Cairngorms in the Scotland

Scottish government has delivered on an ambition to support self and custom builders with a £6million extension to its Self-Build Loan Fund.

People unable to access standard bank lending for a self build can apply for a loan to contribute to the development costs of their project, up to the value of £175,000, with a fee of £895 for the product, based on 5.5% interest, which goes up to 9% for those in default).

The structure of the loan is designed to be short-term and repaid on completion of the build, with repayment terms drawn up on a project basis.

The first phase of Self Build Loan Fund ran for three years from 2018, with an initial pot of £4million fund, which was extended for a year with an additional £2million in funding. These followed on from the success of a pilot scheme in the Highlands.

The relaunched fund reopens for applications on 21 November, giving people, many of whom want to remain in their communities, the opportunity to build. The fund also aims to support the delivery of high quality and energy efficient homes.

To date the Self Build Loan has awarded 41 loans worth a total of £6.2 million.

Housing Secretary Shona Robison said: “We know it can be more difficult to access finance for self-build projects than for buying an existing property, and this fund is a crucial lifeline for those unable to access standard bank lending. When loans are repaid, the money can be re-used, during the life of the fund, supporting more self-builders and providing more homes for future generations.

“Self-provided housing can play an important role contributing to the long-term sustainability of our rural and island communities, and this £6 million Scottish Government fund will continue to help support this. It has had great success in the Highlands and Islands and has also provided dream homes for people living across the whole of Scotland.

“Wherever you live, if you’re interested in building your own home I’d encourage you to contact the Communities Housing Trust to find out more.”

Kirsten, a school teacher from Shetland who benefitted from the fund, said: “We acquired our plot of land over 20 years ago. At that point there was an old croft house on the land which we initially planned to renovate. However, several things arose to hinder our plans. The most significant was my partner becoming long-term disabled after an accident. This meant a lot of disruption to our build plans.

“If the fund hadn’t been available we would have had to stop our build altogether and sell the plot of land. That would have meant it being harder for us to get onto the property ladder. It can be difficult or more costly to find a property that has larger living accommodation needed for wheelchair use. It may also have taken us away from our home area where family are nearby. I don’t know what we would have done without this fund.”

The Self-Build Loan Fund is administered on behalf of the Scottish Government by the Communities Housing Trust, and Ronnie MacRae, CEO of the Communities Housing Trust, said: “In the years we’ve administered the fund, we’ve seen demand rise as conditions become even more challenging for people to build their own home. In many cases, families just need a bit of extra support and are fully able to build and then repay the loan.

“Self-build remains an important option for many, particularly in areas where no other options exist, so we are extremely grateful to the Scottish Government for continuing to provide the fund.”


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