First Homes scheme

First Homes scheme offering discounted houses for local people and key workers launches

A new housing scheme has launched today (4th June) to offer discounted houses for local people and key workers.

The First Homes scheme will help local first-time buyers — many of whom will be key workers, such as NHS staff and veterans — onto the property ladder by offering homes at a discount of at least 30% compared to the market price.

That same percentage will then be passed on with the sale of the property to future first-time buyers, meaning homes will always be sold below market value.

The scheme aims to support local people who struggle to afford market prices in their area but want to stay in the communities where they live and work.

The first properties available under the scheme went on the market today as part of the first phase of an early delivery project in the Bolsover district in the East Midlands, with the housing secretary in attendance.

Further sites are set to launch across the country in the coming weeks — a further 1,500 will enter the market from the autumn, with at least 10,000 homes a year expected to be delivered.

Councils will be able to prioritise the homes for key workers, such as nurses and teachers who have been looking to get on the housing ladder while supporting their community throughout the pandemic.

Each individual local authority can set a local connection test to determine who should be prioritised for the scheme based on the needs of their communities.

Banks and building societies that have announced their participation in the First Homes scheme, agreeing to provide 95% LTV mortgages for First Homes, include:

  • Chorley Building Society
  • Darlington Building Society
  • Halifax
  • Leeds Building Society
  • Mansfield Building Society
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • Newcastle Building Society

“Enabling more people to buy their own homes is at the heart of the mission of this government, and First Homes will offer a realistic and affordable route into homeownership for even more people who want to own their own home,” said housing minister, Robert Jenrick.

“Thanks to First Homes, we will offer more homes to local people and families, providing a route for first-time buyers to stay in their local areas rather than being forced out due to rising prices.”

He commented that the scheme will help front-line doctors, nurses, delivery drivers and supermarket staff that are looking to get their first foot on the housing ladder a chance to buy a home at a 30% discount.

“These homes will be locked in for perpetuity to first-time buyers and key workers from their local area — making them an asset to both their owners and the wider local community.”

Andrew Haigh, chief executive at the Newcastle Building Society, stated: "Homeownership can often feel out of reach for first-time buyers — especially those without access to the bank of mum and dad. 

“We’re committed to delivering innovative ways to help first-time buyers find affordable and sustainable ways to own their own home."

Tim Beale, CEO of Keepmoat Homes, commented: “We are delighted to be working with our partners in government, Homes England and Bolsover District Council to launch the First Homes scheme which is specifically designed to support first-time buyers and keyworkers and help them take their first steps on the property ladder.

“This is a true example of how working in partnership helps to support local people and communities.”

David Postings, CEO at UK Finance, added: “Key workers have kept the country running during the pandemic and we are committed to doing what we can to help them and other local first-time buyers across England to realise their dreams of owning their own homes.

“Our commitment is shared across all necessary stakeholders, as underscored by the high level of co-operation between lenders, government, local authorities and developers, in helping drive the First Homes scheme forward.”

Robin Fieth, chief executive at the Building Societies Association, said: “Building societies have always been dedicated to bringing homeownership within reach for as many people as possible, which is why we are working with the sector to help bring forward mortgages for First Homes as soon as possible.”

The new initiative follows the introduction of a 95% mortgage guarantee scheme, announced by Rishi Sunak during this year’s Spring Budget, which supports first-time buyers in securing a mortgage with a 5% deposit, and the government’s ‘Own Your Home’ campaign, which showcases the range of  homeownership schemes available.

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