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Bank to provide 100% mortgages in new affordable housing scheme (The Irish Times)

04 November 2011

One hundred per cent mortgages are to be provided in the North to certain first-time buyers qualifying for a new housing scheme. It is the first time in nearly a year of the “credit crunch” that a lender is offering such loans.

Stormont Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie will today unveil what her department claims is a new partnership approach to house buying which is unique in Britain or Ireland.

A pilot scheme for the “Own a Home” plan will be tested in Co Armagh under which a property developer and a housing association buys 50 per cent of a house with the prospective resident purchasing the remaining half.

Barclay’s Bank will provide 100 per cent loans for the purchase of this half. Such loans, covering the purchase price and not requiring a deposit, have been unavailable in the North since the new year.

A total of 127 homes will go on sale with prices starting at £145,000 (€178,900) which is well below average price levels.

The average cost of a home in the North stood at £230,908, according to figures last month. Detached homes averaged £354,527, semi-detached houses reached on average £210,908, while terraced properties cost on average £170,912 and apartments were £213,327. In north Co Armagh where the housing scheme is being tested, the average property price is £172,644.

Under the “Own a Home” scheme, buyers purchase 50 per cent of the house, Portadown-based developers Turkingtons will pay 25 per cent of the cost, and the remaining 25 per cent is provided by either of two housing associations, Clanmil Housing and the South Ulster Housing Association.

The homeowner has the option of buying a greater share in the property from the developer and the housing association at a later stage.

Alternatively they can resell their share on the open market.

Ms Ritchie, the SDLP’s sole Minister in the Executive, said the scheme was “good news for first-time buyers” in north Co Armagh “giving them a real opportunity to get on the housing ladder at this very difficult time”.

She said she wanted to increase the supply of affordable housing.