THE VOICE OF PROPERTY
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.