A new government scheme could help you own your first home, even if you can't afford a deposit at the moment.

Between January 2015 and 31 March 2017, the government will provide 400 million (200 million for London, a further 200 million for the rest of England) in cheap loans to help housing associations and social landlords build 10,000 new homes for young buyers.

Most of the new homes are likely to be one or two bedroom apartments. First time buyers will be able to rent these properties at 80% of the market value for at least 7 years; then they'll get first refusal on buying it.

They can use this time - and the 20% they'll be saving in rent - to build up a deposit to buy the property or another one after 7 years is up (although they won't have to).

It's hoped that the scheme, alongside a new Help to Buy scheme, will help to make buying a house more affordable for those who wouldn't otherwise be able to get on the property ladder.

Are you eligible for the Rent to Buy scheme?

The scheme is available for households with an income of less than 66,000 per year (and no more than 33,000 per person). A household can mean couples, families or even friends teaming up to buy together. If you buy on your own, you'll have to earn no more than 33,000.

It's available if you're a first time buyer or you once owned a home but are unable to afford to buy one now.

It will suit you if you can't get a mortgage because you can't afford a deposit.

How does the Rent to Buy scheme work for tenants?

Your monthly rent, including service charges, will be no more than 80% of the average market price for the area in which you live.

You can take advantage of the lower rent amount and save towards a deposit to eventually buy the house (or another one) after 7 or more years.

You'll be given first refusal to buy the property if the landlord looks to sell it after 7 years.

After those seven years, you could also request to buy the property. The landlord should agree to sell it to you at that point at market value.

Other ways to buy your first house

Find out whether you should rent or buy by reading our guide, Should I Buy a House or Keep Renting?

If you do want to buy but are struggling to save a deposit, there are other options. Our guide, how to get a mortgage with no deposit, explains what you can do to get on the ladder.