It can be really hard to get on or move up the property ladder and sometimes a little help can make all the difference. So, we’ve highlighted some first time buyer and affordable housing schemes below to help you.

For further help and advice on buying a property, contact an ESPC solicitor estate agent and get independent mortgage advice from ESPC Mortgages.

Golden Share scheme

Golden Share homes are an approved affordable housing tenure within the Council’s Affordable Housing Policy. The properties are sold at 80% of Open Market Value (OMV) making them affordable to those who could not afford to purchase a similar home of its size in that area.

Purchasers must demonstrate that they are eligible and provide the necessary evidence to the City of Edinburgh Council to fund a Golden Share home, for example, evidence of a local connection or an inability to finance the purchase of the full market value of the property. Check out this buyer guide to Golden Share homes.

The following developments have Golden Share properties available – please contact the sales advisors at the development for more information:

Barratt Homes

Heron Bank 

Bellway Homes

West Edge Meadows

David Wilson Homes

Cammo Meadows

Taylor Wimpey

West Craigs 

Lauder Grove

LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme

Through the Scottish Government's Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT), Applicants can receive up to 40% funding towards the price of a home on the open market. Link Housing administers the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government throughout Scotland.

Here's how it works: 

  • The Scottish Government contributes between 10% and 40% towards the price of a home you have chosen on the open market.
  • When the property is sold, the Scottish Government would receive the equivalent percentage of the sale price that it originally contributed.
  • In most areas you can increase your equity share to 100% over time if you choose to do so.
  • The Scottish Government’s contribution depends on the amount of mortgage you  can  get compared to the value of the property that meets your needs. Size and price thresholds apply.

The LIFT scheme is open to first time buyers, social renters, people with a disability who can demonstrate a housing need, members of the armed forces, veterans who have left the armed forces within the last two years, widows, widowers and other partners of service personnel who have lost their life while serving in the armed forces within the last two years, and people aged over 60 who can demonstrate a housing need. If you can raise more than 90% of the value of the property, you will not be eligible for the scheme.   

Find out more about the Link Housing LIFT Scheme

Shared equity versus shared ownership housing schemes

The terminology used for the types of schemes that will help you if you've only got a small deposit can be really confusing. For example what's the difference between shared ownership and shared equity? Making the right decision can have a big impact on your future options if and when you decide to move home.

Shared equity, for example, means you own 100% of the property but that a third party has an equity stake in it - they help you to buy the property but they get the same proportion back from the price you receive when you come to sell.

Shared ownership on the other hand means you own part of the property and the other part is owned by a third party. There may also be additional occupancy charges levied. Understanding the differences between these various terminologies is really important.

Search properties for sale on ESPC

The initial consultation with an ESPC Mortgages adviser is free and without obligation. Thereafter, ESPC Mortgages charges for mortgage advice are usually £395 (£345 for first-time buyers). YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR OTHER LOANS SECURED AGAINST IT.

The information contained within this website is subject to the UK regulatory regime and therefore restricted to consumers based in the UK.

The Financial Ombudsman Service is available to sort out individual complaints that clients and financial services businesses aren’t able to resolve themselves. To contact the Financial Ombudsman Service, please visit

ESPC (UK) Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Lyncombe Consultants Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.