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Lewes CLT to provide 15 shared equity homes as Affordable Housing
Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:22

Lewes Community Land Trust, Santon and Lewes District Council have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Lewes Community Land Trust to deliver 15 shared equity homes on the North Street Quarter.

“This is an innovative opportunity to get a Lewes family started on the property ladder when house prices would otherwise be unaffordable,“ said Pru Rowntree, Chair of the Trust. “Owners will pay around 50% of the price to live in 100% of the house. When they sell, they get back their share of the sale price, the equity returns to the Trust and the house is recycled to the next families on the list.”

The project is for 2 and 3 bedroom houses within the affordable housing component of the development. “The homes will be available to young families who qualify for the Council housing register and whose incomes are not sufficient for them to buy at market prices locally.” continued Pru. “The families must be in ‘housing need’ to qualify for nomination to affordable housing units. Access to the properties will prioritise those with a genuine connection to Lewes town. “

Lewes Community Land Trust will retain up to half of the equity of the homes in perpetuity. The Trust will be able to buy back properties and roll the scheme over to new buyers when the original buyers want to move on. Buyers will purchase up to half the equity in their property.

“There will be an option for buyers to further reduce costs by fitting out the building themselves to save costs. This would also let them personalise their homes and build a sense of pride in the neighbourhood, “ said John Stockdale, the trustee project-managing the Scheme.

“A pricing formula will be agreed, but we can’t be sure of the details until planning permission has been given, we know what Government grants will be available and we have confirmed building costs.“

All of these houses will be built to a very high eco standard, saving fuel costs as well as the planet. The houses are designed to be extendable by building bedrooms within the attic spaces, as is typical of Lewes, so that 2 bedroom homes become 3 bedroom houses etc. They will, like the rest of the development, be built to "life-time" homes standards. So, these homes will be future proofed in that they can be expanded as the family enlarges and they can be adapted if occupants become disabled and as they age.

People with a strong Lewes connection will be prioritised in the housing allocation policy which will be agreed with LDC’s Housing Department. ‘Affordability’ in the context of this shared equity scheme will be defined by a formula relating the mortgage a family on the median income in the District can afford to raise to the percentage of the equity they acquire in the property – and this will apply in perpetuity.

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