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HomeBuy hope for Generation Rent

HOMEBUY shared ownership offers an affordable way up for Generation Rent − people who, according to a national newspaper report, are blocked from taking their first step on to the property ladder.

The message of hope comes from Bev Hall, Sales and Marketing Director at Bromford Homes, in response to yesterday's Observer story highlighting the plight of this "army of renters" and asking what can be done to help them.

The number of households renting in the private sector has more than doubled since the 1990s, says the report, because of a tight squeeze on mortgage lending and incomes. Most renters would like to buy but are "locked out" because they can't afford to save the tens of thousands of pounds needed for a deposit.

"Generation Rent is a real issue and The Observer has done a timely job of explaining why many people who would once have been able to buy a home are now renting in the private sector and feel they are trapped there," says Bev.

"This reflects what homebuyers have been telling us for a few years and the answer, for many hundreds of them, has been HomeBuy shared ownership.

Affordable alternative

"This is an affordable alternative to buying a home outright and makes home ownership possible for the many first-time buyers − especially those who can't tap into the Bank of Mum and Dad."

Bev points to a series of Bromford Homes case studies, where HomeBuy's part buy-part rent deal has made the property ownership dream come true for people who were previously renting in the private sector.

"Renting in the private sector can make sense for certain reasons," says Bev, "but people tell us time and time again that they prefer to own their home and that the sense of security that comes with it is really important.

"The Observer report is spot-on here. As things stand, private landlords can raise the rent at any time and evict people with just two months notice. This means huge upheaval for families − especially those with children − and, of course, it could happen again."

Osborns case study

Bev cites the  Osborn family's experience as a typical shared ownership success story. Mum Sharon and dad Richard, pictured above, struggled to find a home they could afford. Then they found out about shared ownership and bought a 55 per cent share of their new Bromford home at East Park, Wolverhampton.

"It was like all our Christmases coming at once," says Sharon.

"We were living in private rented accommodation, not far away in Willenhall, and decided that we really wanted the security of owning our own home. The big thing was the size of the deposit. Like a lot of people these days, we struggle to save and the lenders don't offer 100 per cent mortgages like they used to.

"With shared ownership − and we ended up buying a 55 per cent share − we only had to find around £3,500 in deposit. If we were buying outright, the deposit would have been twice as much and we would have been really stretching on the mortgage payments.

"We've ended up getting a better home than we dreamed of and we've got it for around half the price. Plus our monthly rent, of course. It's a great way of getting on to the property ladder."

Property-owning dreams

Sharon and Richard both say they would recommend shared ownership to other would-be buyers who feel trapped in the rented sector. So would cousins Jo Doody and Ellie Buttery, pictured below, who've bought Bromford shared ownership homes with their partners in the same street at The Farthings, Ketley, Telford.

Farthings Friend

Both couples were living in rented homes before and wanted to realise their property-owning dreams but struggled with the high deposits and home loans needed for traditional outright purchase. They found the ideal solution with shared ownership, which means buying between 25% and 75% of a new home and paying low rent on the remaining share.

"Shared ownership was the only way we were able to get on the property ladder," says sales and marketing co-ordinator Jo. "I would recommend it − and Bromford − every time to anyone who, like us, struggles to become a first-time buyer."

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10 December 2012