First Homes is a government scheme that gives first time buyers the chance to buy a discounted home. You can buy a First Homes from a housebuilder or estate agent.
You can receive a discount of at least 30% off a First Home, compared to similar properties on the open market. After the discount, they should cost no more than £250,000 on first sale.
The government has set national criteria to ensure that First Homes go to those who would otherwise struggle to buy a home.
As well as the national criteria, we have also set some local criteria. This applies to the initial sale of all First Homes and resales, for a period of three months from when a home is first marketed in Chelmsford.
To buy a First Home property, you must:
- be 18 or older
- be a first-time buyer (if a property is being bought by more than one individual, you must all be first-time buyers). This means you and anyone you’re buying with, must not own a home now or have owned one in the past, in the UK or abroad.
- have a mortgage or home purchase plan to fund at least 50% of the discounted price
- have a household gross income of no more than £80,000.
To qualify for the local criteria, you must also:
- live or work in the administrative area of Chelmsford City Council; or
- be an essential local worker (as defined in the National Planning Policy Framework); or
- be a serving or ex-armed forces personnel
If a you can’t find a buyer that meets the local criteria after three months, you will only have to find a buyer that meets the national criteria.
To qualify for the "working in Chelmsford" criteria, you must be contracted to work with a company based in Chelmsford on either a full or part time basis.
To qualify as an "essential local worker", you must be a public sector employee who provides frontline services in areas including health, education and community safety (such as NHS staff, teachers, police, firefighters and military personnel, social care and childcare workers).
To qualify for the "armed forces" criteria, you must be:
- an active members of the armed forces; or
- a divorced or separated spouse/civil partner of a current member of the Armed Forces; or
- the spouse or civil partner of a deceased member of the armed forces (if their death was wholly or partly caused by their service); or
- a veteran who has left the armed forces within the last five years
If you are a buyer, you cannot apply to us directly. We will only accept applications from housebuilders and estate agents.
Once you have found a First Home, you need to speak to the housebuilder’s sales team or the seller’s estate agent. They will carry out initial checks before sending your application to us. We are unable to process any application until we receive this information.
We will charge a one-off, non-fundable fee of £150 to help cover the cost of processing the application.
If you are a housebuilder or estate agent, you can apply now.
When you buy a First Home property, your conveyancer will register a restriction on the title of the property regarding its future resale.
This restriction states that you can only sell the property to another eligible First Homes buyer, and you have to apply to same percentage discount that you received to the sale price.
This means you will only receive the discounted amount, not the full market value. The same applies to any subsequent owners of the property who go on to sell it. However, if your property rises in value, you will benefit from any increase.
When a First Home is put up for sale, certain buyers will be given priority, as detailed in the previous eligibility section.