Communities Minister announces further £13million to help first time buyers
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced a further £13m funding to Co-Ownership to provide assistance to first time buyers struggling to raise a deposit to purchase their own home.
The Minister is allocating this funding in response to an increase in demand for Co-Ownership’s shared ownership product.
Co-Ownership is seeing an increase in applications as many people who would have availed of a mortgage pre Covid-19 no longer can, mainly as a result of the mortgage lenders requiring substantially higher deposits and tightening their lending criteria.
This £13m in Financial Transaction Capital (FTC) is in addition to the £145m four year funding announced by former Minister Carál Ní Chuilín in November 2020.
Minister Deirdre Hargey said:
“I understand that recent moves by lenders to tighten lending criteria has left many more people in the position where they can no longer achieve their aspirations of owning their own home.
“In the circumstances I believe there is a compelling case for an urgent short term intervention to support first time buyers adversely impacted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This allocation of £13m will be channelled through Co-Ownership and will facilitate the purchase of an additional 422 homes to meet their increased demand and support even more people to realise their dreams of home ownership. It will also provide a significant boost to the housing market and give confidence to consumers, builders and the wider housing supply chain which should in turn stimulate the economy.”
Co-Ownership is the Department’s main delivery partner for affordable housing. It is a housing association that provides people with the opportunity to own their own home through its shared ownership product, Co-Own and Rent to Own.
Mark Graham, Chief Executive of Co-Ownership, advised:
“This announcement allows us to further support the housing market and help even more customers on their journey into home ownership.
“The knock-on effect of this investment will be felt throughout the local economy in the challenging months ahead and is a vote of confidence in a sector that has already demonstrated significant resilience.”
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Co-Ownership has been operated by the NI Co-Ownership Housing Association since 1978. Co-Ownership is the Department’s primary mechanism for the delivery of intermediate homes and have helped over 30,000 people into home ownership.