The Department of Infrastructure can provide financial assistance to eligible First Time Buyers via two Shared Equity Schemes which replaced the House Purchase Assistance Scheme 2012 in July 2014. More detailed information is available at First Time Buyers Schemes.
The information provided below is for guidance purposes only and is not intended to offer a definitive interpretation of the Shared Equity Purchase Assistance (First Home Choice) Scheme 2014 and Shared Equity Purchase Assistance (First Home Fixed) Scheme 2014.
The Schemes provide two distinct pathways for assistance:
'First Home Fixed' – this Scheme applies to new "approved" first time buyer and buy-back properties, which are on developments undertaken by the Department or private developers, that are allocated directly by the Department to applicants who are on the Register of First Time Buyers (see relevant Section below). The number of properties available for allocation through this route in any year is limited. Eligibility criteria for the 'First Home Fixed' Scheme focus on those on lower incomes who are most in need of assistance.
'First Home Choice' – this Scheme applies to properties purchased on the open market, and allows higher levels of income and purchase prices to enable greater flexibility in purchasing properties on the Open Market.
Access to the Schemes is subject to residency qualification of 5 years, and the applicant must be a current resident at time of application. Applicants must not have owned a property before, on Island or anywhere else.
Applicants are required to provide a minimum deposit of 5% of the purchase price, as a condition of the Department providing assistance.
The assistance provided under both the Schemes is in the form of an equity loan, to a maximum of 30% of the purchase price, with which the Department purchases an equity share of the property. The applicant must fund as much of the property as possible with the equity loan 'topping up' any difference between the purchase price and the mortgage, deposit, and any other funds available to the applicant.
The equity loan is held as a charge against the property for the lifetime of the applicant's ownership. The loan is interest free for the first 2 years after which interest becomes payable every year at an initial rate of 1%, increasing each subsequent year by 1% to a maximum equivalent to Bank of England Base Rate plus 5% (whichever is the lowest).
Subject to certain terms and conditions the applicant can buy out the Department's equity share in whole or in part.
The purchase of a home is a major decision and is likely to require your largest ever financial commitment. Buying a property involves not just monthly mortgage and interest repayments, but also rates, insurance, repairs and maintenance. Before considering home ownership you should seek advice from your mortgage provider or independent financial advisor.
The Schemes are funded by an annual budget. As such, if demand is high, it may be necessary to close the Scheme to new Open Market applications from time to time, subject to budget availability.