A SCHEME to help people buy a new-build home is to be extended for a further two years.
The Scottish Government is to invest an additional £100 million in its Help to Buy programme from April 2019.
The extension will assist up to 4,000 people looking to purchase a property without the need for a large deposit.
Since its launch in 2013 more than 12,000 households have benefited from the scheme, the government said.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said it had also supported around 9,000 jobs.
He said: “A third of the annual £50 million budget – £18 million – will be reserved for sales from SME builders, who were particularly affected by the drop in development finance after the financial crisis.
“We know house builders still see Scotland as a place to continue to develop and invest, with the latest figures showing new house completions grew by 5% over the last year.
“Housing is about more than bricks and mortar – we want to provide safe, warm homes, help create a fairer Scotland, and preserve a diverse and more resilient construction sector.”
Nicola Barclay, chief executive of the home building industry body Homes for Scotland, welcomed the announcement.
She said: “It clearly demonstrates that the Scottish Government supports the aspiration of home ownership and recognises the real challenge that continues to face prospective buyers in terms of the size of deposit they require to achieve this goal.
“This additional funding will provide our member companies with the certainty they need to invest in and open up new sites and expand the number of homes available to new purchasers.
“Crucially, just as the scheme’s extension will ensure even more people can buy a home, it will also ease pressure in other parts of the housing market as people move into home ownership from socially rented homes and come off council house waiting lists.”