Tips On Affordable Home Ownership
Buying a home could be the next step for 890 people who attended the council’s annual affordable housing information event recently.
Twelve exhibitors, including housing associations, legal firms and financial advisors were present to offer advice to local people looking to buy their first home. New shared ownership developments displayed included Viridian’s Riverside Quarter scheme, in Putney, and Battersea Reach, by Wandle housing association.
The Open the Door event was held on 26 October in the town hall’s civic suite, and was organised by the council’s home ownership team, which manages a list of eligible buyers who live or work in Wandsworth with a maximum total household income of £90,000.
Wandsworth is one of the few councils in London which ensures residents get first refusal on new shared ownership properties built in the borough. Through prioritising in this way, last year 96 per cent of shared ownership homes were bought by people living or working in Wandsworth.
Sam and Cat are privately renting in Balham but would like to own their own home. They came to learn about shared ownership. Sam said: “We’d heard about shared ownership, but didn’t know much about it. After speaking with the home ownership team today we are clued up. It sounds like the perfect solution for us as we can’t afford to buy outright, but don’t want to move out of the London.”
Cat said: “We also spoke to several housing associations who have given us information about upcoming developments. We’re going to put our names on the council’s home ownership register straight away so we can then begin to contact housing associations about viewing properties.”
The council also ensures that shared ownership homes are offered to households on incomes well below the Mayor of London’s maximum eligible limit of £90,000. Wandsworth sets maximum incomes levels of £46-62,000 for half of all shared ownership homes, ensuring lower earners can also get on the ladder.
Council tenants found out about other schemes specifically aimed at them, such as Right to Buy; house purchase grants; and housing moves to smaller or sheltered accommodation.
James, who has lived in his council house for 10 years, came to the affordable housing open day to find out about his options. He said: “I want to buy a home, but I don’t want to buy my current council property. Having looked at property prices I thought I would never be able to afford the deposit on a home of my own. I spoke to the home ownership team today who told me about the house purchase grant which I can use as a deposit for a property on the open market. I can’t wait to start looking for properties.”
Rose, who lives with her sister in a council property in Wandsworth, came to the affordable housing open day to find out more about Right to Buy. She said: “I’ve been considering buying my council property for a while now. My sister lives with me, so we wanted to know if we could buy the property together. The home ownership officers were extremely helpful. They told me that as she has lived with me for over 12 months we could apply to buy together. I am going to go home now and complete the forms! I can’t wait till we can call our home our own.”
Cllr Paul Ellis, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Our annual affordable housing open days provide advice to hundreds of local people every year, and is one of several ways we help Wandsworth residents onto the housing ladder. We’ve also been building new council housing for years, with 250 homes built so far and another 300 on the way.”
House purchase grant
The house purchase grant can be up to £80,000 to help eligible Wandsworth council tenants buy a home in the private sector. This could be a significant deposit towards a new home.
Tenants will need to have a minimum of two years tenancy, have a clear rent account and be willing to vacate their council property. The grant can be used in several ways:
• Towards buying a home anywhere in the UK or abroad
• Towards buying a shared ownership home in the UK
• Towards extending a family member’s home in the UK (for example, an extension or loft conversion)
The amount of grant you could receive depends on the number of bedrooms in your council property and the length of your tenancy. Three years tenancy could qualify you for the full grant, but tenants with only two years tenancy will receive a reduced grant amount. We will carry out a financial assessment to work out the exact amount of grant you could receive. For example, those living in a two bedroom property with over three years tenancy could receive the maximum grant of £80,000.
During 2016/17, £3 million was budgeted for house purchase grants to council tenants through the House Purchase Grant. Funding will begin again in April 2017.
Right to Buy
Right to Buy allows Wandsworth council tenants to buy their council property at a fraction of the market price.
Shared Ownership helps those living or working in Wandsworth to buy an affordable percentage of a property and pay rent on the rest.
If a home costs £400,000 you could buy a 25 per cent share for £100,000. You could use a 10 per cent deposit (£10,000) and a 90 per cent mortgage (£90,000).
You would also need to pay legal fees and moving costs of around £8,000; a monthly rent, service charge, and mortgage repayments of approximately £1,200.
Eligible council tenants can use the house purchase grant towards buying a shared ownership property and will get priority on shared ownership developments in the borough.
Article bu Wandsworth.gov.uk