As Northern Ireland’s Co-Ownership Housing Association approaches 40-years, the organisation has announced that a remarkable 27,000 homes have now been purchased through the Shared Ownership Scheme.
The news comes on the back of Shared Ownership Month which took place this past September and follows recent annual report results which show that for the financial year 2016/17 first-time buyers made up 96% of Co-Ownership Housing home completions, a 2% increase on the previous year.
The landmark property, located in Rathfriland, was recently purchased by Lesa Maginn and Alan Gamble.
The young family attended a mortgage event in the town where they met with a Co-Ownership Housing advisor – the same advisor who guided the couple through the process from the initial open event through to final assessment and completion.
Annual report results show that, similar to Lesa and Alan, couples with children made up 26% of completions in 2016/17.
Lesa said: “Like many others, getting a mortgage by ourselves wasn’t an option for us. But we were determined to take our first step on to the property ladder to becoming homeowners.
“The team at Co-Ownership were fantastic at every stage of the application process and have supported us to realise our hopes of owning our own home.
“Our dream came true.
“Our advisor, along with the rest of the Co-Ownership Housing team alleviated any misconceptions we had of Co-Ownership and reassured us at every stage through their openness and professionalism.”
Alan said: “The only thing we would do differently is apply sooner. The process is straight-forward, we were supported greatly at every stage and that continues long after you join the scheme too.
“Co-Ownership afforded us the opportunity to own our family home and we can’t thank the team enough.”
Mark Graham, Chief Executive of Co-Ownership Housing, said: “We have seen significant year-on-year increases in applications to Co-Ownership Housing.
“Demand for Co-Ownership as a route to homeownership continues to increase as the struggle for many to raise funds to get a mortgage persists. Indeed, this is clear from our recent annual report showing that 96% of home purchases this year were first-time buyers.
“It has been a tremendous pleasure to support Lesa and Alan to purchase their own home, likewise with all Co-Ownership’s applicants who we have helped throughout our 40-year history.
“Co-Ownership Housing provides a viable, affordable route to homeownership and as we celebrate our 27,000th household completion, we look forward to the future to support many more in realising their potential of stepping on the property ladder in Northern Ireland.”
Co-Ownership Housing celebrates its 40th anniversary next year.
First launched in 1978, the organisation has supported 27,000 households to purchase their own home through the Shared Ownership Scheme.
At present, over 8,000 homes across Northern Ireland are currently Co-Ownership homes and the organisation plans to help 750 households into home ownership in the financial year 2017/18.
Case study – Lesa and Alan
Having been together for 19 years, Alan and Lesa, along with their two young boys, were private renting a three-bed property in Rathfriland for four years.
Paying £500 per month in private rent, Lesa and Alan decided to look in to the possibility of owning their own home.
However, house prices – both new-build developments and older properties – in their area were high.
Having discussed options for mortgaging with a local bank, the couple’s hopes and dreams of homeownership seemed all but lost when the mortgage advisor informed them that they would not be eligible for a mortgage, compounded by the couple’s lack of credit history.
Understanding their situation, the bank reached out to Alan and Lesa one month later to extend an invitation to a mortgage event that was due to take place in the local branch.
The event was attended by both local estate agents, mortgage advisors and Co-Ownership Housing – an organisation that the couple were not yet aware of.
During the event, the couple met with one of Co-Ownership Housing’s Advisors. The couple were educated on the organisation, its history, avenues to homeownership available, affordability and the staircasing model.
Provided with all the information they could possibly digest and leaving with a wealth of literature for further information and reference, Alan and Lesa began to look in to the possibility of becoming homeowners through the Shared Ownership Scheme.
Not ruling out any options to take their first step on to the property ladder, Alan and Lesa recruited the assistance of a local mortgage advisor, who was familiar with Co-Ownership Housing and promoted the Shared Ownership Scheme.
The advice given to the couple was to take some time to build a credit history to boost chances of being approved for a mortgage.
The couple began house-hunting, however for some time they were unable to find a suitable property that met the needs of a young, growing family.
After scouring property websites for a number of months, the couple finally found their ideal property – at home in Rathfriland with access to local amenities and all the features they envisaged their home having for their two young boys.
With the viewing completed, and after a little negotiation between the couple, estate agent and seller, Alan and Lesa’s offer for the property was accepted.
With the offer accepted on a Saturday, the couple hurried to their mortgage advisor who had informed the couple about Co-Ownership Housing the following Monday morning.
Backed by the mortgage advisor, the couple completed and submitted their application to the Shared Ownership Scheme that evening.
Following up on the receipt of their application, Alan and Lesa were connected with the same Co-Ownership Advisor who had provided them with information at the first mortgage event they attended.
Remembering the couple from the event, the Advisor continued to liaise with Alan and Lesa throughout the application process by phone and email – reassuring the couple about their application and providing ad-hoc support and advice.
After a short telephone interview with their Advisor the couple received an official offer from Co-Ownership Housing.
With an offer from Co-Ownership secured, the couple could secure a mortgage illustration from a local bank.
Pictured: Glynis Hobson, Director of Customer Services at Co-Ownership Housing (right) with Alan and Lesa.