Scottish Government Housing Initiatives

There are several government intiatives to help with housing:

Self Build Loan Scheme

The Scottish Government have provided a time limited fund to assist self or custom builders finance the construction period for their new home.

The fund runs from the 1 September 2018 and due to the Covid Pandemic has been extended to 31 August 2022 and is open to applications from individuals who have been unable to obtain mainstream self-build mortgage finance, but who will be able to repay the loan upon completion of their project. The maximum loan available stands at £175,000.

Low-Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) and Open Market Shared Equity scheme (OMSE)

If you want to buy your own home but don’t think you can afford to pay the full price, the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) scheme could help. 

The LIFT OMSE scheme helps first-time buyers, and other priority groups including current local authority and housing association tenants, get onto the property ladder by providing an interest-free loan towards the cost of a home. The Scottish Government provides funding of between 10% and 40% of the sale price and gets the same percentage back when the property is sold. In most areas, you can choose to increase your share in the future.   

When buying through the LIFT scheme, you choose a property for sale on the open market. You can purchase any size of property as long as it is large enough to avoid overcrowding. To be eligible, the property must be: 

• Advertised for sale publicly e.g. on a website or social media site, and 
• Priced within the maximum threshold for the Local Authority area. 

Price Thresholds in Shetland

Property price thresholds have increased in Shetland, meaning a higher number of properties in the area could be eligible to purchase through the scheme. Buyers in Shetland can now consider properties up to the below price thresholds: 

2 apartment (1 bedroom)   £85,000
3 apartment (2 bedroom) £130,000
4 apartment (3 bedroom) £175,000
5 apartment (4 bedroom) £215,000
6 apartment (5 bedroom) £260,000

* Price thresholds are set by number of apartments. An apartment is a habitable room, including bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and box rooms (depending on size). Kitchens, bathrooms and conservatories are not classed as apartments. For example, a three-apartment property could have two bedrooms and a living room. 

LIFT Example

A family of three with a household income of £31,250 purchased a 2-bedroom home in Shetland with the help of LIFT.

Property price: £130,000

Scottish Government contribution: £51,875

Buyer contribution (mortgage and deposit): £78,125

In this example, the Scottish Government contributes 40% of the property price and will get the same percentage back when the property is sold. The buyer can choose to increase their share in the property over time.

In addition to first time buyers, the following groups get priority access to the scheme:   

  • 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 past 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    
  • People aged over 60 who can demonstrate a housing need   

Link Housing administer the LIFT scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government for the whole of Scotland; applications to the scheme are made through Link’s dedicated LIFT team.  

Visit or contact or 0330 303 0125 for more information on the LIFT scheme or to apply online.