Rugby MP Mark Pawsey recently visited Gardeners End in Bilton to talk to social housing provider Stonewater about how affordable shared ownership schemes can help struggling first-time buyers get a foot on the property ladder.
Pictured above from left to right are: Susan Cooper, Stonewater Regional Director Housing, East & North; Susan Berry, Stonewater Homes Sales & Marketing Manager; Mark Pawsey MP and Sue Shirt, Stonewater Executive Director Housing.
Gardners End is a development of 24 one- and two-bedroom Stonewater apartments built in 2007. The properties are all shared ownership, a government-backed, part buy, part rent scheme, where the buyer purchases a share of their new home and pays a reduced rent on the balance. Over time, as their incomes rise, purchasers can buy a bigger share and eventually own the property outright. Mortgages and deposits for shared ownership homes are more affordable because they are based on the value of the share rather than the value of the whole property.
“It was great to welcome Mark to Gardeners End to talk about how housing associations can help people get onto the housing ladder,” said Sue Shirt, Stonewater’s Executive Director for Housing. “With average house prices in the Rugby area at £218,784*, almost eight times the local average salary, many first-time buyers are stuck in a rent trap and unable to accumulate savings to put towards a home of their own.”
Stonewater has over 2,000 shared owners across the country, and believes that with growing housing shortages and high property prices, shared ownership schemes offer first-time buyers and key workers an affordable route into home ownership.
“We were pleased that the Government supports the ambition of middle-income earners to access affordable home ownership and we encourage Mark to press for national publicity on how shared ownership works and can help,” added Sue. “We need to ensure that shared ownership becomes a go-to product for new aspiring owners. I hope Mark found the visit useful, and that he will continue to actively support housing associations to help his constituents onto the housing ladder.”
To be eligible for shared ownership schemes, purchasers need to have a maximum household income of £80,000 and be either first-time buyers or former homeowners who cannot afford to buy.
Commented Mark Pawsey: “I was delighted to be able to visit Stonewater’s properties in Rugby and talk to them about the role that shared ownership properties can play in meeting the need for new housing. Shared ownership is a good way for first-time buyers to take their first step onto the property ladder. I know that many people want to own their own home, but struggle to be able to afford the whole mortgage. I was particularly interested to find out from Stonewater how someone looking to move into their own home might find out about the options shared ownership would give them.”
Mark continued: “I am particularly proud of the work that the Conservatives have done in government to support home owners. I’ve met many Rugby residents who, thanks to initiatives such as Help to Buy, have been able to achieve their dream of owning their own home. Shared ownership through a housing association such as Stonewater is another great option that local people might wish to explore.”