Industry body urges Scottish Government to reopen First Home Fund

Fionna Kell

TRADE body Homes for Scotland has urged the Scottish Government to reopen the First Home Fund to help meet consumer demand.

The organisation said the need to support those looking to buy a new home but struggling with deposits has been ‘spotlighted’ by government figures showing that its Help to Buy scheme has supported more than 18,000 households into home ownership since being introduced in 2013.

Although the initiative is still available through participating SME builders, the main scheme closed earlier this year and was quickly followed by the First Home Fund running out of money in just five working days due to demand.

Fionna Kell, director of policy at Homes for Scotland, said, “The phenomenal popularity of Help to Buy and the First Home Fund illustrates their importance across a whole range of areas. Clearly their central social benefit has been enabling those who would otherwise be unable to move into a new home to do so, with nearly 40% of Help to Buy purchasers previously living with family or friends. In addition, they have directly gone on to support tens of thousands of much-needed jobs and boosted the economy.

“As the home building and mortgage industries explore alternative routes to helping first time buyers, we urge the Scottish Government to reopen the First Home Fund to meet the demand that evidently exists, ensuring that those starting their housing journey are not locked out due to rising prices. We look forward to working closely with the new cabinet secretary for housing Shona Robison to ensure that everyone who wants to buy a new home and can sustainably afford to do so, can do exactly that.”