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Help to Buy scheme extended for two years

Property for saleThe Scottish government’s Help to Buy scheme will be extended for two years from April 2019 to help people buy new-build homes without the need for large deposits.

Up to 4,000 households will benefit from a further £100 million of support.

Since 2013, the scheme has helped more than 12,000 households buy a new home, with Housing Minister Kevin Stewart saying it had also supported about 9,000 jobs.

“A third of the annual £50m budget – £18m – will be reserved for sales from SME builders, who were particularly affected by the drop in development finance after the financial crisis,” he said.

“We know house builders still see Scotland as a place to continue to develop and invest, with the latest figures showing new house completions grew by 5% over the last year.

“Housing is about more than bricks and mortar – we want to provide safe, warm homes, help create a fairer Scotland, and preserve a diverse and more resilient construction sector.”

Nicola Barclay, chief executive of Homes for Scotland, said the additional funding would help provide the certainty house building companies need to invest in and open up new sites and expand the number of homes available to new purchasers.

She said it would also ease pressure in other parts of the housing market as people move into home ownership from socially rented homes and come off council house waiting lists.

The Scottish Conservatives offered support for the scheme but Scottish Labour’s housing spokeswoman Pauline McNeill called for an urgent review to establish if it is “fit for purpose”.

She said householders with incomes of more than £100,000 were getting help with a new home deposit and efforts must be directed to low income households.

Douglas Cochrane, chairman of the UK Finance Scotland Mortgage Committee, said: “The extension of Help to Buy in Scotland is good news for buyers and home movers with low deposits, who will continue to receive vital support when buying a new-build home.

“Last year the number of first-time buyers in Scotland reached its highest level in a decade, boosted by vital schemes like Help to Buy.

“Today’s announcement will bring welcome stability to the Scottish mortgage market and help more people get a foot on the housing ladder in the years ahead.””

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