The Herald Magazine - - etc - Bev­er­ley Brown

NORTH Ayr­shire Coun­cil is the first lo­cal author­ity to take ad­van­tage of the Home Own­er­ship Made Easy (HOME) ini­tia­tive which will see it cre­ate 33 new build prop­er­ties on the site of a for­mer school in Largs. Scot­tish Fu­tures Trust (SFT), an in­fra­struc­ture de­liv­ery com­pany owned by the Scot­tish Govern­ment, has de­vised this new, ground-break­ing ap­proach to home own­er­ship that aims to ben­e­fit young and old alike across Scot­land. The Largs prop­er­ties will be of­fered to young, first-time buy­ers for £5,000, while older peo­ple look­ing for a home to meet their chang­ing needs will pay £40,000.

SFT says HOME is a way of de­liv­er­ing af­ford­able hous­ing for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions and de­vel­op­ers that does not re­quire any sub­sidy and is fully self-fund­ing. First-time buy­ers pay £5,000, which gives them a stake in a house or a flat and all the rights that come with be­ing a home­owner, but with fewer re­spon­si­bil­i­ties; home­own­ers also pay an af­ford­able monthly oc­cu­pancy charge which in­cludes

a man­age­ment and main­te­nance pack­age. The £5,000 home is aimed at those who have some sav­ings but might be strug­gling to save enough for a full de­posit. It ef­fec­tively al­lows first time buy­ers to “test” home own­er­ship. When it comes to sell­ing, home­own­ers re­ceive their stake back, plus an equiv­a­lent stake in the uplift in the value.

Older owner oc­cu­piers who may wish to down­size can buy a home for £40,000 in a sim­i­lar way with an af­ford­able monthly oc­cu­pancy charge.

Christa Reekie, SFT’s com­mer­cial di­rec­tor, com­ments: “SFT’s hous­ing ex­perts worked along­side North Ayr­shire Coun­cil to de­velop this new hous­ing model for first time buy­ers and older peo­ple look­ing to down­size. As well as ben­e­fit­ting many in­di­vid­u­als, the new own­er­ship model in­tro­duces more homes that will be af­ford­able to buy. We are con­fi­dent more lo­cal au­thor­i­ties will quickly fol­low North Ayr­shire’s lead in this new ini­tia­tive, once they see the ben­e­fits.”

Could this be a real so­lu­tion to the na­tion’s hous­ing cri­sis at either end of the prop­erty spec­trum? I think it might.

SO­LU­TION: Buy­ers own a pro­por­tional stake which they re­deem when the prop­erty is sold on.

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