Council and housing association partner to tackle empty homes

The joint-venture will transform the empty properties for affordable home ownership for first time buyers.

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An empty home refurbishment partnership that aims to transform empty properties for affordable home ownership for first time buyers has been approved.

Manchester City Council will provide £2m in recyclable grant funding to Mosscare St Vincent’s (MSV Housing Group) that could see up to 90 empty homes brought back into use for sale that will provide an alternative route on to the property ladder.

MSV Housing Group will acquire the properties, undertake the refurbishments and market them for sale to first time buyers or to residents on or below the city’s average household income, who want to become owner occupiers.

In line with council targets to become a zero-carbon city by 2038, the partnership will also review the option to fully retrofit the homes to be as close to zero carbon as possible.

However, this will “significantly increase” the cost of refurbishment and this option would see around 30 properties made available through the grant funding.

According to reports, the current housing market in Manchester shows there is a significant number of lower value properties in the city (more than 70% of all homes in the city are Council Tax A and B) but the only way to access many of them is through the traditional high street sales route.

This new partnership aims to help to improve the mix of affordable housing options available to residents to meet demand across a range of property types and tenures to meet demand.

The £2m grant is from the Council’s Affordable Homes Fund, which holds Section 106 developer contributions negotiated through the planning process.

Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration said: “The Council has been successful in recent years in bringing a huge swathe of empty public-sector housing back into use.

“However, private sector empty homes have long presented a challenge as there isn’t an obligation for the owner to do anything with them.

“This partnership will mean we can acquire the empty homes, bring them back into use and provide a real route on the housing ladder for first time buyers and people on lower incomes.

“Partnering with Moss Care St Vincent’s means we can start to deliver this type of home at scale, and helps us meet a key objective as part of our affordable homes strategy.”

“We are also keen to explore with Moss Care St Vincents how we can use some of the properties to trial low and zero carbon retrofit works, which would in itself realise further savings for homeowners in relation to fuel bills.”

Yvonne McDermott, Executive Director of Growth for MSV Housing Group added: “We are working hard with Manchester City Council to tackle the lack of affordable properties for homeownership and it’s only by trying out new ideas and innovative schemes such as this that we will bring much needed new supply to the market.”

“Our aim is to do more, now, to help Mancunians realise their dream of owning their own home”

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