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First Homes

If you’re a first-time buyer, you may be able to purchase a home for 30% to 50% less than its market value through the First Homes scheme. The home must be your only or main residence.

The First Homes scheme applies to:

  • New homes built by developers
  • Homes bought through an estate agent, previously purchased through the scheme

This scheme is only available in England.


To qualify, you must:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Be a first-time buyer
  • Obtain a mortgage for at least half the price of the home
  • Earn no more than £80,000 a year before tax (£90,000 if the property is in London), based on your income from the previous tax year

If purchasing with others:

  • All must be first-time buyers
  • Apply together, even if not all are getting a mortgage
  • Joint income cannot exceed £80,000 a year before tax (£90,000 in London), based on the previous tax year’s income

Local Eligibility Criteria

Councils may have local eligibility criteria, prioritizing:

  • Key workers, as defined by the council
  • Residents already living in the area
  • Individuals on lower incomes

If buying with others:

  • All must meet local income criteria
  • Only one needs to meet other local criteria

These criteria apply for the first three months a property is on sale.

Local Exemptions for Armed Forces and Their Families

You do not need to be a key worker or local resident if you are:

  • A member of the armed forces
  • A former spouse or civil partner of a member of the armed forces
  • A widow or widower of a deceased member of the armed forces (if the death was service-related)
  • A veteran who left the armed forces in the last five years

All other First Homes eligibility criteria must still be met.

Finding and Purchasing a First Home

Look for new homes in your area advertised by developers or estate agents through the First Homes scheme. Developers offer these homes to first-time buyers at a minimum 30% discount off the market value.

Key points:

  • No rent is required, unlike shared ownership.
  • Every home sold is independently valued to ensure the discount is based on the actual market value.
  • New build First Homes cannot exceed £250,000 (or £420,000 in London) after the discount. Local councils can lower this maximum price.

You are free to decorate or improve your property, but you must follow First Homes scheme rules if you decide to let or sell your home.

Image credit: master1305 on Freepik

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