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Part-buy hope as Lichfield prices outstrip pay

SHARED ownership offers first-time buyers one of the few affordable ways to get onto Lichfield's high-price property ladder.

That's the message of encouragement from Bromford Homes after the publication of new research* that highlights the Staffordshire cathedral city as one of the top 20 least affordable places to buy property in the UK.

Lichfield is also one of only three places outside of the South that features in the table of 20 LEAST affordable cities − together with Leicester and York − and the only place in the West Midlands. Birmingham, Hereford and Stoke On Trent all feature in the Lloyds table of 20 MOST affordable cities.

Publication of the tables, which reveals that houses in the least affordable cities sell for as much as 11 times the average local salary, prompted this reaction from Bromford Homes Head of Sales Alan Bradley. "These statistics make grim reading for anyone who wants to get onto the property ladder in a sought-after place like Lichfield," he says.

Lichfield cityview
"According to this survey, house prices here cost more than six times the average local wage and that almost certainly means that, for many first-time buyers, the property dream is out of their reach. For them and many would-be homebuyers on lower incomes their only hope is shared ownership. Instead of buying outright, you buy a share of your new home − 45% is fairly typical − and pay low rent on the remaining share.

"This makes the initial purchase price − and, most importantly, the deposit − that first-time buyers have to pay much more affordable. So is your typical monthly cost − lower, on average, than it costs to rent a similar home from a private landlord. These lower costs make all the difference and we've got more than 200 shared ownership buyers across central England this year to testify to the fact."
Alan points to an example like Greyfriars House (pictured below), a short walk from Lichfield's bustling city centre, where a 45% share of a two-bed apartment costs just £60,750 and the deposit could be just £3,038 with a 95% mortgage. The actual amount you buy depends on your financial circumstances but 45% is fairly typical and the maximum share is 75%.

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"Shared ownership really does offer hope for buyers who would otherwise be priced out of the market in a desirable place like Lichfield, where property values are relatively high and average wages relatively low. Our low purchase prices and low deposits make all the difference − especially at a time like this when house prices-to-earnings ratios are already high and average property prices are rising fast."

To find out more about Greyfriars House and shared ownership call 0845 60 10 878 or register for updates. You can also keep in touch by following us on Twitter or Facebook.

* Source: Lloyds Bank. House prices from Halifax price index, earnings data from ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. To see both top 20 tables in full, go to Lloyds or this online news report.

11 March 2014