opportunity for developers to obtain funding for developments which might not otherwise be commercially viable.
In the Highlands, they are also used to discount market prices for people who would have difficulty in buying their own properties.
GRO Grants are available to private developers and can cover up to 40% of the total project costs, although they are limited to 20% of the market value of the property. For example, if a property is valued on the open market at £120,000, the developer gets a maximum grant of £24,000, so they can offer the property for sale to the targeted client group, for example, Council or housing association tenants or those on the waiting lists, people on low incomes and first time buyers.
Under current rules, purchasers normally have to repay the grant if they resell the house within 10 years of purchase.
Information is avaialble from the Scottish Government on 0300 0201200.
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Rural Home Ownership Grants (RHOGs)
This scheme allows people in rural areas who are on low or modest incomes to build or purchase their own homes. The grant is means tested and takes savings and income in to account. The grant pays part of the costs involved in helping either to acquire a site and build a property or acquire an existing property for use as a sole residence. If you sell the property within 10 years, you have to repay the grant.
If you are interested in finding out more about RHOGS, you can contact the RHOG agents:
Highland Small Communities Housing Trust can give you information and advice about RHOGs throughout the Highlands.
Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust
5 Ardross Terrace
Telephone: 01463 233548
Fax: 01463 233549
Badenoch and Strathspey, Inverness, Nairn, Ross and Cromarty and Sutherland
Albyn Housing Society
98 - 100 High Street
Telephone: 01349 852978
Pentland Housing Association
37-39 Traill Street
Telephone: 01847 892507
Lochaber Housing Association
30 Fassifern Road
Telephone: 01397 702530
Skye and Lochalsh
Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association
Isle of Skye
Telephone: 01478 612035
The Scottish Government's Housing and Regeneration Directorate is currently reviewing this scheme. Further information will be given here once this review has been completed.
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Discounted Land Sales
The Highland Council has sold serviced land plots at a discount to target clients groups, to deliver land at affordable levels to those in housing need. There is no longer a large supply of Council land which is available and suitable for this purpose, but we are using discounted land plots to deliver affordable housing in some planning agreements with private developers.
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