Social Housing: Ownplace - Affordable Housing for Merseyside
What is OwnPlace?
OwnPlace is a Riverside Group initiative involving the sale of empty properties for home ownership to local people.
Where are the properties?
Ownplace operates in a variety of areas. See our current listings for full details
What are the properties like?
The properties are mainly 2 and 3 bedroom terraced houses, some of which have been empty for some time. Some are in poor condition, but under the scheme Riverside will carry out structural repairs and some improvement works to bring all properties up to a standard which should allow buyers to secure a mortgage.
What will the properties be sold for?
The properties will be sold at market value (independently set), but buyers will receive a grant from Riverside equivalent to 25% of market value. In other words if a property has a market value of £80,000, then allowing for the grant, the buyer would pay £60,000.
What is the catch?
There is no catch. However Riverside will only sell homes to people intending to live in the properties themselves (owner occupiers), and only then on the condition that the property is not sub-let. In addition, the buyer will only be allowed to sell the property to another home owner, to stop the property being let by a private landlord.
Can the buyer keep the grant?
Yes, provided they live in the property for 5 years. If they sell the property before then they will have to pay some or all of the grant back (on a sliding scale of 20% per year) a bit like Council tenants have to with a ‘Right to Buy’ discount.
Why is Riverside doing this?
Where properties are empty, they do not help with the image of the neighbourhood. We believe that by selling some properties to home owners who are willing to stay in an area and invest in the homes, this will help stabilise the neighbourhood and make it more attractive to other people thinking of moving in. It will help shift the balance from rented accommodation to owner occupation.
Who can buy one of these properties?
OwnPlace is aimed at helping first time buyers onto the first rung of the housing ladder. We have developed a simple set of eligibility rules:
- Buyers must be 18 years or older
- They must either be renting a property or living with family or friends
- They must be able to show that they need help in buying a property because of limited income although….
- They must also be able to show that buying a home (with the benefit of a grant) and looking after it is something they can afford to do.
- They must be able to fund the purchase either through a mortgage or savings.
- Some existing home owners may also be eligible – for instance if they need to move because their home is being cleared, or they need to move because of a relationship breakdown.
Purchasers will be asked for personal and financial details so that we can check eligibility against a set of detailed criteria.
How do I apply?
The properties will be marketed through a local estate agent, Brennan Ayre O’Neill using the ‘OwnPlace’ brand. They will put up sign boards, advertise in newspapers and develop a website. People interested in buying will be asked to register an interest by completing an application form which will be considered in date order.
When will this happen?
Ownplace has been operating successfully since 2007 and won a UK Housing award in 2011.