05 Jun 2015

Analysis: Low-cost initiative for first time buyers

Analysis: Low-cost initiative for first time buyers


Susan Clark, Independent Financial Adviser, analyses the Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT).

100% Mortgages – as you are probably aware – are a thing of the past. However, there are still measures to help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder.

The Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) brings together several ways to help households access home ownership. Part of it -  The Open Market Shared Equity scheme - allows first time buyers to buy a property on the open market.

What is the Open Market Shared Equity scheme?

Open Market Shared Equity scheme allows people on low to moderate incomes to buy homes that are for sale on the open market where it is affordable for them to do so. The scheme is currently open to all first time buyers.   

How the scheme operates

The minimum equity stake that buyers must take in a property is 60% and the maximum equity stake is 9%. Lenders normally require buyers to provide a modest deposit.

Applications to the scheme are assessed by registered social landlords who administer the scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Registered social landlords will undertake a detailed financial assessment of individual household circumstances using certain criteria, such as looking at the disposable income the household has. This information will be obtained from the standard application form which applicants to the scheme must complete.

There are limits set on the price of homes that can be bought under the open market scheme to ensure that only 'starter' properties are available through the scheme - these are known as threshold prices. These limits vary according to house prices in different parts of Scotland, called threshold price areas, and are reviewed regularly.

LIFT only have a certain amount of funds available and once these are exhausted, applications will be held until the beginning of the next financial year so don’t delay contacting an Independent Financial Advisers to find out more about this fantastic opportunity to secure assistance to purchase your first home.


Find a financial adviser that has access to a lender who will allow the applicant to borrow 100% of the share being purchased.  An independent financial adviser can assistant a First Time Buyer who has been successful with their LIFT application without the need for a deposit.

However, it is important to remember, your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage

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