Trade body expresses ‘shock’ as Scotland’s First Home Fund closes after five days

Nicola Barclay

TRADE body Homes for Scotland has revealed its ‘shock’ that the Scottish Government’s First Home Fund has closed to applications after being exhausted only five working days since its opening.

Nicola Barclay, chief executive of HFS, said the news will ‘clearly be very disappointing’ for people who had been hoping the initiative would help them get onto the property ladder.

“We anticipated that there would be huge demand given the success of the pilot scheme run last year,” she explained. “Despite this, the Scottish Government allocated just 30% of the levels spent in 2020, citing budget cuts from Westminster for the reduction. This also comes on top of the closure of the hugely successful Help to Buy scheme and will be a huge blow to all those who aspire to own their own home.

“The lack of availability of 95% LTV mortgages has made it incredibly difficult for first time buyers to access mortgage finance, despite strong evidence that shows that owning a home is often cheaper than renting. I urgently call on Kate Forbes to act now to support all those who will be devastated by today’s announcement. No one can be in any doubt about the need to support those unable to save for large deposits, and we will be watching closely at pledges made by all political parties as the election campaign continues.”

A message on the Scottish Government website read, “The first home fund is fully committed for 2021-22 and applications are now closed. Any applications in progress but not yet submitted at point of closure are unable to be processed.”