FIRST STEPS is the free official intermediate housing programme from the Mayor of London helping low and modest income Londoners to buy or rent at a price they can afford.
On this site you can find all the FIRST STEPS properties in one place, advertised in partnership with affordable homes property portal sharetobuy.com. Start searching for your new home through FIRST STEPS in three easy steps.
- STEP 1 - CHECK ELIGIBILITY
- STEP 2 - REGISTER
- STEP 3 - PROPERTY SEARCH
How do you know if you are eligible?
Everyone who buys or rents through FIRST STEPS must meet the following headline eligibility criteria. Additional criteria may be specified by local planning authorities for specific developments. You should check the property listing you are interested in for further details.
You are eligible if...
- You have a gross household income of no more than £66,000 per annum when eligible to purchase or rent a one or two bedroom home or no more than £80,000 per annum when eligible to purchase or rent a family sized home (three or more bedrooms).
- You are unable to purchase a suitable home to meet your housing needs on the open market.
- You do not already own a home or you will have sold your current home before you purchase or rent.
Priority groups for FIRST STEPS
Priority will go to the following groups, set in priority order:
- Housing association and council tenants, and armed forces personnel (click the further information tab at the bottom of the screen for more detail on these priority groups)
- Local priorities (which may vary from development to development)
- Other eligible buyers
Where there are multiple customers looking to purchase or rent a home priority will be given in the first instance to the priority groups, and then, on a first come, first served basis. Once you have found a home that meets your requirements you should discuss this with the housing provider.
FIRST STEPS offers you two main product options:
- Shared Ownership: you purchase a new or existing home from a housing association. You purchase the maximum share in the property that you can afford with a minimum requirement of 25% and pay rent on the remaining share (often referred to as part buy part rent). Homes are either brand new or being sold by existing shared owners. The rent on the outstanding share is usually set a maximum of 3% on the value of that share when the home is first sold. Rent levels on resale homes can be higher. Find out more about Shared Ownership
- Rent to Save: you rent for a fixed period, up to five years, at up to 80% of the equivalent market rent for that property, with a fixed rate of inflation. A savings plan is put into place to help you save for a deposit. At any point during the tenancy you can purchase on shared ownership or shared equity terms. If you are no longer wish or are able to buy you can end your tenancy on the terms of your agreement. Find out more about Rent to Save
Further options available:
- Help to Buy: you purchase a minimum of 80% of the property with a mortgage and a deposit. You need to be able to raise a minimum deposit equivalent to 5% of the value of the property. NO fee will be charged on the loan for the first five years. After that you will pay a fee on each of the equity loans of 1.75%, rising annually by the increase in the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 1%. Find out more about Help to Buy
Armed Forces Home Ownership Scheme (AFHOS)
If you are serving in the armed forces and have between four and six years of continuous service, the Armed Forces Home Ownership Scheme is a way for you to buy a home suited to your needs, with some extra help to top up your mortgage.
The scheme is designed specifically to provide qualifying applicants with assistance to purchase a home. If you are eligible, the scheme could provide you with a loan of between 15% and 50% of the value of the home that you choose on the open market, usually through an estate agent like any other buyer.
For example if you qualify for a mortgage of £70,000, you could potentially purchase a property worth up to £140,000. For more details and to find out if you qualify for the scheme visit: http://www.afhos.co.uk/ or contact the Scheme Agent, Swaythling Housing Society on 0800 028 1980, or email
NewBuy or Help to Buy
The NewBuy or Help to Buy scheme is designed to help overcome the deposit gap for new home buyers. It is aimed at first-time buyers and those who already own a home who only have funds for a 5%-10% deposit on the home they wish to buy in England. The lenders participating in the scheme will provide a 90%-95% loan-to-value mortgage for buyers meeting their qualifying criteria.
For more details and to find out if you qualify for the scheme visit http://www.newbuy.org.uk/.
Please note: you may be required to provide your mortgage lender with a deposit and this is your responsibility to research.