FIRST time buyers in Argyll and Bute have been offered a helping hand onto the property ladder – and more than £4m has been provided to help fund affordable homes.
Argyll and Bute Council agreed yesterday (Thursday) to adopt a Local Authority Mortgage Scheme, which will help potential buyers who can afford mortgage payments but are struggling to find an initial deposit on a new home.
The council will provide up to £3m to fund the scheme over three years – an annual indemnity of £1m.
As with other lending schemes, people will have to be able to afford their payments and meet certain lending criteria.
If approved for a loan, they will be able to borrow between 75 and 95% of the purchase price, with the council providing a top-up indemnity for five years.
This means people can effectively access the equivalent of a 95% mortgage on the same terms as a 75% without the need for a substantial deposit which is frequently out of reach. There will be a maximum loan value of £150,000.
The scheme could assist up to 33 home buyers across Argyll and Bute each year.
At the same meeting councillors also approved a series of loans and grants for housing associations, worth over £4m, from a strategic housing fund and council reserves.
Dunbritton Housing Association will receive £513,072 for a ‘greener standard’ development of at least 18 units at Succoth.
Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) has been awarded a grant of £890,000 and long-term loan of £2,305,422 for 40 affordable homes at Glenshellach, Oban.
Two West Highland Housing Association projects have been awarded grants – £646,593 for 25 ‘greener standard’ homes at Dunbeg, and £29,719 for six houses at Taynuilt.
A further Rural Housing Development Funding grant of £155,957 has also been awarded to ACHA for two affordable rental units at Bonawe.
Lead councillor for housing, George Freeman, said: “There is a desperate need for more affordable housing right across Argyll and Bute.
“We are working closely with local housing associations and along with the funding approved this week, there are a number of other projects in the application process, including various ‘greener standard’ proposals. This is extremely positive news.”