First-time buyers in the Teignbridge area now stand a better chance of acquiring the keys to their first home following the launch of an equity loan scheme. People who want to own their own home in Teignbridge but have struggled to raise the deposit now have the opportunity to apply for a loan under the Open Market HomeBuy scheme, which is being run by Teignbridge District Council and Sovereign Housing Association. The flexible and innovative initiative - often referred to as a shared equity scheme - is open to people in housing need who have a local connection, are in a household earning less than £60,000 and are unable to buy a suitable home without the help of the equity loan. Buyers can look around for any home worth under £190,000 being sold on the open market in any part of Teignbridge. It can be a new build or a house that is already for sale, meaning people have the freedom to chose from any property on offer. A mortgage or savings can be used to fund an agreed percentage of the purchase price for the home and Teignbridge District Council and Sovereign will then provide a loan on the remaining cost, up to a maximum value of 25%, depending on the buyers' financial circumstances. The Council is providing £300,000 for the scheme and Sovereign is contributing £100,000. The scheme is aimed at helping a minimum of 10 local families buy their own home. Priority will be given to first-time buyers, key workers or housing association residents looking to move into home ownership. Teignbridge District Council is holding a drop in event in Old Forde House, Brunel Road, Newton Abbot, on 30 January from 1pm until 6pm so people can find out more. Tony Quigley, Sovereign's Director of Home Ownership, said: "We have funded Open Market Home Buy in other parts of the country and have found it to be a very successful initiative that meets a very real housing need. We are delighted to be able to work with Teignbridge District Council to help local households meet their aspiration to purchase their own home." Cllr Philip Vogel, Teignbridge District Council's Executive Spokesperson for Housing and Planning, said: "We are very pleased that together with our partners Sovereign Housing Association, we are able to offer residents who wish to remain living in Teignbridge the opportunity to do so. "Through HomeBuy, residents will be able to get a secured loan so they can buy their first home, whether it is a new build or a property that is already for sale on the open market. It gives people the freedom to make their own choice about where they want to live without having to worry about saving a hefty deposit." "We have always said that we want to make it as easy as possible for first time buyers to get the best and most affordable opportunities to invest in bricks and mortar and this scheme gives a great opportunity to get that first foot on the ladder. "Housing remains a major issue for many residents. It is one of the top priorities in our Council Plan and we have been looking at many ways of tackling the issue of how we provide affordable homes - whether it's through investigating self build or shared ownership - as it's what people tell us is one of the important things to them. "This innovative scheme also allows the Council, in time, to recycle the capital benefiting from any uplift in house prices. It keeps families together and helps our local communities continue to grow and thrive." Loans of up to £47,500 are available and will be secured against the value of the property. No interest is charged for the first three years of the loan, and the loan itself is only paid back when the property is sold, when the final mortgage instalment is paid or at the end of 10 years. Interested buyers must first register with the HomeBuy agent for the area, South West Homes, and be on the Teignbridge District Council housing list. To do so visit: www.southwesthomes.org.uk/ or contact 0300 100 0021.