20 June 2013
The Housing Department is extending its deferred payment scheme to help more Islanders buy their own homes. The scheme, which was approved in 2007, has already made home ownership a reality for 54 families who would not have been able to afford to buy a home without assistance.
Now it will be extended from existing social housing tenants to those who qualify for assistance through the Affordable Housing Gateway.
The Housing Minister, Deputy Andrew Green said “Fundamentally it’s about being fair. The introduction of the Affordable Housing Gateway has meant we can now identify a wider pool of people in housing need and there is a clear and significant demand for families to buy an affordable home.”
The information provided by applicants in Band 5 (those wishing to buy with assistance) on the Gateway shows that they are not in a position to buy a home on the open market without assistance.
The Affordable Housing Gateway is the single point of access for all affordable housing in the Island. In order to pull together the information needed to consider new schemes, the Housing Minister is asking those interested in buying property through an assisted purchase scheme to apply through the Gateway.
The Strategic Housing Unit, responsible for the Affordable Housing Gateway, will be carrying out work on the Housing Strategy, which will introduce other affordable housing products. Until these are established, the existing deferred payment scheme offers a useful mechanism for qualifying applicants to buy.
The scheme, managed by the Housing Department, will still operate under the same guidelines as before; applicants will continue to be means tested in line with established policy and allocations will be prioritised to ensure that each home sold is put to the best possible use.
The review recommends:
- deferred payment sales will continue as a way of funding housing refurbishment and the new build programme
- homes can be sold to anyone (other than existing home owners) registered with the Affordable Housing Gateway, whether or not they are an existing social housing tenant
- a maximum 25% deferred payment will be made available on a means tested basis
- all sales continue to be approved by the Minister for Treasury & Resources
- all properties sold will remain within the Affordable Housing market by contracts which restrict onward sales
- income from the sales will continue to be used in refurbishing the stock or in developing new homes
The Department’s business plan shows that an average of 15 sales per year are needed if the development and refurbishment programme is to continue and funds advanced to the Department are to be repaid to the Treasury.
The Minister said “It is the aim of our Business Plan to develop or acquire a significant number of new social rented homes; therefore these sales can be offset. By targeting sales at a specific group of people who could not otherwise afford to buy, we are ensuring that we are not imposing unnecessary strains on the wider housing market and the demand for social rented homes in particular.
"The sale of properties under the scheme enables the Department to invest in more social rented housing”
Work has already started on 113 new social rented homes at Langtry Gardens, Le Squez phase 2c and Journeaux Court so far this year. Schemes for a further 58 homes will start shortly at Lesquende Phase 1 and on the former Le Coin site in Ann Street.
Proposed schemes at the former JCG site, the remaining phases of Le Squez and the scheme recently approved for the Ambulance HQ and Summerland sites will all contribute to new housing supply over time. They will also support the Island’s construction industry, secure jobs for Islanders and allow greater flexibility in the use of the existing stock.