A leg up onto the housing ladder for local people

A new scheme has been launched to give a grant to local people to help them with a deposit for a partial ownership home.

Tuesday 5th April 2022 6:00 am
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SHDC leader Cllr Judy Pearce ()

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The launch of a new scheme to help would-be buyers step onto the shared ownership property ladder is welcome news in South Hams, where the district is revealed as having the biggest affordability gap.

Step On - The innovative new pilot scheme, announced earlier this year, to help local people get a foot on the housing ladder is now live.

The scheme, designed to provide a deposit for people to buy a stake in a shared ownership property and relieve the pressure on rental properties, is now open for applications.

The Step On scheme enables anyone who is currently renting a social housing property to apply for a grant of up to £5,000 to help them with a deposit to purchase a shared ownership home.

Cllr Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council said: “We received news from the Office of National Statistics last week, that the biggest affordability gap in Devon is in the South Hams, this demonstrates why schemes like this are so vitally important to our residents.

“We have known for many years that South Hams had a very high rate of second home ownership and that house prices were being pushed beyond the reach of many local people. We can now see that property prices have increased at around double the rate of income over the last 20 years.

“Add to this the shortage of rental property, and it is clear why local people are struggling to live and work here in South Hams.

“We hope that this scheme will bring home ownership into the reach of more people and make their aspirations a reality. It is really difficult to save for a deposit while you are managing a home particularly with the increases in the cost of living.

“This in turn, frees up their old home to help someone in housing need on the housing register, helping us to help even more people.”

The new pilot Step On scheme is part of the response to address the housing crisis, which the Council declared in September 2021. They have identified 12 action points as key to tackling the problem which sees more local people and families facing homelessness or having to leave the district. The scheme launched earlier this week, at the same time as a number of national changes to make shared ownership more affordable for more people. From April 1, the new Homes England shared ownership funding scheme will allow buyers to start purchasing shares from 10% (currently 25-30%). There will also be a change to responsibility for repairs and maintenance of the home. You can find out more by visiting www.southhams.gov.uk/step-on

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