Help to Buy almost fully subscribed but Small Developers scheme to continue
The Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme is nearly fully subscribed due to a bumper level of sales reservations, the Scottish Government has announced.
The scheme, which helps people move up and onto the property ladder, will accept new applications up until midnight on Tuesday 26 May and sales will take place up until February 2016.
The Help to Buy (Scotland) Small Developers scheme, with £30 million funding, will continue to take applications until further notice.
Over £305m of Scottish Government funding has been allocated to the two schemes and over 7,500 sales are expected to be completed by the end of this financial year.
Industry body Homes for Scotland has expressed frustration at the news which comes less than a week after the Scottish Government published figures demonstrating that demand for the scheme that has already resulted in 5,000 sales worth £1 billion.
Chief executive Philip Hogg said Scottish buyers and builders are now at a significant disadvantage to those in England and Wales and called for an early announcement on a successor scheme.
He said: “The Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme has been a real game-changer for our industry, stimulating the construction of much needed new housing following the 40 per cent plus drop in building witnessed since the downturn and creating vital jobs.
“However, it has been clear for many months that the budget was insufficient to meet demand.
“With no details or firm commitment on any future support forthcoming, buyers and builders here are now at significant disadvantage to those south of the border and face months of uncertainty whilst the Scottish Government decides whether or not to launch a successor scheme.
“This is the worst possible outcome, threatening any industry recovery that may be underway with the implications for jobs that this brings.
“We therefore call on the Scottish Government to follow the lead of the Welsh Government which has pledged to extend its Help to Buy scheme without committing a budget and make its intentions clear in order that people have the confidence they need to buy a new home and businesses have the predictability they require to invest in skills and resources.”
Housing minister Margaret Burgess said: “The Scottish Government has invested hundreds of millions of pounds to support home buyers and that has given the private sector and construction industry a huge boost.
“Participating builders have been informed that the main Help to Buy scheme is nearly fully subscribed and we are giving seven days’ notice to allow final applications to the scheme.
“I am pleased sales have far exceeded the industry’s original target of 4,500 and given people across the country the opportunity to buy a new build home which they could not otherwise have afforded.
“We will continue to engage with the house building industry to consider what further support might be required in future.”