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Government outlines eligibility for First Homes scheme

by: Anna Sagar
  • 25/05/2021
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Government outlines eligibility for First Homes scheme
The government has set out eligibility criteria for its ambitious First Homes scheme, which aims to provide homes for first-time buyers at a minimum discount of 30 per cent.


According to a statement yesterday from minister of state for housing Christopher Pincher, the scheme will open from 28 June and will prioritise first-time buyers.

To be eligible borrowers should not have a combined annual income over £80,000. This is heightened to £90,000 for London.

Those using the First Homes scheme should also use a mortgage for at least 50 per cent of the discounted purchase value in order to deter using these homes as investments, with additional limits placed on letting out First Home properties.

First Homes must be discounted by a minimum of 30 per cent, although local authorities can deepen this minimum discount to 40 percent or 50 per cent if they can provide evidence of need.

Local authorities also have the discretion to impose further caps and criteria such as income caps, prioritising key workers or requiring a local connection based on work or living arrangement.

After the discount is applied properties should be priced at no higher that £250,000, or £420,000 in Greater London.

The scheme also requires a minimum of 25 per cent of all affordable housing units secured through developer contributions to be First Homes.

Some have noted that this could have a damaging effect on a local authority’s supply of social rented housing.

However, Pincher noted: “The government recognises the importance of social rent as part of the affordable housing tenure mix. A local authority should prioritise securing their policy requirements on social rent, once they have secured the 25 per cent First Homes requirement.

“Where other affordable housing units can be secured, these tenure-types should be secured in the relative proportions set out in the development plan,” he added.

The government first consulted on the scheme in February last year, receiving 800 responses in its primary consultation. It then launched a second consultation, which received nearly 2,400 responses, which was published in April this year.

It is one of a raft of measures introduced by the government to improve home ownership including Help To Buy, Right to Buy, stamp duty holiday and planning changes.

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