New build scheme: First Homes Scheme: How it Works

First Homes Scheme: How it Works

The First Homes scheme is a government initiative that offers eligible first-time buyers the chance to buy affordable newly built homes in their local area at a discount of at least 30% of the market value.

Using the First Home scheme to buy a property lowers the amount of deposit you need to save and could make your mortgage more affordable too.

The First Homes scheme is currently only available in England.

How does the First Homes scheme work?

The First Homes scheme works by offering newly built properties at a discounted rate of at least 30% to local first-time buyers, including key workers.

For example, a property with a market value of £300,000 could be bought by an eligible first-time buyer for £210,000 if it was offered at a 30% discount. This would save them £90,000.

Local authorities also have the power to offer higher discounts of either 40% or 50% to make sure the properties are affordable for first-time buyers and key workers in their local area.

Whatever discount is applied to the property is fixed for its lifetime. This means that if the owner decides to sell, the new buyer will also benefit from the discounted price.

» MORE: How much deposit do I need for a mortgage?

Eligibility for the First Homes scheme

The First Homes scheme is currently only open to buyers in England. You’ll also need to match the following criteria to be eligible for the scheme:

  • First-time buyers only: You must be a first-time buyer to qualify for First Homes. This means that you, and anyone you buy with, must not have owned property in the UK or abroad. The property you want to buy under the scheme must also be your main residence and not a second home or a buy-to-let investment.
  • Income limits: Whether you want to buy alone or with others, your combined household income must be less than £80,000 to qualify for First Homes. A higher threshold of £90,000 applies if you’re buying in London.
  • Mortgage: You’ll need to apply for a first-time buyer mortgage of at least 50% of the discounted value of the property. You won’t qualify for First Homes if you have enough money to buy the property without a mortgage.
  • Property value: The home you would like to buy must be worth less than £250,000 at the discounted rate. This rises to £420,000 if you’re buying in Greater London.
  • Local authority rules: Local authorities have the power to apply their own eligibility criteria for the First Homes scheme. For example, defining who qualifies as a key worker or what it means to have a connection to the local area.
  • Armed Forces: If you are a serving member of the Armed Forces, a divorced or surviving spouse, or a veteran who left service within the past five years and express an interest in a First Homes property, any rules surrounding locality won’t apply.

How to apply for the First Homes scheme

The first step to applying for the First Homes scheme is getting an agreement in principle from a mortgage provider. This will help you get an idea of how much you’ll be able to borrow.

Once you have a figure in mind, it’s time to research new-build developments in your local area. Not all developments will include First Home properties, but if you find one that does get in touch with the builder to find out more about the application process.

If you’re eligible, the builder will help you make an application to the local authority so that you can reserve a plot of land.

Once your application has been approved, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage of at least 50% of the discounted home price.

Several mortgage lenders have committed to offering 95% loan-to-value mortgages for First Homes to support people buying through the First Homes scheme.

What if I want to sell my First Homes property?

You’re free to sell your First Homes home at any time, but you will need to try to sell it to another first-time buyer who is using the First Homes scheme.

Your property will be independently valued, and the discount that you secured when buying will be applied to the new valuation to establish the price a new buyer must pay (the price caps don’t apply when re-selling).

So, if you’ve bought a First Homes property with a market value of £300,000 at a 30% discount for £210,000, and the market value is £400,000 when you want to sell, the same 30% discount must be applied to this, giving a selling price of £280,000.

The exception is if your First Homes property has been on sale for six months and an eligible First Homes buyer has not been found. In this instance, you may be able to sell your property for the full value on the open market to any buyer, but will need to pay your local authority a sum equal to the discount of the final sale price by way of compensation. This compensation should be the value of the discount the First Home was to be sold for, as a percentage of the final sale price.

» MORE: Learn about selling and buying a new home

Advantages of the First Homes scheme

The First Homes scheme could offer buyers the following benefits:

  • Discount: The First Homes scheme could help you buy your first home in your local area at a discount of at least 30%.
  • Smaller deposit: You can buy a home under the government scheme with a smaller deposit.
  • Local connection: The First Homes scheme is aimed to help people find properties in areas where they already live or work in rather than looking further afield.
  • Stamp duty: Stamp duty is based on the discounted price, not the market value. As first-time buyers only pay stamp duty on properties worth over £425,000, the price cap means you won’t pay any stamp duty on the First Homes scheme.

» MORE: Learn about first-time buyer stamp duty relief

Disadvantages of the First Homes scheme

It’s important to consider these risks before applying for the First Homes scheme:

  • New-builds: You can only buy newly built properties under the First Homes scheme and will have to keep an eye on local developments in your area.
  • Selling restrictions: You must try to sell to someone else using the First Homes scheme.
  • Limited profit: The discount attached to First Homes and the price cap could limit your profit potential and hamper progress up the property ladder if you want to sell.
  • Price: New-builds are usually sold at a premium, which means the discount might not be as appealing as it sounds.
  • Competition: Competition for homes is likely to be high, so you’ll need to act fast.

Alternatives to the First Homes scheme

First Homes is one of several government initiatives designed to help first-time buyers. If you’re still deciding whether it’s right for you, there are a few other options to consider.

Right to Buy

If you rent from a housing association or the council and wish to swap paying rent for a mortgage, you may be able to purchase your current property at a discounted price using a Right to Buy mortgage. You must have lived in and paid rent on the home for at least three years to qualify.

Shared Ownership

By allowing you to buy a stake in a home, rather than all of it, a Shared Ownership mortgage can help if you’re struggling to afford to buy outright. You’ll have the option to increase the share that you own in the future, and could one day own it all, but rent must be paid on any part that isn’t yours.

Lifetime ISAs

A Lifetime ISA, and the 25% bonus it adds to your savings, is worth considering when trying to raise a deposit for your first home. You can save up to £4,000 into these tax-free accounts each year, with the government adding a bonus of up to £1,000 a year, until you hit age 50 (though you can only open a Lifetime ISA from the ages of 18 to 40). You need to keep in mind however, that charges will apply if you access the money before age 60 for any reasons other than purchasing a first home or terminal illness.

Gifted deposit

If a relative or friend wants to give you a deposit, a gifted deposit can help you realise your homeownership dreams. A lender will need reassurances that you’re not expected to pay the money back, but a letter from the person giving the money is usually sufficient as confirmation.

100% mortgages

No deposit is required with a 100% mortgage, but you will almost certainly need a family member or a close friend to support you in getting one. Because of the guarantees your relative or friend must provide in case you don’t meet your mortgage payments, these are also referred to as guarantor mortgages.

Image source: Getty Images

About the Authors

Tim Leonard

Tim is a writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet and holds the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Level 3 Certificate in Mortgage Advice. He has over 20 years’ experience writing about almost…

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Brean Horne

Brean was a writer and spokesperson for NerdWallet who covered a variety of topics including money-saving tips, credit scores and managing debt. With over five years’ experience in finance, she…

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Dive even deeper

Help to Buy scheme – everything you need to know

Help to Buy is a government scheme to help first-time buyers get a property with just a 5% deposit. You can borrow 20% of the purchase price (40% in London), interest-free for five years. You can apply to the scheme until 31 October 2022 and home purchases must be completed 31 March 2023. 

What’s in this guide

  • How does Help to Buy work?

  • National differences

  • How the Help to Buy equity loan works

  • More information

How does Help to Buy work?

The Help to Buy scheme offers an equity loan where the government lends first-time buyers in England money to buy a newly built home.

This must be used to buy your main residence, and can’t be used to buy a second home or a buy-to-let property.

You need a deposit of at least 5% of the purchase price.

You can borrow 20% (40% in London) of the purchase price. This amount is interest-free for five years.

The maximum purchase price for a Help to Buy property depends on what region of England you live in.

You can’t use Help to Buy to buy a property above these limits.

North East


North West


Yorkshire and The Humber


East Midlands


West Midlands


East of England




South East


South West


Applications for the Help to Buy equity loan will run until 31 October 2022 and home purchases must be complete by 31 March 2023.

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National differences

Find out more about Help to Buy:

  • if you live in Scotland at
  • if you live in Wales at
  • if you live in Northern Ireland at Housing Advice NI

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How the Help to Buy equity loan works

  • You need at least 5% of the sale price of your new-build flat or house as a deposit.
  • The government lends you up to 20% (or 40% if you live in London) of the sale price up to the regional limits.
  • You borrow the rest (up to 75%, or 55% if you live in London) from a mortgage lender, on a repayment basis.
  • The equity loan is interest-free for five years.
  • From year 6, you’ll be charged 1.75% which will increase by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 2% (1% if you took the equity loan before December 2019).
  • The equity loan must be repaid after 25 years, or earlier if you sell your home.
  • You must repay the same percentage of the proceeds of the sale as the initial equity loan. So, if you received an equity loan for 20% of the purchase price of your home, you must repay 20% of the proceeds of the future sale. That means if the market value of your home rises, so does the amount you owe on your equity loan. If the value of your home falls, the amount you owe on your equity loan falls too.

An example of how the Help to Buy equity loan works

Cost of home – £200,000

Your deposit



Equity loan









Interest rates for paying back your interest free loan

When the interest-free period ends, the interest rates charged on your loan will go up each year in April by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), plus 2%.

Years 1-5: no fees
Year 6: 1.75% of the loan
Year 7 onwards: 1.75% + CPI + 2% (1% if you took the equity loan before December 2019).

You will also pay a £1 monthly management fee by direct debit. When you take out your equity loan, you agree to repay it in full, plus interest and management fees.

An example showing typical interest rate rises on your government loan


No interest payments


No interest payments


No interest payments


No interest payments


No interest payments


1. 75%





The figures above assumes CPI is constant at 2% and no reduction in the loan amount.

From the table, your first interest payment will be 1.75% of the amount you borrowed.

Your interest will go up each year in April by the CPI, plus 2%. This is worked out by multiplying the loan amount (purchase price x equity loan percentage). The equity loan percentage will reduce if any part repayments are made.

The interest rate increases every year by adding CPI plus 2%. The interest rate from the previous year is then used to work out the interest rate rise for the following year.

For example, the following shows how any interest rate increase is calculated assuming CPI remains constant at 2% and no payments are made to pay off the government loan:

1.75% (the rate in year 6) + 0.07% (1.75% x (0.02 CPI + 0.02) = 1.82%

1.83% (the rate in year 7) + 0.07% (1.83% x (0.02 CPI + 0.02) = 1.90%

When you sell your home

When you sell your home, or the mortgage is paid off, you have to repay the equity loan plus a share of any increase in the value.

An example of how it works when you sell your home

Home bought for £200,000, sold for £250,000

Increase in value


Equity loan repayment

£50,000 (£40,000 + 25% profit)


£150,000 (less capital repayments)

Your share

at least £50,000

The remaining £50,000 (or more) can be used as a deposit on your next home.

The exact amount depends on how much you’ve paid off your mortgage.

You can also pay back part or all of your loan at any time.

The minimum percentage you can pay back is 10% of the market value of your home.

The amount you pay will depend on the market value at the time.

How do I find an equity loan?

Speak to the Help to Buy agent in your local area or a local developer who is registered with Help to Buy.

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More information

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Assembly diagrams – LEROM factory. Official site.

Products of the Furniture Company “Lerome” are delivered unassembled: packages with furniture parts and a separate package “Set of accessories”, which contains the Instructions for assembling furniture. In case of damage, loss, impossibility to read – you can download the furniture assembly instructions on this page. To do this, you need to know the name of the module you are building. This name is indicated on the packaging of the product or on the delivery note (receipt, contract).

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17101 Early Access and 17604 Skip Ahead

Introducing two Windows 10 Insider Preview builds. Build 17101 (RS4) is available to members who choose Fast ring, build 17604 (RS5) is available to those who choose Skip Ahead.

Skip Ahead builds

Right now we are focusing on stabilizing RS4, so we branched the RS4 builds into a separate branch called “RS4_RELEASE”, doing the same as we did earlier with RS2 and RS3. Going forward, RS4 builds will be released under the RS4_RELEASE branch. This also means that we will speed up the release of new RS4 builds for the Early and Late Access Rings, as these builds will contain mostly bug fixes.

While working on the RS3, we experimented by releasing two builds at the same time, one of which was called Skip Ahead. Insiders could “skip ahead” to the next release of Windows 10 and get RS4 builds while we finished work on RS3. This experiment yielded positive results – our engineers began to receive user feedback earlier. And we will do it again!

Beginning with Build 17017, members who had previously selected the Skip Ahead option received the same RS4 builds as those in the Early Access ring. The Skip Ahead option was never disabled, and many of the participants remained in this mode from the very beginning of work on the RS4. Those who choose Skip Ahead will now receive new builds of our next Windows 10 release, RS5. These builds will belong to the RS_PRERELEASE branch.

The Skip Ahead option is only available to a small number of members of the Early Access ring as we still need to test RS4. Since many of the participants who chose this option last time did not opt ​​out, the required number of users to test Skip Ahead has already been recruited. This means that if you did not select Skip Ahead before, this option will not be available in Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program. If we open a set of additional participants to test Skip Ahead, we will let you know. When we complete work on RS4, we will move all members from the early access circle to the RS_PRERELEASE branch, and all members will again receive the same builds.

Please note that assemblies from the RS_PRERELEASE branch will become less stable with new code. There will most likely be more bugs than usual early in the development cycle for a new release of Windows 10. If you don’t like it, you can opt out of Skip Ahead and wait for the early access circle to return to the RS_PRERELEASE branch.

What’s New in Builds 17101 and 17604

Input Improvements

New emoji design. At your request, we’ve redesigned some of the emoji to be more in line with the overall style. Here are examples:



Search emoji in additional languages ​​ . Earlier in RS4, we updated the emoji panel with the ability to view and select emoji in many new languages. Search now supports even more languages! You can search emoji by keyword in over 150 languages, including English, French, German, Spanish and many more. This will help you quickly and easily select the desired emoji. As a reminder: to bring up the emoji panel, make the cursor active in the text field and press WIN + (period) or WIN + (semicolon).

Windows Application Permissions

UWP File System Access . In this build, we’ve given you even more control so that you can now decide which UWP apps have access to the file system. Some UWP apps will get permission from Microsoft for wide access to the file system. If a UWP app needs file system wide access, a dialog box will appear where you can confirm or deny the request. If you later want to change your mind, you can do so from the File System Access page that appears in the Privacy section (Settings > Privacy). On this page, you can allow and deny access to all applications, and if access is generally allowed, you can deny or allow it to individual applications that have requested this ability. UWP apps with file system sharing do not appear on the Photos, Videos, and Documents privacy settings pages because access to these objects is allowed under sharing.

New features in Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

Last year, as part of the Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update, we announced a new version of Windows for Workstations with increased requirements, aimed at power users. With RS4, we’ve added two new features for power users doing demanding jobs:

New power plan – Ultimate Performance . Workstations always require superior performance to perform important tasks. To help you keep your performance at its peak, we’re introducing a new power plan called Ultimate Performance. During the development of Windows, there were trade-offs between performance and efficiency in some key areas. Over time, we have created sets of options that allow the operating system to quickly customize its behavior based on user preferences, policy, hardware characteristics, and load levels.

This new power scheme builds on the existing High-Performance scheme, but goes further by eliminating micro-latencies associated with subtle power management settings. The Ultimate Performance scheme can be selected by the manufacturer of computers preinstalled with Windows or by the user. To do this, open the Control Panel and go to the Hardware and Sound> Power Options section or run the Powercfg. cpl command. The parameters of the Ultimate Performance scheme, like other power schemes, are configurable.

Because the new power plan is designed to reduce microlatencies, it can have a direct impact on equipment and result in more power than the standard “balanced” plan. The Ultimate Performance scheme is currently not available for battery powered systems.

We continue to tune and evaluate this power plan. If you would like to provide feedback on its performance, you can do so in the Power & Battery category of the Feedback Hub.

Set applications to be productive by default . In Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the default settings for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations are based on the settings for Windows 10 Pro. This is clearly seen in the set of installed applications, the tiles of which appear in the Start menu. In the next release of Windows, instead of consumer apps and games, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations will see apps focused on enterprise productivity. This was one of the main requests from our partners and users, and in the next update we will take into account your wishes.

If you’re a Windows Insider and running Workstation or Enterprise, you’ll see both new features in build 17079 or later.

Windows App Insider Program

Introducing the new Windows App Preview Program, which makes it easier for you to try the latest app updates in Insider Preview builds. Participants who chose the Skip Ahead option reported that the mechanism for getting the latest app updates was not ideal, requiring the earliest, sometimes unstable builds to be installed. Members wanted to be able to experience the latest app updates in the latest builds from the Release Preview, Quick, and Late Access rings. The Windows App Insider Program allows members from any community to try out any individual app from the list of available apps.

Ten items in the first wave of applications:

  • Feedback Hub
  • Microsoft Photos
  • Microsoft Sticky Notes
  • Microsoft Tips
  • Paint 3D
  • Windows Alarms & Clock
  • Windows Calculator
  • Windows Camera
  • Windows Mixed Reality Viewer
  • Windows Voice Recorder

To participate in the evaluation of an application, simply go to the “Settings” or “About” page of the selected application and click the “Join preview” button.