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'Buy now and make most of our low prices'

THE PROSPECT of another big rise in property prices has prompted a timely warning to first-time buyers on lower incomes from one of our shared ownership experts.

That message is "buy now and make the most of current low-cost opportunities to get onto the property ladder" with part-buy, part-rent deal prices that start from around £54,000* and deposits that can be just £2,700*.

The advice comes from Bromford Homes Head of Sales Alan Bradley in response to a widely-reported forecast that UK housing prices are to soar over the next four years as older people swap savings from pension funds to property. Their flow of funds − triggered by changes in last week's Budget − could see the price of the average UK home rise by 30% or £100,000, it's claimed, and, according to Alan, that's bound to have a knock-on effect for shared ownership prices too.

"The whole point of low-cost shared ownership is to make homebuying possible for people who can't afford open market prices but want a home that they can call their own. So as things stand, you could buy a typical 45% share of a two-bed shared ownership home at, say, Colliers Green (pictured below) near Nuneaton, for just £55,125** and a minimum deposit of just £2,757**," says Alan.

Colliers Green homes

"These prices are a fraction of what a similar open market home would cost but they are tied to that market and if those prices go up − as forecast − then shared ownership prices will have to go up too. Inevitably, that means some would-be buyers could struggle or even miss out altogether in three or four years time.

"We're not trying to put additional pressure on buyers. Far from it. We're just alerting them to the fact that if this forecast becomes a reality the home you could buy today could cost significantly more in a few years time."

His message to anyone who qualifies for shared ownership, has saved enough to cover our typical low deposit of around £3,000 and can afford the monthly payments is to think really seriously about buying now.

"You'll end up with an affordable home that you can call your own and pay less on average each month than you would if renting a similar home from a private landlord," says Alan.

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"Shared ownership is not only more affordable than private renting − it's also more secure. That's crucial for young families and other typical buyers who want to put down roots in a particular area − usually near their family and friends, their local school and where they work.

"They don't want to keep moving from house to house − often at fairly short notice − as many renters have to do because their landlord wants to up the rent or sell the property. Shared ownership can give you the peace of mind you don't get with renting. Of course, buying your own home is a big long-term investment and that's why we spend a lot of time going through personal finances with every customer and making sure they only buy what they can afford.

"So if you've been thinking about shared ownership or have just heard about it we encourage you to give us a call on 0845 60 10 878 or register your interest online and we'll explain how it works and how it could make your property dream come true − just as it has for more than 200 Bromford customers this year."

Larks Rise Coventry

* In the case of Coventry's Holmwood or Larks Rise (pictured above), £54,000 would buy a typical 45% share of a two-bed home with an open market value of £120,000. A minimum 5% deposit on that share would be just £2,700.

** £55,125 would buy a typical 45% share of a two-bed house with an open market value of £122,500 at Colliers Green, near Nuneaton. A minimum 5% deposit would be just £2,757.

24 March 2014