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Co-Ownership announces new £8m housing initiative for over 55s

Pictured, from left to right, are Co-Ownership representatives David Little, Mark Graham, Nicola McTier and Charlie O'Neill

Co-Ownership has announced a new affordable housing initiative for people aged over 55 who want to move to a more suitable home that better meets their needs.

The initiative is supported by Department for Communities which is providing £8m funding to Co-Ownership to pilot the new shared ownership product.

Co-Ownership is the department’s main delivery partner for affordable shared ownership and already provides people with the opportunity to own their own home through its Co-Own and Rent to Own products.

Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “It is vitally important that we promote access to affordable, good quality housing that supports people’s wellbeing in later life.

“I am therefore delighted to announce a funding allocation of £8 million to Co- Ownership to pilot a new affordable housing product, which will provide people with the opportunity to purchase homes which are more manageable and suitable as they age.”

Co-Own for Over 55s is based on the existing shared ownership model, and is for people who want to move to a more suitable home that better meets their needs, but can’t afford to do so on their own.

The minister continued: “This new product will assist our ageing population to find accommodation suitable to their needs, enabling them to live as independently as possible for as long as possible, while at the same time, ensuring housing stock that is no longer suitable to the needs of an older person can be utilised by other families.”

Mark Graham, chief executive of Co- Ownership, said: “We’re grateful to the department for its support of our new product tailored specifically for people over 55.

“This new product bridges the gap between the value of someone’s current home or savings and the cost of a new home.

“This option gives people the opportunity to move to a more suitable home, or indeed become a homeowner if they been unable to buy a home in the past.”

Expressions of interest are now open. The initiative is expected to be available within the market from June 2022.

In the same way as Co-ownership’s main product, Co-Own, works, successful applicants will pay a small rent on the share of the home that Co-Ownership owns, and use the equity from the sale of their current home or their savings to fund their share.

Over 55s customers can choose a suitable new build or existing home anywhere in Northern Ireland up to a maximum value of £175,000.

Mark continued: “There are many reasons why people over 55 may want to move - to be nearer friends and family, lower energy bills or less maintenance. As we get older, we can find that our home is no longer suitable for our needs or can’t support mobility issues.

“By living in a comfortable and suitable home, we’re supporting people to enjoy a more active and healthier lifestyle and helping remove the risk of their home environment becoming a worry or cause of anxiety to them.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the new Co-Own for Over 55s product should visit www.co-ownership.org.

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