A SHARED ownership housing scheme to give New Forest buyers a better chance of getting on the property ladder was enthusiastically backed by the district council’s cabinet.
The initiative aims to enable those who cannot afford a home of their own to buy a share of a dwelling which requires a smaller deposit or mortgage, and then pay rent on the remaining share.
Initial shares can be between 25% and 75% and, should an owner’s financial circumstances change, they can buy additional shares until they own the home outright, with rent reducing as the shares increase.
At the latest meeting of NFDC’s Conservative ruling cabinet, the project received members’ unanimous backing.
Housing portfolio holder Cllr Jill Cleary said: “I’m eager to introduce this scheme as part of the council’s commitment to providing a variety of affordable housing options in the district and greater housing choice and stability for our residents.
“Shared ownership will help those who wish to get on the property ladder but can’t afford to buy on the open market because of high prices locally.”
She was challenged by Liberal Democrat member Cllr Caroline Rackham, who said that despite the scheme, house prices were still “prohibitive”.
Cllr Cleary rejected that, adding that was not the case because the scheme enabled a house to be purchased “bit by bit”.
The project is modelled on the Homes England system and will be available on “selected new homes” in the district, according to a cabinet report, built as part of NFDC’s ongoing housing development projects.
It outlined how using the scheme to buy a two-bedroom flat worth £250,000 on the open market would see the 25% share cost £62,500 – the 10% deposit £6,250 – with the monthly mortgage and rent bill £754, which is the very least such a flat would cost renting privately.
With a growing housing list and rising prices, NFDC hopes the scheme will address ambitious plans set out in its 2018 housing strategy to provide at least 600 new council homes by 2026 with social rent, affordable rent and shared-ownership tenures.
To be eligible for the scheme, households must have a connection to the district. Information is available on www.nfdc.gov.uk. To register visit www.helptobuyagent3.org.uk