Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced wider support for Co-Ownership housing.
The change sees an increase in the Co-Ownership property value limit from £175,000 to £190,000 to continue to support people into home ownership.
The property value limit is the cap on the value of a property that can be purchased through Co-Ownership, and applies to Co-Own, Rent to Own and Co-Own for Over 55s.
Minister Hargey said:
“I want to ensure people and families can access good quality, affordable housing. That is why my Department is increasing the Co-Ownership property value limit by £15,000 to £190,000.
“I have heard first-hand how energy bills and other price increases have created very challenging and uncertain economic times for many people, especially those from lower income households.
“Shared ownership can provide an alternative to the private rented sector. It is important that the option of shared ownership is open to as many people as possible. Today’s announcement will help more households own their own home, where affordability barriers are otherwise preventing them from doing so.”
Co-Ownership is the Department’s main delivery partner for affordable shared ownership housing, with 10,000 customers across Northern Ireland currently being supported.
Mark Graham, Chief Executive of Co-Ownership, said:
“Prices continue to rise across the local property market, so we are delighted with the Department for Communities decision to increase our Property Value Limit to £190,000. We welcome this agility as it helps us to continue to support as many people into home ownership as possible by keeping pace with and reacting to the current challenges presenting themselves to first time buyers.
“Crucially, this renewed property value limit remains ahead of the average house price in Northern Ireland so we’re confident that this change will have a positive impact on incoming applicants. We have helped over 30,000 people to date and year on year we are responsible for around 10 per cent of the first buyers’ market indicating the continued need for alternative routes to home ownership. As this announcement details, we remain committed to helping those who may not otherwise be able to afford a home of their own.”
The new limit will apply to applications submitted to Co-Ownership on or after 21 September 2022.
Further information about all of Co-Ownership’s products can be found here:
Notes to editors:
- Co-Ownership has been operated by the Co-Ownership Housing Association since 1978. Co-Ownership is a registered housing association and charity and is regulated by the Department.
- Currently £158 million of funding has been approved to Co-Ownership to support over 4,000 households into home ownership by 2024.
- The Rent to Own product allows prospective home owners to choose a new build house anywhere in Northern Ireland up to the property value limit. If the property is suitable, Co-Ownership will buy it and rent it to the prospective home owners for up to three years, with the owner able to purchase it any time after the end of the first year.
- £8 million of further funding has been provided to support Co-Own for over 55s, which opened for applications in June 2022, this product is based on a shared ownership model and is for people who want to move to a more suitable home that better meets their needs as they age, but can’t afford to do so on their own.
- NISRA’s Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin Q2 2022 reports that the average house price is now £169,063, an increase of 9.6% since Q2 2021.
- Co-ownership have reported that 93% of their purchases for 2021/22 were made by first time buyers.
- 46% of Co-Ownership customers for 2021/2022 came from the private rented sector.
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