Key workers in Cambridgeshire have been rushing to snap up affordable homes for a chance to join the property ladder.
bpha, a major provider of low cost housing in Cambridgeshire, has developed a range of new homes for local key, public sector workers, at the new village of Cambourne.
The housing association, which is an expert in key worker housing, has reported high demand for the new homes, with just three properties remaining at the latest phase of two-bedroom apartments.
So far more than 50 homes have been taken up, providing public sector workers such as teachers, nurses and police officers, a place to call home.
The majority of the properties, ranging from one-bedroom flats to three-bedroom homes, have been offered through a shared ownership scheme known as New Build HomeBuy.
The scheme enables key workers, and others on low incomes, to buy a share in a new home using savings and a mortgage, and pay rent to the housing association on the remainder.
In an area where average house prices are eight times the average wage, it means more people who are unable to raise a mortgage for the full cost of home ownership, can get on the property ladder.
David Keeling, executive director for development at bpha, said: “Allocating homes for key workers is vital, not only to meeting local housing needs, but also to meeting the recruitment needs of key local services.
“Without teachers, nurses and police officers, local communities cannot operate. And yet the gap between pay and house prices is putting an increasing pressure on the recruitment and retention of these vital public sector personnel.
“The response we have seen to the properties at Cambourne demonstrates the need for this type of housing in the area.”
Paediatric nurse Hannah Joseph is among the new residents at the two-bedroom apartments at Greater Cambourne.
The 26-year-old said: “I found out about the possibility of shared ownership from colleagues. I was a bit apprehensive at first because I wanted to be able to do it on my own, but when I saw the apartments at Cambourne I was amazed. There is no way I would have been able to afford a place like this without the help of shared ownership.
“Nurses are on low wages anyway, and when you couple that with the cost of housing in this area, it is virtually impossible to join the property ladder. Even the cost of renting is a stretch, and that is just throwing money away.
“The flat has lovely features, such as big windows which make it light and airy. I also have a second bedroom which I can use as an office while I do further study. I am really pleased with the flat, and it is great to know that I have made the first step towards owning my home.”
As the HomeBuy agent for Cambridgeshire, bpha acts as a one-stop shop to offer help, advice and access to low cost home ownership. The housing association was awarded £10m earlier this year to build new affordable homes in Cambridgeshire – the largest HCA-funded development programme in the county.
For more information on low cost home ownership and schemes in the area, contact bpha’s sales and marketing team, Keyhomes East, on 0845 4566757 or visit www.keyhomes-east.org.uk.