Buying an affordable home
Buying a home is a big commitment and one that many people feel is out of reach for them. In Shropshire, the growing gap between average salaries and average house prices can make it difficult to buy a home on the open market.
However, there are a number of ways to buy or part-own an affordable home, and Shropshire Council can provide more advice on how you might be able to do this. Do ensure you take appropriate financial and legal advice before buying any type of property, though.
Here are the six main affordable housing options to explore if you’re looking to buy a home:
Discounted Ownership allows you to buy 100% of a property, but with a substantial discount off the open market value.
These types of properties are usually sold by a Registered Provider – an independent housing organisation such as a Housing Association, Trust, Co-Operative or Charity. Shropshire Council works with a number of Registered Providers, including Connexus, Housing Plus Group, Shropshire Rural, STAR and Wrekin Housing Trust.
With the Discounted Ownership model, the buyer obtains a mortgage for the discounted price, but doesn’t pay rent on the remainder. It does mean, however, that you can’t purchase any shares in the property as it’s a ‘fixed equity’ home – so when you sell it, it will have to be at the same discount percentage at which you bought it.
Additionally, if you ever decide to sell it, you’ll need to notify the Registered Provider and your home must be sold to someone who is also unable to afford a home on the open market.
Shared Ownership is a great way into home ownership. If you can’t afford to buy a property outright, Shared Ownership allows you to part-buy and part-rent your home.
Under these schemes, you can choose to buy a 25%, 50% or 75% share in your home. You then pay rent on the share you don’t buy, and the rent is usually set at an affordable level of 2.75%.
The bigger share you own, the less rent you pay. Some Shared Ownership schemes even allow you to increase your ownership – this is known as ‘staircasing’.
Self Builds are another potentially affordable housing option. They refer to projects where a person directly organises the design and construction of their new home.
A Self Build generally covers either a DIY project, where the self-builder selects their chosen design and does much of the construction work themselves – or projects where the self-builder arranges for an architect and contractor to build the home for them.
Self Builds also include projects delivered by kit home companies, where the self-builder must find the plot, arrange the slab installation and arrange for the kit home company – such as a Huf Haus – to build the property for them.
Intermediate Housing refers to homes for sale and rent which are provided at a cost above Social Rent, but below market levels.
They could include Shared Equity (shared ownership and equity loans) or other low-cost homes for sale and intermediate rent.
ENTRY LEVEL HOUSING TO BUY
Entry-Level Housing to Buy refers to first-time or starter homes. Entry level housing can be found on many new property developments throughout the county.
KEY WORKER HOUSING TO BUY
If you’re a Public Sector employee who is considered to provide an essential service, you may be eligible for Key Worker Housing to Buy.
This term often refers to essential workers – such as nurses, teachers, police officers and social workers, to name just a few – who may find it difficult to buy a property in the area where they work.
You can find more information about Entry Level and Key Worker Housing to Buy on Shropshire Council’s website.