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Fortuna sales hit milestone mark

BROMFORD shared ownership homes are helping dozens of first-time buyers to get their feet on the property ladder in the Capital of the Cotswolds.

Part rent-part buy sales have hit the milestone 50 mark at Fortuna, Cirencester, where Bromford Homes is working in partnership with the Homes and Communities Agency to help meet local need for affordable housing.

Their HomeBuy shared ownership scheme has proved a huge success with a growing number of would-be homebuyers who find they can get a new house for a fraction of what they would pay for an almost identical property.

Bromford Homes Sales Consultant Stacey Foster is proud to have signed up so many buyers − and to have made such a big dent in the pent-up demand for high-quality affordable housing in this sought-after part of Gloucestershire, where property prices are high and average incomes relatively low.

"There is a great need here for high-quality affordable housing and we have to say that Fortuna meets that need in real style," said Stacey, who has been handing over keys to a steady stream of delighted buyers since the first homes took shape a short distance from the centre of Cirencester in 2011.

"This is a particularly attractive development with a mixture of Cotswold-style houses and apartments, many of them featuring the lovely golden Cotswold stone that this area is so famous for.

"Our HomeBuy shared ownership offer has proved just as pleasing − especially with first-time buyers who really struggle to get that first foot on the property ladder in an area like Cirencester.

"It really is a great deal for people who can't afford to buy a home on the open market − so great that you can actually get one of these high-quality houses for a fraction of what you would pay for an almost identical property on the open market."

Affordability gap

Bromford Homes Sales and Marketing Director Bev Hall agrees − and points to a recent National Housing Federation (NHF) research report that highlights a massive 70%-plus growth in the affordability gap for Cotswold homebuyers.

According to the NHF, Cotswold average house prices have soared by 82% − from £183,924 to £334,715 − over the past ten years while average wages have only gone up by a measly 5%. This means the gap between house prices and wages jumped by 73% between 2001 and 2011.

Bev said: "The figures quoted by the NHF speak for themselves, and one of the most telling numbers is the deposit that first-time buyers in the Cotswolds have to come up with for a typical 75% mortgage on a typical home − a whacking £83,679. And that's just for the deposit!

"That's why we believe HomeBuy* shared ownership has such an important role to play. Shared ownership remains a really affordable alternative for first-time buyers. Rather than buy a property outright, it allows people to buy anything from 25% to 75% of a new home and get that all-important foot on the property ladder without having to find a really huge deposit.

"In the case of Fortuna, you can buy a 25% share of a three-bed house for as little as £57,500 and your deposit would be as little as £2,875*.

"It's no wonder then that shared ownership has made the difference for many first-time buyers in the Cotwold area − and continues to offer an affordable solution at a time when the gap between incomes and house prices is high and getting a mortgage is that much harder."

NHF research

It was in August that NHF research highlighted the growing affordability gap for homebuyers in Gloucestershire, with Cotswold one of the worst-hit areas. In 2001 the average price of a home in the Cotwolds was £183,924, said the NHF, and the average deposit for a typical 90% mortgage was £12,708.

In the space of ten years the price of an average home rocketed to £334,715 − an increase of 82% − whereas a typical 75% mortgage leapt to £83,679. Wages rose just five per cent to £19,604 over the same period.

Bromford Homes' Fortuna showhome − off the roundabout where the A429 meets the Bristol Road and the A419 in Cirencester − is open from Thursday to Monday 10am to 5pm. To find out more call 01285 640837.

* The minimum £57,500 price is based on a customer buying 25 per cent of a three-bed house costing £230,000. The deposit, based on a customer borrowing 95 per cent, would be £2,875.

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26 September 2012