What could you buy for a pound … a house?

If you missed our article ‘Reasons to be Optimistic about the Property Market’, published in March 2013 then read on.

For just £1, and four months of renovations later, Rebecca Dennis and Chris Benn have a property worth £60,000, so how did they do it?

The young couple from Stoke-on-Trent have purchased their two bedroom mid‑terrace home for just a £1 deposit.  Over the next ten years, Rebecca and Chris will repay the city council the £30,000 it has since invested in the property, when the couple will own the house.

The city council has taken the leap to help young first time buyers purchase their first home.  Rebecca and Chris secured a place on the council’s Home Ownership Scheme which is being used to revitalise rundown parts of the town.

To qualify for the scheme, residents must have a joint income of between £18,000 and £25,000 and live in the house for a minimum of five years, and one of the couple must be guaranteed employment of at least 16 hours a week.  Chris’s employment as an independent contractor made him ineligible, so full-time photography student, Rebecca, has taken on extra work in a supermarket, a teddy bear shop and as a photographer’s assistant to qualify.

“We really had to fight for it,” Rebecca said, “even though it meant me taking on my third job and upping my hours it was totally worth it.”

The average age of first time buyers is over 30, so the scheme has enabled the couple to put a foot on the ladder eight years earlier than most.

For those who would rather start with a new home, Stoke-on-Trent has become one of 30 local authority partnerships involved in the Starter Homes Scheme created to encourage use of brownfield sites around the country.  First time buyers aged between 23 and 40 can buy a new property for at least 20% below market value.  219 new homes will be completed as part of the scheme in Stoke-on-Trent.  The development is being supported by the Government’s Starter Homes Land Fund.

Councillor Randy Conteh, the council’s cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “It is fantastic news that we have been selected by the Government to spearhead this scheme, as it helps us to deliver our Stronger Together priority of investing in homes and driving up housing standards.

“The Starter Homes programme will help young people get onto the housing ladder and secure their dream homes sooner. It will also support the wider growth and regeneration of the city.”

For advice about property in Stoke-on-Trent, contact Property Surveyors here.