Navigating the Affordable Housing Market

In a study conducted by the HBF 78% of respondents agree there is a housing crisis in the UK even though 1.2 million new homes were built in the past five years. In Kent, the average house price dropped by £6.0k (-2%) in the past year but remains above the county average at £416,760 (£367,273 across the county).

In a world where finding the perfect home can seem like an overwhelming journey, the realm of affordable housing stands as a beacon of hope for first-time buyers, or those facing the housing market alone.

The concept of affordable housing encompasses a variety of options, including shared ownership, affordable rent, intermediate rent and social housing. The key to a successful journey lies in understanding the intricacies of this dynamic market and making informed decisions.

Understanding Affordable Housing

Affordable Rent & Social Housing: Balancing Comfort and Affordability

Similar to market rent, “Affordable Rent” properties provide individuals and families with the opportunity to live in high-quality homes at rents below the market rate. These accommodations are designed to offer a comfortable living experience while ensuring that monthly costs remain manageable. Exploring the intricacies of affordable rent options is essential for those seeking a balance between affordability and a desirable living space.

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At the heart of affordable housing lies social housing, a sector dedicated to providing secure and affordable homes for those in need. Often managed by housing associations, such as Town and Country, or local authorities, social housing plays a vital role in creating communities where individuals and families can thrive. Understanding the application processes and eligibility criteria is crucial for those considering this avenue.

Love Living homes is part of Town and Country, who work closely with local authorities across the south-east to house people on local housing registers. Rather than us allocating empty homes, people who want to move into one of our homes, or to transfer to another of our homes in the area, can ‘bid’ for the properties they are interested in through a Choice Based Letting (CBL) scheme.

The CBL for Kent is Kent Homechoice, while Sussex is covered by Homemove.

The first step to bidding through a CBL is to contact your local council and complete its Joint Housing Register form. Once they’ve sent you a user guide and welcome pack you can start to bid.

Intermediate Market Rent

Intermediate Market Rent (often referred to as IMR) is designed to help potential first-time buyers who cannot yet afford to buy a home but would like the chance to save for a deposit to purchase a home within the next three to five years.

IMR allows you to rent a brand new or refurbished home at less than the market rent. The rent you would pay is typically 20% lower than what you would expect to pay for a similar home in a similar area if you were renting from a private landlord.

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The IMR scheme is also a great option for people who are not ready to commit to buying a home, who are having difficulty getting a mortgage or who cannot save up a deposit to buy through our affordable home-ownership schemes.

Find out more and the eligibility criteria for IMR.

Shared Ownership: A Path to Partial Ownership

For many, the dream of homeownership often feels out of reach due to rising property prices. In 2021-22, an estimated 76% of Shared Ownership purchases were made by first time buyers. However, the fact it is just for first time buyers is a myth. If applicants match the eligibility criteria, it is open to anyone.

Shared Ownership allows buyers to purchase a share of a property, typically ranging from 10% to 75%, and pay rent on the remaining share. Over time, individuals have the option to increase their ownership stake through a process known as staircasing. DLUHC data shows that over the past 10 years 45,800 shared owners staircased to 100% ownership.

As average rents in the South East increases for new tenancies to £1,370 a month, Shared ownership, offers a practical solution. According to the NHF, in 2021/22 43% of shared ownership purchasers came from the private rental sector; 38% lived with family or friends; and 11% were owner occupiers.

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Navigating the Path to Homeownership, Financial Preparation: Budgeting for Success

Before embarking on the journey to homeownership, it’s essential to assess your financial readiness. Understanding your budget, exploring available grants or subsidies, and consulting with financial experts can pave the way for a successful purchase.

Love Living Homes specialises in Shared Ownership and has several developments with homes available for reservation. Once you have found your future home, you need to reach out to one of the financial advisors below who will assess your income and outgoings to make sure you can afford the payments for your new home purchase. The financial advisers will also let you know the share (%) of the home that you can afford to buy.

Mortgage Advice Bureau
The Mortgage People
Wagner Gibbs  

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