Rise in shared ownership bids

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APPLICATIONS to buy homes in South Yorkshire through the Government’s shared ownership scheme have doubled as people continue to be priced out of the housing market.

Plumlife, the local provider for the Homes and Community’s Agency’s HomeBuy shared ownership scheme, says applications for January to March 2011 were 100 per cent higher than the same period last year.

The price of buying a property outright is eight times the average annual salary in the county.

The last quarter saw more than 120 applications for shared ownership in South Yorkshire, 71 per cent of which were from first-time buyers.

Matthew Harrison, of Plumlife, said: “There are too many people left out in the cold by our dysfunctional housing market.

“They don’t qualify for scarce social rented housing, but they can’t afford to buy on the open market or to pay high private sector rents. Shared ownership offers high quality housing at affordable prices.”

One of the largest housing developments in the county where shared ownership properties are available is the Rise S12 scheme, on the former Scowerdons, Weaklands and Newstead estates, in Birley and Hackenthorpe.

Sheffield South East Labour MP Clive Betts, who represents the area, said: “The huge increase in shared ownership applications shows that people are looking for options to get on the property ladder that are cheaper and more affordable.

“The speed of Government cuts have left the whole economy stalling and, it is making people think carefully about major purchases.

“The shared ownership scheme allows people to buy a house with reduced risk - they don’t want to take on a large mortgage when there is uncertainty about what will happen to interest rates.”

Plumlife has revealed that more than 100 people have visited the show home at the Rise S12 development in the first month since it opened - resulting in 35 applications for shared ownership.