Help to Own scheme gives key workers the chance to buy their property for £1

Help to Own tenants Timothy Perry and Aaron Parsons, Cllr Stephen Simkins (Wolverhampton Council), Andy Street, (Mayor) and Sam Miller (FDC)

Key workers and families have been given an opportunity to have a brand new house, which they can eventually buy for just £1.

Now, all 100 of the brand-new houses have been allocated in time for Christmas on The Marches development off Lakefield Road, close to Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital.

The Help to Own scheme in Wolverhampton is specifically designed for working families and in particular key workers struggling to save enough to buy a property.

With no deposit necessary, 3,958 inquiries were received as far afield as Devon, leading to 563 formal applications.

City of Wolverhampton Council leader, Cllr Ian Brookfield, added: “The success of the scheme is testament to our own well-established housing company, WV Living, who has worked closely with the Help to Own team to deliver these 100 stunning, new-build houses.

“Our key workers – like those just down the road from The Marches at New Cross Hospital – have been at the forefront of our long and taxing battle against Covid-19 and it is hugely satisfying to know we have produced a home ownership scheme with our partners that really does help them achieve their dream of homeownership.”

Help to Own provides long-term rent security for tenants and enables them to build up a Loyalty Premium as they make their monthly payments. This can then be taken as cash if they leave the scheme within 20 years or they can buy the home for just £1 on their 25th anniversary.

37% of the mixture of two, three and four-bedroom properties have been allocated to key workers including NHS staff and 69% have been allocated to families. The average age of successful applicants is 36.

28 applicants have already moved into their new home for Christmas and a further 21 will receive their keys at the end of January. All 100 will be occupied by the end of April.

Sam Miller, commercial director of new propositions at FDC, which developed the idea from inception, said: “We’re incredibly pleased to see that all one hundred homes have now been allocated to a family, couple or individual that applied since we launched back in April 2021.

“The scheme is offering a much-needed alternative for hardworking households looking for a different route to homeownership that doesn’t require them to save a deposit whilst battling ever-increasing house prices and skyrocketing rents.

“The response since launch has been very strong, and with high demand outside of Wolverhampton and across the West Midlands region, our vision is to roll the scheme out in different locations across the UK.”

The public/private partnership has seen the City of Wolverhampton Council put £5.7m into the scheme as part of its commitment to provide better homes for all in the city, while the WMCA has put £4.7m as part of its wider programme to increase the supply of affordable housing for local people across the region.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “Our innovative Help to Own scheme has been successful in helping people in Wolverhampton get onto the property ladder, and so as we move into 2022 we now need to get it rolled out right across the West Midlands to help give everyone the chance of homeownership.

“We are committed to ensuring that people get onto the property ladder here in the West Midlands, which is why alongside Help to Own we have also redefined what affordable means, as well as accelerating housebuilding plans so that the number of new homes built doubled in just eight years.”

Help to Own has been set up by the City of Wolverhampton Council, West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and fund management business Frontier Development Capital Ltd (FDC) through its NewCo My Generation Asset Management Limited.