First Homes Scheme - A Government Scheme For Your First Home

 

Stepping onto the property ladder can seem like a distant dream, especially if you want to stay in your local area close to friends and family.

More

Through the Government backed First Homes scheme buying a brand-new Countryside home* could be within closer reach than you think.

If you are a first-time buyer who meets certain criteria you could be eligible to purchase a First Home, benefitting from at least a 30% discount compared to market prices.

https://www.ownyourhome.gov.uk/scheme/first-homes/

 

What is First Homes?

  • First Homes is a Government backed scheme that offers full ownership of new-build homes at a discount of at least 30% compared to equivalent properties on the open market.
  • The scheme is only available to first-time buyers, with a capped household income. The local authority may also give priority to those who already have local connections, key workers, and members of the armed forces. Full details of the eligibility criteria will be available at each development offering First Homes.
  • The maximum price of a First Home after the discount has been applied is £250,000, or £420,000 in London. The scheme is available on selected developments and may apply to both houses and apartments.
  • The discount will apply to the First Home forever, so if you buy at a 30% discount, then that is the discount you will have to offer to the next eligible buyer when you decide to sell your home.
 

Who is eligible?

There are several key criteria you must meet to be eligible to use the First Homes scheme, but local authorities can apply additional criteria.

The standard criteria to be eligible to use the First Homes scheme are as follows:

  • All purchasers must be first-time buyers
  • Purchasers must have a household income not exceeding £80,000, or £90,000 in London (this can be lower if set by the local authority)
  • You must have at least a 5% deposit
  • You must acquire a mortgage for at least 50% of the home
  • You must meet any local connection criteria, or key worker criteria, as determined by the local authority

The criteria that applies to the initial sale of the property will also apply to all future sales of each First Home. This means that first-time buyers will continue to benefit from the scheme every time the property is sold.

Full details are available at Own Your Home | First Homes Scheme - Own Your Home or download the Customer Guide below.

Own Your Home | First Homes Scheme - Own Your Home

 

Frequently asked Questions

I am buying with a partner, do they also need to be a first time buyer?

If the First Home is being bought by more than one individual all purchasers must be first-time buyers. First Time Buyers must not have (either alone or with others):

  • previously acquired via purchase, gift, trust or inheritance a major interest in a dwelling or an equivalent interest in residential land situated anywhere in the world; and/or
  • benefited from any form of sharia mortgage finance.

Can one member of a couple buy the home on their own, and would this mean the other does not have to be a first-time buyer?

Couples who are married or in a civil partnership or living together should apply jointly to the First Homes scheme. In exceptional circumstances, where the mortgage lender will only lend to one applicant (e.g. because one party has an adverse credit history) the local authority can consider approving on a case-by-case basis, but this is still subject to both parties meeting the first-time buyer criteria. Both parties would therefore need to sign the first-time buyer declaration.

Can I rent my First Home out?

Not typically, if you wish to rent out your home you will need to receive permission from the local authority and your mortgage lender. Lodgers are allowed but only if the home remains your sole residence.

Can I redecorate my home?

Once you own your First Home, it is up to you decorate and update as you see fit. However, you will need to keep to any planning rules, leasehold restrictions and terms of your mortgage that may apply.

Are there any exemptions from the local connection criteria?

Members of the Armed Forces and veterans that have left the forces within the last five years are exempt from meeting any local connection or key worker criteria. Bereaved spouses and civil partners of service men and women whose deaths were wholly or partly a result of their service are also exempt. However, the first-time buyer status and household income criteria will still need to be met.

How do I sell my First Home?

First Homes must be sold to eligible first-time buyers at the discount you purchased the home at. If this was a 30% discount, this is also the amount you will have to discount your home by compared to its open market value at the time you are selling. This ensures the benefit you received when you bought the home gets passed on to the next generation.

A valuer accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) must be selected to assess the market value of your home, they will then apply the same discount that was available when you initially bought the home.

You will also need to ask the local authority for approval to sell the property and share the eligibility criteria that you had to meet when you purchased the home with the estate agent. The rest of the selling process is the same as any other home.

Further details can be found in the Customer Guide.

Start your search today

More ways we can help you move

Deposit Unlock

Did you know that if you’re a first time buyer or existing home owner, you could make your move now with just a 5% deposit using the new Deposit Unlock scheme?

Home Exchange

If you need a hand selling your current home, our Home Exchange scheme guarantees a buyer for your property.

Smooth Move

Take the stress out of selling with our Smooth Move scheme where we’ll help you sell your current home.

Introduce a Friend

If you recommend a Countryside Home to a friend and they buy from us, we’ll give you £500* to say thank you.

Deposit Unlock

Did you know that if you’re a first time buyer or existing home owner, you could make your move now with just a 5% deposit using the new Deposit Unlock scheme?

Home Exchange

If you need a hand selling your current home, our Home Exchange scheme guarantees a buyer for your property.

Smooth Move

Take the stress out of selling with our Smooth Move scheme where we’ll help you sell your current home.

Introduce a Friend

If you recommend a Countryside Home to a friend and they buy from us, we’ll give you £500* to say thank you.

Still haven't found what you're looking for?

First Homes is available on our selected new build homes only, subject to contract and eligibility criteria. If you are purchasing through the First Homes scheme please note that you are required to meet the eligibility criteria under the scheme and to be issued with Authority to Proceed by the local authority. Please note that the Authority to Proceed is valid for three months from issue within which period exchange of contracts must have taken place. If Authority to Proceed has not been issued before reservation, then this reservation is subject to you meeting the eligibility criteria, a First Homes Application Form being submitted promptly to the local authority and an Authority to Proceed being provided. In the event that either (i) you do not provide the information required to submit the First Homes Application Form within twenty (20) Business Days of the reservation date, or (ii) the Authority to Proceed is not issued by the local authority within twenty (20) Business Days of receipt of the fully completed First Homes Application Form or (iii) the local authority confirms that an Authority to Proceed will not be issued or shall be withdrawn prior to exchange of contracts, then the reservation will be automatically be cancelled and the reservation fee shall be returned in full. To be eligible for First Homes you must meet the following criteria: 1: All purchasers must be a first-time buyer, even if more than one person is buying the new home from us. 2: You will need to meet any local connection criteria, or key worker restrictions set by the local authority. 3: Your household income must be no more than £80,000 in England, with the exception of London which is £90,000. 4: You will need at least a 5% deposit. 5: You will need to be able to obtain a mortgage for at least 50% of the new home to be purchased from us. We may also require evidence of your financial ability to proceed with the purchase of a new home from us. The maximum price of a new home covered by First Homes, after the discount has been applied, will be £250,000 (£420,000 in London). Local authorities can set lower price caps. The new home is sold at a discount of at least 30%. The discounts will apply to the new home forever, meaning that generations of new buyers and the local community will continue to benefit every time the property is subsequently sold. First Homes is only available on selected developments and selected plots. Please contact the sales consultants for further information regarding First Homes and the application process. First Homes is a government scheme and is subject to the government’s terms for the scheme. This offer is not to be used in conjunction with any other offer, discount, promotion or scheme. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or any other debt secured on it. Subject to individual lender terms and conditions. Our usual reservation and sales terms and conditions also apply. Please speak to one of our sales consultants for more details.

References to “we”, “us” or “our” are to the part of the Vistry Group (including Linden Homes, Bovis Homes, Countryside Homes, Drew Smith or one of Vistry’s joint venture companies) from which you are intending to purchase a new home. References to "you” and “your” are to the prospective buyer or buyers of a new home from us.

All images are used for illustrative purposes only and are representative only. They may not be the same as the actual home you purchase and the specification may differ. Images may be of a slightly different model of home and may include optional upgrades and extras which involve additional cost. Individual features such as windows, brick, carpets, paint and other material colours may vary and also the specification of fittings may vary. Any furnishings and furniture are not included in any sale. Please check with our sales consultants for details of the exact specifications available at the development(s) for each type of home and the associated prices.