Plans for points-based system on £100,000 homes project in Cambridgeshire are revealed

PUBLISHED: 12:23 16 June 2020

Mayor James Palmer (centre) said there is an urgent need for the affordable homes scheme to work across Cambridgeshire. Here he is at the Rayners Green development site in Fordham where the first £100k homes started construction in March with Cllr Anna Bailey, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council (left) and Jon Thisthethwaite, regional director of the eastern region at Hill Group UK. Picture: ARCHANT

Mayor James Palmer (centre) said there is an urgent need for the affordable homes scheme to work across Cambridgeshire. Here he is at the Rayners Green development site in Fordham where the first £100k homes started construction in March with Cllr Anna Bailey, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council (left) and Jon Thisthethwaite, regional director of the eastern region at Hill Group UK. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Plans for a points-based priority system for the first £100k homes to be built in Cambridgeshire have been revealed.

Mayor James Palmer said there is an urgent need for the affordable homes scheme to work across Cambridgeshire. Here he is at the Rayners Green development site in Fordham where the first £100k homes started construction in March. Picture: HARRY RUTTERMayor James Palmer said there is an urgent need for the affordable homes scheme to work across Cambridgeshire. Here he is at the Rayners Green development site in Fordham where the first £100k homes started construction in March. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

People with a local connection, key workers and the armed forces will be top of the list for the discounted homes under the current proposals.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s £100k homes scheme will see purpose-built one-bedroom properties sold – as the name suggests – at £100,000, no matter their market value.

The idea is to provide affordable housing while offering the same potential benefits of home ownership.

Mayor James Palmer has described the scheme as “unique” and said “the need is everywhere and the need is urgent”.

Mayor James Palmer said there is an urgent need for the affordable homes scheme to work across Cambridgeshire. Here he is at the Rayners Green development site in Fordham where the first £100k homes started construction in March. Picture: ARCHANTMayor James Palmer said there is an urgent need for the affordable homes scheme to work across Cambridgeshire. Here he is at the Rayners Green development site in Fordham where the first £100k homes started construction in March. Picture: ARCHANT

The combined authority has previously said the first £100k homes will be completed in Fordham before the end of the year, and has also committed to providing the £100k homes across the county, including in the most expensive regions such as Cambridge.

Proposals have now been released which indicate how prospective buyers will be chosen from what is expected to be a long list of applicants.

A report that will go before the combined authority’s housing committee on June 22 outlines proposals for a points-based system, with those with a local connection and certain key workers set to be first in line if the policy is approved.

Three main criteria to qualify for a £100k home are suggested: an inability to afford open market ownership, a local connection and the applicant not currently owning a home.

Work to build Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s first £100,000 homes got underway at the Rayners Green development site in Fordham in March. Picture: HARRY RUTTERWork to build Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s first £100,000 homes got underway at the Rayners Green development site in Fordham in March. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

The report says the scheme will “help to keep communities in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough vibrant and sustainable by ensuring local people are given the opportunity to live near their place of work and remain in communities in which they have strong connections”.

The report says the points system is “designed to give a fair representation of an applicant’s local connection to the area. It ensures that those with the strongest local connections are given priority to apply for a £100k home”.

The current proposals split the scoring mechanism in two, with points awarded for both employment and other local connections.

The proposals currently show being employed or self-employed in the area would grant applicants 550 points. Key workers or those qualifying under the armed forces covenant can then score an additional 450 points.

Applicants can also receive up to 450 extra points through their local connection. Applicants will receive 100 points for being born in the area, 50 points for every year they have already been living in the area, or 25 every year for living nearby or having close family in the area – with a cap at 450.

The rules will become slightly more complex when applicants are tied on points, but again it looks as though local connections will be involved.

If the applicant chosen does not take up the offer for any reason, an offer will then be made to the next highest scorer and so on until the offer is taken up.

The current proposals say applicants must be over 18.

The report says applicants or those intending to live with the applicant “will not normally be eligible” if they have previously had a home repossessed and the mortgage has not been fully redeemed or there is no payment plan in place, or if they have been declared bankrupt in the past six years.

Whether or not these plans are confirmed as the official criteria will depend on councillors’ views and it will require approval from councillors representing councils from across the county for them to become policy.

Councillors at the housing committee will be asked to approve the “general principles and structure” of the policy, and powers would then be delegated to officers to provide further detail.

The mayor James Palmer said: “These proposals take us one step closer to realising our ambition to deliver homes for £100K for working people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”

What is the £100k homes scheme?

£100k homes is an initiative by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. The idea is to build one-bedroom properties available to buy for £100,000 across Cambridgeshire.

The combined authority says the scheme is “a locally-driven initiative to tackle the local housing crisis. As such, it is only open to those who live or work or both in the area.”

The idea is that the first purchaser of a £100k home will buy the property discounted below its estimated value on the open market.

A legal agreement would then stay with the property to maintain the market discount for future buyers, so the owner can still benefit from an increase in the market value or suffer a loss from a market fall.

For example, the first purchaser buys the home for £100,000, despite its market value being much higher, say £200,000, by qualifying for the scheme.

Five years later, the owner now wants to sell, and house prices in their area have increased by 10 per cent.

The home’s market value is now £220,000, so it can be put up for sale for £110,000, and the next buyer has to pay that £110,000 – but the percentage discount compared with market price remains the same.

The combined authority says: “Just like purchasing any other home, the buyer will need to provide an upfront deposit and secure a mortgage to purchase the property.

“When the owner is ready to move on, the home can be put up for sale. If they want to stay in the home for the rest of their life, they can.”


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