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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 February, 2005, 17:57 GMT
Homebuyers could get council loan
House buyers
First time buyers are being priced out of the market
First time house buyers in East Lothian could get council loans to help them onto the property ladder.

Councillors have said that there is a housing shortage and this is one of a range of measures to help locals.

Prices in the area are higher than average but wages lower and many people brought up in the area are losing out to Edinburgh commuters.

East Lothian Council plans to give about 10 applicants interest free loans to top up their available mortgage.

Each would get about 25,000 to 30,000 - about 25% of the cost of the house they want to buy.

'Good value'

The council said this was just one measure to combat the area's growing housing crisis.

Councillor Willie Innes said: "We see it as good value for money if we can solve someone's problem for 30,000.

"It costs us a lot more than that to do it in other ways."

Hazel Sinclair
We're putting offers in and we're not even getting close
Hazel Sinclair
Nursery nurse

But estate agents warn such loans must be pre-approved to keep up with the market.

Alan Borrowman, from estate agent Garden Stirling Burnet, said: "If you're at the front line trying to buy a client a property, you need a decision that day or maybe the next day.

"So you must know beforehand that that money is available."

Nursery nurse Hazel Sinclair is looking for a house in Dunbar.

She said: "We're putting offers in and we're not even getting close.

"We've tried so many houses and just can't get anything."

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