What is it?
A Government-backed Scheme launched in April 2021 to help first time buyers purchase their first home.
- Must be 18 or older
- Must be a First Time Buyer
- Able to get a mortgage for at least half the price of the home
- Buying a home as a part of a household where the total income is no more than £80.000 (or £90,000 if in London).
The Local Authority may also set their own eligibility conditions for example: essential workers and those who already live in the area.
How does the First Homes Scheme work?
The Scheme allows developers to select properties to be offered to first-time buyers at a discount of up to 50% of the market value (most commonly 30% of the market value).
The following conditions apply:
- Every home under the Scheme is valued by an independent surveyor to make sure that the discount is being applied to the full market value.
- The initial sale price of the home cannot be more than £250,000 outside London and £420,000 inside London after the discount has been applied.
- The Scheme applies to properties in England only.
- It must be your only and main residence for the duration of your ownership. You are allowed to let out the property for up to 2 years in total, note approval from your mortgage Lender and local authority is required.
- Lodgers are allowed, but only if the property remains your only and main residence.
- You can only then sell your home to another first time buyer, however the same discount to the full market value must be applied. Bear in mind this is based at the full market value at the time of the sale. The Local Authority must also approve the eligible buyer.
- The discount on the property will apply forever, meaning generations of local buyer’s will benefit from the reduced price on the property.
How do you apply?
Once you have chosen your new build home with the developer, they will assist you in completing the application to send to the Local Authority.
The Local Authority will have to approve you as a buyer using the eligibility criteria. If approved, the Local Authority will issue an Authority to Proceed and Eligibility Approval which will be valid for 3 months from the date of issue. Contracts must be exchanged on your purchase within this period.
Once the purchase has been agreed with the developer and the local authority have approved you as an eligible First Homes Scheme buyer, you can now apply for your mortgage and instruct your conveyancer.
Your conveyancer will receive what is called a ‘Conveyancer Pack’ from the Local Authority directly with all the information they require on the First Homes Scheme. Your conveyancer will contact you regarding this throughout the transaction.
A First Homes restriction will be added to the Title Register of your property upon registration of your ownership at the Land Registry. This will stay on the title forever. This allows the property to be sold to another eligible buyer in the future.