A scheme which helps people in Rhondda Cynon Taf get onto the property ladder has been hailed a huge success.
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council has been running its Homestep initiative since 2007 to give people a helping hand into home ownership.
The council works with big name house builders like Persimmon Homes East Wales to deliver the scheme.
A council spokesperson said: “The average household income in RCT is £23,000. Typically, 55 to 60 per cent of first time buyers are priced out of the market to buy an entry level property – and the situation is even more acute in the south of the County Borough.
“We secure Homestep properties through planning obligations and they are delivered in partnership with private developers like Persimmon Homes.
“Eligible applicants can purchase a home and receive a discount on the open market value of the property.
“This can be a massive help for people who would not otherwise be able to afford to buy their own home.”
The discount received varies between each development – but at Persimmon Homes’ Dyffryn Glas scheme in Pontypridd and Chapel Gate in Church Village, it was 30 per cent.
If the homeowner wishes to resell the property in the future or purchase the 30 per cent outright, the remaining percentage is recycled to ensure continuation of the scheme.
Ten two-bedroom ‘Morden’ style properties were available for sale through Homestep at Dyffryn Glas. The full market value was normally from £120,000 but the 70 per cent Homestep price was from £84,000.
All 10 have sold successfully through Homestep.
Three three-bedroom ‘Conway’ style properties were recently allocated to qualified applicants at Chapel Gate and were snapped up within weeks. The full market value is normally from £150,000, but the 70 per cent Homestep price was from £105,000.
Four more units are due to come forward through Homestep at Chapel Gate by September this year. Three were allocated within a week, although one two-bedroom ‘Cleddau’ house is still currently available (70 per cent Homestep Price of £91,000).
With the scheme’s popularity ever growing, it is unlikely to be available for much longer, although 16 more Homestep properties are still due to come forward on Chapel Gate throughout 2017.
Victoria Williams, head of sales at Persimmon Homes East Wales, said: “The Homestep scheme has been very successful and we’re delighted to be involved with it.
“It has helped many families make that first step onto the property ladder, and that can only be a good thing.
“I’m sure the remaining properties at Chapel Gate will be snapped up quickly as well.”
The council spokesperson added: “It would not be possible to operate this scheme without working in partnership with developers like Persimmon Homes and developing good working relationships with sales staff, who play an important role in helping to promote the scheme.”
To be eligible to apply for Homestep, applicants must be over 18, hold a UK passport or have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
They must be able to raise a mortgage with a suitable mortgage lender, have access to enough savings to cover the costs of buying a home, be unable to purchase a similar property on the open market and not be an existing home owner.
Any interested buyers can keep up to date with new properties coming forward by joining the Homestep Contact list at: www.homefinderrct.org.uk/content/Homestep