You are here:

Affordable housing options

Last updated 16 July 2013

Information about low-cost home ownership schemes through First Steps.

Affordable home ownership

The Strategic Housing Development Unit manages and monitors all affordable home ownership schemes and initiatives within Waltham Forest. The Council supports local housing associations also known as Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) in developing sites for the needs of eligible applicants.

More information on these, as well as what is being done to promote home ownership in the borough and the sub region, is available from FIRST STEPS, which has replaced Housing Options. The following schemes are currently available: 

FIRST STEPS to home ownership in London

FIRST STEPS is the free government service for London’s first time buyers looking to buy a home for less than on the open market. With options available to buy or rent a home through over 40 of our partner housing providers across London, you could be taking your FIRST STEPS sooner than you think.

How do you know if you are eligible?

Generally, you must meet the following criteria to be eligible for FIRST STEPS:

  • Your household income is less than £60,000 a year
  • You are a first-time buyer, or a homeowner who needs to move because of a change in your family’s circumstances (in which case you must sell your existing property)

Priority will be given to applicants living in London who are:

  • Social tenants - council and housing association tenants
  • Serving MoD personnel (Uniformed)
  • From one of the priority groups as defined by the Local Authority

What are your options?


  • Shared Ownership
  • Resales
  • FIRSTBuy
  • HomeBuy Direct
  • Home Ownership for people with Long-term Disabilities (HOLD)
  • Older People’s Shared Ownership (OPSO)


  • Rent to Buy
  • Intermediate Rent

Details of the schemes

Shared ownership

With FIRST STEPS Shared Ownership, you buy a brand new or resale home with a mortgage on a share in that home starting at 25% of the home’s full market value. You will also pay a rent, which is initially capped at a maximum of 3%, on the part owned by the housing provider. FIRST STEPS Shared Ownership is designed so that your monthly housing costs will be approximately 20% lower than if you were to buy the home outright on the open market or rent it privately.


FIRST STEPS Resales are usually previously owned Shared Ownership homes that were built and sold in the past and are now being sold on a part-buy, part-rent basis by their current owner. FIRST STEPS Resales vary in location, age and design and provide an opportunity to buy an older property in an established community.


FIRST STEPS FirstBuy is an equity loan product which gives you the opportunity to buy a new home with the help of up to 20% of the full purchase price. The FirstBuy equity loan will be interest free for the first 5 years with a charge payable from year 6. FirstBuy is available at developments across London from a range of developers building homes in the capital.

HomeBuy Direct (HBD)

With HomeBuy Direct, you can buy a newly built home on a designated selected development with the help of an equity loan. Your mortgage, savings and any deposit required must fund a minimum of 70% of the total purchase price; the remainder will be paid for with an equity loan of up to 30% of the total purchase price. For the first five years of home ownership there is no fee charged on the equity loan, from the start of year six a charge will be payable.

Home Ownership for people with Long-term Disabilities (HOLD)

HOLD is not a separate product but the route into Shared Ownership for eligible disabled people. You will need to have an income sufficient to be able to raise a mortgage through a high street lender or purchase a share with a lump sum.

Older People’s Shared Ownership (OPSO)

OPSO is a shared ownership scheme for people over the age of 55. The scheme lets you own a home without having to buy it outright - enabling you to live independently with the reassurance of 24 hour emergency assistance.


Rent to Buy offers the opportunity to rent a newly built home on an Intermediate Rent basis; allowing you to rent a home at a rent which is charged at approximately 20% lower than you would expect to pay for a similar home on the open market. You can do this for up to five years with the option to buy the home through FIRST STEPS Shared Ownership when you are ready to buy in the longer term.

FIRST STEPS Intermediate Rent

Through the intermediate rent product, you can rent a brand new or refurbished home at less than the market rate. The rent charged is normally 20% lower than what you would expect to pay for a similar home in a similar area if you were renting from a private landlord and you have the assurance that your home is built, managed and let by one of our partner providers.


How do I apply?

In order to view properties that you may be eligible for, you will need to register your details on the FIRST STEPS website.

If you would like to go on to purchase or rent a property then you will need to complete an application form and have this approved by FIRST STEPS. This can be done by using their online application form at

If you would like to apply another way, you can contact the dedicated applications and enquiries team on 0845 230 8099 for an application form and further information.

Back to TOP

See also

Contact details


    Metropolitan Home Ownership The Grange 100 High Street
    N14 6PW
    Phone: 020 3535 2760
    Fax: 020 3535 2755