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4 February 2008

Grants for first-time buyers

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by Kay Mitchell

Grants for first-time buyers

A new scheme is to be introduced that will help first-time buyers in Hillingdon get onto the property ladder. The scheme forms part of Hillingdon Borough council’s policy to maximise the opportunities for Hillingdon residents to become homeowners

Young professionals, who live in the borough, and are on a middle-income will be offered nearly £16,000 of taxpayers money.

They will be given the cash to pay a 7.5% deposit on their home. The grants will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis and will rarely have to be paid back.

At least 60 people have applied and 6 are being considered for the first round of payments which has a budget of £100,000.

However, the grants will not be available to key workers such as teachers or health workers or for those on low incomes.

The scheme has been launched by Conservative-run Hillingdon Borough Council, aspiring property owners can apply for the grant if they have secured a mortgage and whose potential home is not worth more than £210,000.

Furthermore, applicants must have lived in the borough for 10 years and provide a 7.5% deposit of their own. They will only have to pay back the grant if they sell the house within 3 years.

Head of housing, Neil Stubbings, said the scheme is targeted at helping young, reasonably well-off people to stay in the area and keep adding to the economy. Mr Stubbings added we want to attract those people who are thinking ‘I’m not even able to get in sight of the bottom rung of the property ladder’.

However, Labour councillors have branded the scheme a ‘gimmick’ and claimed it is out of reach for the average earner in Hillingdon.

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