Your guide to affordable housing and financial assistance schemes

Affordable housing 887 x 300

We know that it can be really hard to get on or move up the property ladder so we also know that just a little help can make all the difference. Here are just a few options that might help you get on, or move up, the property ladder.

First Home Fund

In December 2019, the Scottish Government started accepting applications for their latest first time buyer scheme called the First Home Fund. This £150 million national pilot scheme pledges to help at least 6,000 buyers onto the property ladder in Scotland, by contributing up to £25,000 towards a first house purchase. This scheme does share some similarities with the Help to Buy scheme, including that it is also an equity loan scheme, but one key difference is the the First Home Fund can be used for both new build homes and re-sale properties. Find out more about Scotland's First Home Fund

Help to Buy

The Help to Buy (Scotland) Affordable New Build Scheme can help you to buy a new home from a participating house builder with a low deposit. The Scottish Government will fund a loan of up to 15% of the property price, with the remaining 85% of the purchase price made through a combination of mortgage and deposit.

The scheme is available on homes in the following price thresholds:

  • For homes that complete on or before 31 March 2017 the maximum home value is £230,000
  • For homes that complete on or before 31 March 2018 the maximum home value is £200,000
  • For homes that complete on or before 31 March 2019 the maximum home value is £200,000

There are a number of other criteria to consider with regards to the Help to Buy scheme. Find out more directly from the Scottish Government.

Golden Share

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 our 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:

Persimmon - Lang Loan, Edinburgh

Find out more information about the development and the Golden Share scheme

Dunhaven Homes - Rivermill, Currie, Edinburgh
Find out more information about the develpment and the Glden Share scheme

For more detailed information regarding the Golden Share scheme, click here


The Scottish Government is committed to supporting home ownership in a balanced and sustainable way by helping people on low to moderate incomes to become home owners, where that is affordable for them. Its Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) brings together several ways to help households access home ownership. When you buy a shared equity home from Link, or on the open market, you pay for the majority of the equity in the property and the Scottish Government pays for the rest.

Link is supporting first time buyers across east, west, central and southern Scotland.

  • Priority for social housing renters, people with disabilities, armed forces personnel and recent veterans
  • Receive between 10% and 40% of the purchase price from the Scottish Government
  • Scottish Government takes an equivalent equity stake which will be redeemed on the sale of the property
  • Opportunity to buy out the equity stake in the future

For more information please visit Link Housing here

Shared equity and shared ownership

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.

Rent to Buy

With this option, after renting a property for a period of time you have the option to buy the property. All or some of the rent paid to date would be accounted for in the price that would be paid for the property. It’s a bit like ‘try before you buy’!