An innovative scheme called ‘Open Market Shared Ownership’ was launched last year by Epping Forest District Council, in partnership with Broxbourne Housing Association (BHA) and the first successful applicants have just received the keys to their new home in Upshire Road, Waltham Abbey.
BHA purchased the property under the scheme, which was chosen by the applicants Jessica Beadle and Aidan Langley themselves and entered into a shared ownership arrangement with them. This has given Jessica and Aidan a 50% share in the home they chose and they pay a subsidised, affordable rent on the remaining 50% share of the property. Overall, the monthly cost of them part-owning their own home is almost a third less than if they had to obtain a mortgage to buy the whole property.
The scheme aims to give more local residents the opportunity to get a foot on the home ownership ladder – by offering an alternative to other types of shared ownership (sometimes referred to as ‘part buy, part rent’), at a lower cost. Under the scheme applicants have been able to select any 1 or 2 bedroom property available for sale on the open market in Essex, Hertfordshire, or Epping Forest’s neighbouring London boroughs. They can choose a property with a value up to £210,000.
“Shared ownership schemes are not new,” says Councillor Maggie McEwen, Housing Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council. “The difference with this scheme is that local people can buy a home of their choice on the open market, instead of purchasing a shared ownership home on a specific new development. The scheme is open to our Council tenants and applicants on our Housing Register who live in the district.”
To qualify for the scheme, applicants only need to have a total household income of between £25,000 and £60,000 per annum. Once they have purchased their 50% share in the property, the residents pay a rent to BHA for the remaining share owned by BHA – which is only around £190 per month. Another benefit is that less deposit is required to secure the required mortgage.
For example, a property bought for £180,000 would usually require a deposit of £18,000. However, under the scheme, only £9,000 is required. Also, instead of having to pay a mortgage of around £1,100 each month, applicants only have to pay around £800 each month for the combined mortgage and rent – a saving of around £300 each month! Further shares can be purchased in stages and eventually the resident can own their home outright.
Councillor Maggie McEwen said: “When we speak to applicants, their first question is usually ‘Where’s the catch?’ – but there isn’t one! The costs to applicants are much lower because the council provides an interest-free loan to BHA.”
Broxbourne Housing Association (BHA) is a not-for-profit organisation that manages 4,000 properties in the neighbouring Borough of Broxbourne, following a housing stock transfer from Broxbourne Borough Council. BHA manage the Open Market Shared Ownership (OMSO) Scheme.
“Broxbourne Housing Association is delighted to be working with Epping Forest District Council on this exciting new initiative. We have a strong track record of providing affordable home ownership services and look forward to a successful partnership providing much-needed affordable homes,” says John Giesen, Chief Executive of Broxbourne Housing Association.
More money is being made available for the Scheme by the council, to help even more local people wanting to have a home of their own at a lower cost and housing applicants registered on the council’s Housing Waiting List and council tenants are being invited to apply for the scheme. If you are interested, contact Cheryl Adams at BHA on 01992 453700.