[WATCH] Over 40s can get up to half of a property purchase funded by government under new scheme

New Equity Sharing Scheme aims to help individuals over 40 to become homeowners by providing half the purchase price of a property, to be repaid after 20 years

The Equity Sharing Scheme is open to people over 40 who are finding it difficult to fund the entire purchase price of a property
The Equity Sharing Scheme is open to people over 40 who are finding it difficult to fund the entire purchase price of a property

The government and APS Bank have launched a new scheme through which over 40s can have the Housing Authority fund up to half of the purchase of a new property.

Named the Equity Sharing Scheme, the programme applies to individuals aged 40 or more who are finding it difficult to become homeowners due to having a limited amount of assents and are unable to secure a bank loan.

Eligible applicants have to purchase at least 50% of the property, with the other part being purchased by the Housing Authority.

After 20 years, the applicants will be required to purchase the Housing Authority’s share by paying the same price paid by the Authority at the time of the original purchase.

APS Bank, subject to all the bank’s criteria being satisfied, will be granting applicants a maximum loan of up to €160,000 to purchase a property in a finished and habitable state or in a shell form which can be rendered habitable at a total expense not over €200,000.

The Housing Authority will be financing between €20,000 and €100,00 of the purchase of the property, which should not exceed €200,000.

The property can be inherited by the applicants’ children or heirs, who will have the opportunity to purchase the Housing Authority’s share themselves.

The scheme is part of a holistic strategy on housing, the Prime Minister said
The scheme is part of a holistic strategy on housing, the Prime Minister said

If, after 20 years, the applicants or their children are still not in a situation where they can pay back the percentage of the property which was funded by the Housing Authority, that portion of the property will remain the government’s, but will be commuted into a “social rent” payable to the state. This rent will be commensurate with the investment and the return the government expects, but will remain affordable to the applicant or their family.

Speaking at the launch on Monday, the Prime Minister said that the new scheme was part of a holistic strategy on housing.

“The scheme is not a silver bullet, as no such thing exists in this area and there is no measure which will address all the issue. It is, however, one of a series of policies which target different realities in our economy and society,” Joseph Muscat said.

Muscat said that the scheme intended to provide affordable housing for people who could become homeowners with a little help, but who, because of their current situation, did not qualify for any kind of subsidy because they had sufficient means. “But these means, coupled with the ages of such people, only serve as a pot of money which they can use until it runs out,” he highlighted.

He said that these persons were typically separated or divorced people, although this was of course not a pre-condition for anyone wanting to apply for the scheme. “When such divorced couples sell their property and split the earnings from that, they sometimes don’t end up with enough money to buy a new place.

“This scheme will solve an ever-increasing issue where such persons have no other option but to enter the rental market until their saved income is all used up. The government is giving support to these people to become homeowners, without prejudicing the bank’s situation, since the government will be offering a guarantee for the loan,” he said.

Scheme conditions

The property should be built in accordance with building regulations and planning permits.

The applicants have to finance at least 10% of the price of the property from their personal assets.

Should the applicants choose to, they can purchase back the investment the Housing Authority made in the property before the lapse of 20 years.

Eligibility

In the case of married couples or two persons in a civil union, one of the applicants must be 40 years old on the date of application to qualify for the scheme.

When it comes to single parents with unmarried children living with them, and single persons, these must also be at least 40 to be eligible.

The scheme is also open to two persons applying jointly, one of which must be 40 or older; and to legally separated persons over 40 without children living with them.

Applicants must be Maltese citizens or citizens of the European Union. EU citizens must be acquiring their first residence and must satisfy the criteria issued by any Authority and/or by the Office of the Prime Minister.

In the case of married couples or persons in a civil union who are not legally separated, one of the couple must be a Maltese citizen.

During the preceding year of application, applicants should not have an annual aggregate income exceeding €40,000.

Applications forms can be collected from the Housing Authority's offices in Floriana and Victoria, Gozo, or downloaded from housingauthority.gov.mt.

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