First-time buyers

Key Workers

Helping key workers in London, the South East and East of England to buy a home, upgrade to a family home or rent a home at an affordable price. Apply to your local HomeBuy agent.  Click here to view list of agents.

Who can benefit
If you are a 'key worker' in one of the groups listed below you could get help to buy your first home or to move into a family home. Opportunities are also available to rent homes at affordable prices.
This help is available in London, the South East and the East of England where the high cost of housing is affecting employers' ability to recruit and keep staff.

Key workers who may currently get help are:

  • Clinical NHS staff (with the exception of doctors and dentists);
  • Teachers and nursery nurses in schools and further education/sixth form colleges; 
  • Police officers, Community Support Officers and some civilian staff;
  • Prison Service staff in certain prisons
  • Probation Service staff;
  • Social workers, nursery nurses, educational psychologists, and therpists (e.g. occupational therapists) employed by local authorities, CAFCASS or the NHS;
  • Local Authority Planners
  • Firefighters and other uniformed staff below principal level in Fire and Rescue Services.

Eligibility criteria can vary across regions depending on local recruitment and retention priorities.

Have a look at the list above of key workers who may be eligible. You can be a first time buyer, an existing home owner or looking to rent. Updated June 2006.

What is available
The following help is available:

1. Open Market HomeBuy - 'Equity loans' to help key workers buy a home on the open market. Key workers are typically expected to raise a mortgage of around 75% of the property's value.

Please note: Funding for this product was provided in two tranches for 2006/08 period.  A small amount of funding was released for the period before the deal with the Council of Mortgage Lenders begins in October to deal with a small number of priority cases from waiting lists.  In some zones this funding has been fully committed.  The remainder of the funding will be available from October.  By holding back the majority of funding till October we are able to double the impact of the funding we provide as lenders will be jointly funding the equity loans.   Please keep in touch with your HomeBuy Agent about the situation in your zone.

2. Higher-value equity loans of up to 100,000 for a small group of school teachers with the potential to become leaders of London's education system in the future.

Please note: Due to high levels of demand in some zones in London funding for the higher-value equity loans has already been fully committed.  There will not be any further funding for this product.  Teachers can still apply for assistance under Open Market HomeBuy.

3. New Build HomeBuy - shared-ownership of newly built properties. You buy at least 25% of the home and pay a reduced rent on the remaining share.

4. 'Intermediate renting' where the rent is set at a level between that charged by social and private landlords and the accommodation is provided by a registered social landlord.

5. The NHS also provides some short term intermediate rented accommodation for all key workers. This is managed through the NHS accommodation website. You can search for this accommodation at:

Changes to Open Market HomeBuy from October 2006:

6. From October 2006, following a major agreement on the private financing of equity loans, lenders will provide a 'top-up' equity loan alongside the loan being provided by the Government.  This will stretch Government funding, enabling more people to be helped.  The new offer has been agreed with HBOS, Nationwide Building Society and Yorkshire Building Society. You will be able to choose the best offer for you. There may be a small charge associated with the private lender's loan. Full details of the new arrangements are still being finalised with the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the lenders themselves.

Who do I contact

To find out if you can get help and how to apply for it, you need to contact the HomeBuy agent that covers the area you work in.  Click here to view a list of HomeBuy agents' phone numbers and web sites for your area.

Questions and answers

Case studies
Key workers who have benefited through Key worker living.  Click on Case studies to view.

Information source:  July 2006

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