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First Homes Scheme On Apartments In Slough

Posted 5 August 2022 by Keith Osborne

We hear how Slough Urban Renewal’s Novus Apartments is a development which offers the government’s First Homes scheme...

Andy Howell, general manager at Slough Urban Renewal (SUR) tells us all about the First Homes scheme and answers some of the most frequently asked questions. 

Andy, tell us more about how the First Homes scheme has worked at Novus Apartments in Slough. 

We’re delighted that Novus Apartments is part of the early delivery programme and one of the first developments in the region to be able to offer the new government First Homes scheme. By offering a discount of 30%, we are able to open up these homes up to more first-time buyers and key workers, who are currently finding themselves priced out of the market. The new First Homes scheme makes home ownership more accessible to those starting on their home buying journey and we’re excited to be able to offer it here at Novus Apartments.  

Has there been a lot of interest in Novus Apartments since they were launched in Slough earlier this year?  

The interest we’ve had so far has been phenomenal and we now have just a limited number of homes still available. I would encourage anyone who would like some more information to get in contact with our sales team. Find out more about Novus Apartments from Slough Urban Renewal. 

Can you tell us a bit about the First Homes scheme? 

First Homes is a government scheme. It is designed to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder, by offering new homes at a discount of 30% of open market value – as a result, making deposits and mortgages more affordable. 

And who can apply to purchase using First Homes? 

The scheme is open to first-time buyers in England only. Purchasers using First Homes at Novus Apartments must be first-time buyers and must have a household income not exceeding £80,000. It must be the purchaser’s only home, and they will need to obtain a mortgage for at least 50% of the purchase price of the home. The maximum price of a First Home, after the discount has been applied, is £250,000 (open market value circa £357,000). 

Novus ApartmentsNovus Apartments

What discount can I expect if I buy at Novus Apartments? 

Here at Novus Apartments, we are able to offer a 30% discount on selected apartments. This will apply to the homes forever, meaning that generations of new buyers in the local community will continue to benefit every time the property is sold. 

How much deposit would I need to be able to purchase one of these properties? 

You will need a minimum deposit of 5% to secure a mortgage on a property through the First Homes scheme. The discount of 30% means that your required deposit will be significantly smaller. 

Can I use a Help to Buy ISA or a Lifetime ISA to purchase a First Home? 

Yes, as long as the purchase also complies with the rules of the Help To Buy ISA and Lifetime ISA schemes. The ISA schemes have price caps, which are currently: 

  • Help to Buy ISA: £250,000 (£450,000 in London) 
  • Lifetime ISA: £450,000 

For a First Home purchase, these caps would apply to the price of the home after the discount has been applied. 

Does the First Homes scheme affect Stamp Duty? 

Ahead of purchasing a home via the First Homes scheme you are advised to source your own legal advice. The Stamp Duty calculation for a First Home is based on the amount of money that is actually paid for the home, after the discount has applied. Currently, first-time buyers pay zero Stamp Duty when buying properties worth up to £300,000. This means that all of our First Homes scheme properties will be exempt from Stamp Duty.

Novus ApartmentsNovus Apartments

How do I apply? 

At Novus Apartments, you simply need to let the sales advisor know that you’re keen to use the First Homes scheme when you make your initial enquiry. They will advise you of all the relevant apartments we have available and the next steps. We can also refer you to a mortgage specialist. 

If I’m buying with a partner or a friend, do we both need to be first-time buyers? 

Yes. If the property being purchased using the First Homes scheme is being bought by more than one individual, all purchasers must be first-time buyers. 

Will I own 100% of my home? 

Yes – you will have full ownership of your new home. 

Do I have to pay rent on the outstanding 30% share? 

No. There is no rent to pay, but you will need to pay all of your usual household bills and service charges. 

Novus ApartmentsNovus Apartments

Can I ‘staircase’ out of First Homes at a later date? 

No. You cannot staircase out. The 30% discount applies to the property forever. If you go on to sell the apartment, the same discount applies to the next purchaser. 

Can I let my First Home? 

You can let your First Home for a period of up to two years, provided you notify the relevant local authority, and subject to the terms of your mortgage agreement. The two-year period is aggregate and resets if the ownership of the home transfers to someone else. You may be able to let your First Home for longer than two years in exceptional circumstances. 

Can I have a lodger in my First Home? 

Yes – and with no time restriction, provided the property remains your only residence. 

Can I re-mortgage the property or use an equity release scheme? 

Yes. However, this will be in relation to the discounted value of the home. 

What happens when I want to sell? 

You market your home for sale via an estate agent, in the usual way. However, you will need to notify the local authority of your intended sale. You will be required to market your home with the same discount, that you purchased with (30%). Your purchaser, must also meet the same First Homes criteria - they must be a first time buyer, with a household income up to and not exceeding £80,000. Your local authority/legal advisor will be able to advise you of your obligations. 

Find out more about Novus Apartments from Slough Urban Renewal. 


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