PEOPLE who want to build their own houses but who can’t access standard bank lending can apply for a loan from the Scottish Government of up to £175,000 to help with the development costs of their home. 

The Self-Build Loan Fund reopened for applications last Monday after closing in August this year and aims to support the delivery of good quality and energy-efficient housing, giving people more choice about the homes they want to live in. 

Following the success of a pilot scheme in the Highlands, the fund was launched nationally in 2018, with loans worth a total of £6.2 million enabling 41 families to build homes from the Borders to Shetland.

Housing Secretary Shona Robison said: “This fund aims to unlock the dream of building your own home, in many cases allowing people to stay in their local communities. 

“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 reused 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 £6m 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 benefited 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.”
She added: “I don’t know what we would have done without this fund.” 

Ronnie MacRae, the chief executive 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.”

The Self-Build Loan Fund reopened on November 21 to new applications after closing on August 31 this year. 

Admin fees
THE Self-Build Loan Fund is administered on behalf of the Scottish Government by the Communities Housing Trust. The administration fees borrowers will pay to secure their loan is £895. 

The interest rate for the loan is 5.5 per cent (9% for those in default). The agreed repayment period will depend on the nature of the project, but the loan is intended to be short-term and repaid on completion of the build. 

In order to be eligible for a loan under the scheme, applicants have to show that they cannot access standard bank lending to cover construction costs. 

They must also own a plot of land to build on or have a contract to buy the land and have planning permission and a building warrant in place to allow work to start. The fund cannot be used to cover the cost of buying land.

A plot of land over 250 square metres is large enough for a medium-sized house with a small front and back garden, while 400 square metres is sufficient for a four-bedroom house with a large garden.