The Evaluation of Low Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) RF 57/2011

These research findings were published in January 2011.

“The aim of LIFT is to help people on low to moderate incomes to buy a home, where this is sustainable for them. This evaluation covers four of the LIFT schemes currently operated by the Scottish Government. It provides a quantitative and qualitative analysis of how the schemes have operated and makes a series of recommendations as to how LIFT could be strengthened in the future to support households into home ownership.

Main Findings

  • LIFT has largely been successful at targeting the households identified as priorities for assistance through the schemes. OMSEP and NSSE have been most successful at targeting first time buyers.
  • OMSEP and NSSE have generally supported people into positive, sustainable housing situations. GRO is also meeting people’s housing needs, with some concerns around build quality and sustainable neighbourhoods. Shared ownership does not appear to be meeting household needs to the same extent, due to significant concerns over value for money.
  • Most OMSEP, NSSE and shared ownership purchasers see LIFT as a medium to long term housing solution. GRO purchasers appear more likely to consider moving on within the owner occupied sector in the short term.
  • LIFT purchasers are experiencing many of the same barriers to mobility as other owners due to the housing market conditions. However, the OMSEP and NSSE schemes have created conditions where some owners do not see it in their interest to consider other housing options due to the good value offered by their current circumstances.
  • LIFT is reducing pressure on the social rented sector through freeing up properties and reducing demand expressed through housing lists.
  • OMSEP and NSSE appear to contribute significantly to quality of life for purchasers, resulting in wider social benefits. The economic contribution that OMSEP makes to the housing market is not clear.
  • NSSE, GRO and shared ownership have all contributed to creating mixed communities. However, there is evidence of some tensions arising from tenure mix and integration.
  • OMSEP and NSSE provide the most cost effective mechanisms of supporting low and moderate income households into home ownership.”

The full report is also available.

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