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Co-Ownership secures £165 million to provide 2,800 new homes across north

It is hoped the co-ownership funding announced will help 4,000 people get on the property ladder. Picture by Rui Vieira/PA Wire

THOUSANDS of would-be homeowners will be given a foot up the property ladder after Co-Ownership Northern Ireland announced it has secured £165 million to invest in 2,800 new homes.

The shared housing scheme, which helps people buy their own home, said £65 million had been raised through private finance from the Bank of Ireland, complementing existing funds of £100m in financial transactions capital (FTC) from the Department for Communities.

In combination, it is one of the largest finance deals in Northern Ireland and represents a real investment in people and the local economy, according to Co-Ownership's chief executive, Mark Graham.

It will help up to 4,000 people secure a foothold on the property ladder, while supporting the creation of new jobs in the construction sector over the next four years.

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Announcing the investment, Mr Graham said Co-Ownership was a brand "trusted by customers and mortgage providers alike".

"To date, we have helped over 26,000 households onto the property ladder and we know the difference the scheme is making in people's lives," he added.

"This funding allows us to continue to support lower income households, particularly first-time buyers, to realise their aspirations of owning their own home."

The scheme is aimed at first-time buyers and others returning to the market who could not afford to buy a home via conventional mortgage methods.

Home buyers choose their property up to a value of £150,000 and then buy a 'starter' share in its value - between 50 per cent to 90 per cent of the purchase price.

Rent is paid on the remaining share - significantly less than would be paid on the open market - with purchasers given the opportunity to increase their share at any time through a process known as 'staircasing'.

Praising the ideals of the scheme, Ian Sheppard, regional director NI, Bank of Ireland, said Co-Ownership Housing was an important means of helping people in Northern Ireland "realise their ambitions into home ownership"

He said: "We are delighted to continue the long-standing relationship Bank of Ireland has with Co-Ownership Housing and this transaction underpins our ongoing commitment to the local housing market."

The funding announcement was also welcomed by the Minister for Communities, Paul Givan, who described it as a real "boost" to the local economy.

"This funding complements the £100 million in financial transactions capital funding already provided to Co-Ownership Housing by the Executive and will allow us to assist almost 4,000 families and individuals to achieve the dream of owning their own home," he said.

"It will also provide a boost to the local economy by supporting the construction industry to build much needed new and affordable homes."

The houses will be available across Northern Ireland and will be a mix of new-build and properties for resale.

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