Hundreds vying for Help to Own homes under scheme in Wolverhampton

Hundreds of residents desperate to get on the property ladder have bid to land one of just 100 homes under a Wolverhampton initiative.

One of the houses in The Marches, Wednesfield. Photo: Wolverhampton Council
One of the houses in The Marches, Wednesfield. Photo: Wolverhampton Council

Wolverhampton Council cabinet members heard 352 people have applied for one of the homes being built on The Marches in Wednesfield under Help to Own.

The Help to Own Initiative allows residents to rent one of the properties for 25 years before being able to purchase it for just £1.

It was set up in April with a total of more than £10 million funding being provided by both the council and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Councillor Bhupinder Ghakal, cabinet member for city assets and housing, said the first tenants are set to move in this month.

To date, 70 of the applications have been checked and approved – 50 per cent of them are from key workers in Wolverhampton and 61 per cent are from the city.

Councillor Ghakal said: “Help to Own is an innovative approach to finding a way for our residents to get on to the housing ladder.

“It creates an affordable housing product that helps address the issue that many potential buyers who are in work – often critical roles for our city such as keyworkers in our hospitals – but still have challenges in raising the deposit to secure a mortgage.

“It provides a rental solution to local residents that gives long term security and benefits of home ownership without the risks and complete flexibility to leave whenever the tenant wishes.

“Essentially, the customer pays a market rent for 25 years and is able to purchase it for £1 at the end of that period.

“The council agreed to make an equity investment of £5.7 million alongside West Midlands Combined Authority investment of £4.78 million.

“The launch has gone very well. There has been a strong performance with 352 applicants for the 100 houses. Of these, 70 have been approved.

“The first 23 houses are expected to be delivered and occupied in September. There will be a number of further windows for applicants.”

Council leader Ian Brookfield added: “I’d like to thank the mayor for his 100 per cent support for this scheme. We see the value of this – 352 applications so far, 23 about to move in. I’m hoping we will do more.”

After the meeting, Wolverhampton Conservative group leader Wendy Thompson said: “The Conservative Group welcomes the council working with the West Midlands Mayor Andy Street in bringing forward a re-imagining of the popular Right To Buy scheme.

“Just as the original scheme empowered a generation of renters to realise their dream of home ownership, this will do just the same.”

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