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Housing fair opens the door to affordability

Young people accompanied by their parents, families and many others picked up lots of valuable information about shared ownership - a more affordable way of getting on the housing ladder - at East Herts Council's first housing fair.

The term shared ownership doesn't mean buyers have to share the property with anyone else. It means that people only need to raise a mortgage for around 40% of the property's value, bringing home ownership within reach of those who can't get a full mortgage. They then pay a charge covering the remaining amount. Owners can buy increasing shares right up to 100% later if they wish.

Housing associations including Network Homes, Clarion, English Rural Housing, Sage, Origin Housing and Hightown were kept busy at Wodson Park in Ware on last Saturday (2) advising around 120 visitors about the options in Bishop's Stortford, Hertford, Puckeridge, Widford and Buntingford. Two financial advisors were also on hand offering free advice.

Attendee Megan said: "It's been very useful to get an idea of what's around. I'm especially interested in Hertford and Welwyn. House prices are so high and this has been very helpful."

Martin said: "We've been privately renting for 10 years, we've got two kids and we want to get on the housing ladder. This fair is the best way to find out what's available. We haven't been able to consider buying before because of debts but renting is dearer than a mortgage."

He said that saving for a deposit had been impossible as their rent and debt payments had taken all their income but he was now in a better position and shared ownership could be the answer.

Jan Goodeve, the council's housing portfolio holder, said: "We know that housing is very expensive in East Herts and it's a struggle for many people to buy a home. So I was delighted to see so many residents here today who were interested in finding out about shared ownership opportunities. It's a more affordable option and it can give people more stability than private renting."

Financial advisor Nick Okojie, who was working on behalf of Clarion, said he'd been able to give people an understanding of how much they could afford. He'd also been making potential buyers aware of service charges.

 

Mar 11 2019