- 24 Mar 2021
We have committed £260 million to the First Home Fund since December 2019, £110 million more than originally planned and extended the pilot to 2021-22.
As you know, there has been a significant cut of 66.5% to the total Scottish Government Financial Transactions budget in 2021-22 arising from the UK Government’s Spending Review in late November. This amounts to a reduction of £412 million.
This funding cut from UK Government led to difficult choices about use of the housing allocation in 2021-22, and has resulted in a reduction in the First Home Fund budget compared to 2020-21.
The First Home Fund will re-open at 9 am on 1 April for applications due to complete in financial year 2021-22. The budget available for the First Home Fund in 2021-22 is £60 million.
As I’m sure you can appreciate, the limited budget has had implications for the operation of the fund. The purpose of this communication is to make you aware that the First Home Fund will close to new applications when the 2021-22 budget is exhausted. No notice will be provided in advance of closure. Any applications received after the budget has been exhausted will not be processed.
Any current approved applications which are delayed into 2021-22 as result of COVID-19 will be funded, provided an extension was requested by COB on 12 March and the applicant’s financial position remains unchanged
Can I apply for the First Home Fund 2021-22 funding before the scheme re-opens?
No. Applications for 2021-22 funding can only be submitted when the scheme re-opens on 1 April 2021, via the online form which will open at 9am. www.linkhousing.org.uk/firsthomefund.
I have decided against buying the property I was approved to buy with support from the First Home Fund: can I change the property or do I need to re-apply?
You must re-apply if the property you originally intended to buy changes. The only exception is a different plot number with a property of the same value and builder within the same development, prior to receipt of Solicitors Confirmation Letter.
Will there be changes to First Home Fund criteria for 2021-22 applications?
No changes will be made.
Can I apply to the First Home Fund after conclusion of missives?
We have received a number of enquiries about whether applications can be made after conclusion of missives: this is not permitted except where there are exceptional circumstances and the usual application handling timescales would not be compromised. This also applies to cases where builders are asking clients to sign a “conditional missive” now, for a reservation in 2021-22, prior to the scheme re-opening on 1 April 2021. This practice is not permitted as we cannot guarantee funding.
What if conclusion of missives is delayed for my 2021-22 application?
We are giving applicants longer than 3 months to conclude missives, provided the transaction concludes within the normal 9 month validity period or by 31 March 2022, whichever is earlier.