An innovative alternative to right to buy

In 2012, Mid Wales Housing Association (MWHA) was told by 43% of their tenants that they would like to buy a proportion of their home. Of those, 17% felt they had the ability to do so.

In response to this feedback, the association approached Altair to help them develop a new shared ownership scheme that would allow them to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To respond to feedback from existing tenants and find a way for them to achieve their aim of owning a proportion of their own home.
  2. To raise capital to support the development of new affordable homes.
  3. Continue to “make quality homes affordable to more people”.

Currently in a period of consultation which runs until the end of June, the proposed scheme would see them offering existing rented tenants (with a good tenancy record for a number of years), a stepping stone into home ownership.

MWH Stairs GraphicThe real appeal to tenants, and the most innovative part of the scheme, is that there will be a ‘buy back safety net’, whereby tenants can step back down the ownership tiers if they face financial problems, without their property being at risk.

Benefits to MWHA include the generation of capital receipts, allowing outstanding loans to be cleared on properties coming into shared ownership and delivery of surpluses to develop new homes for local people.

Though not yet finished, MWHA have received overwhelming support from tenants responding to the consultation so far, with one saying; “Everyone deserves something to aspire to or look forward to”.

This type of scheme has the potential to help housing associations across the UK fulfil the aspirations of right to buy, while retaining existing social housing homes and helping develop thousands of new homes.

Shane Perkins, chief executive of Mid-Wales Housing Association, explains: ”We are excited to have a model which has the potential to enable us to build more homes for people at affordable rents, and at the same time allows our tenants to realise their aspiration to own their home.”

Estimates highlight that if the capital was match funded by Welsh government grant and adopted across Wales, with 15% of tenants taking up an average share of 25%, it could see between 1,000 and 4,000 new homes being built.

Replicating that across the rest of the UK could see a significant addition to the number of affordable homes built, without having to sell other existing socially rented homes – constituting a genuine alternative to the extended right to buy.

More information about the proposals and consultation can be found on the Mid Wales Housing Association website – www.mid-walesha.co.uk/english/shared-ownership.

To find out more about this and similar projects, please contact: Judy Wayne, Director on 07880 606067 / judy.wayne@nullaltairltd.co.uk or Jim Lashmar on 07968 616 550 / jim.lashmar@nullaltairltd.co.uk.

At Mid Wales Housing Association, please contact: Shane Perkins, Chief Executive on 0300 111 3030 / sperkins@nullmid-walesha.co.uk or Charles Brotherton, Director of Finance on 0300 111 3030 / cbrotherton@nullmid-walesha.co.uk.