The place of Low Cost Home Ownership in Islington's housing market

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1 The place of Low Cost Home Ownership in Islington's housing market

2 Contents Foreword Islington s housing market - an expensive place to live Aspiration for home ownership amongst Islington residents The Intermediate Housing market - what is it? The benefits of Intermediate Housing Is there a market for intermediate low cost home ownership housing in Islington? Emerging issues The next step Conclusion LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET 3

3 Foreword This paper explores the place of Low Cost Home Ownership [LCHO] in Islington's housing market and the actions required to shape/determine its future. Over the past twelve months there has been considerable turbulence nationally in the housing and finance markets evidenced by: falling house prices; an Increase in the length of time needed to sell properties; significant decease in mortgage lending; increases in the cost of borrowing along with broader increases in the cost of living; a fall in the construction of new homes. In the years preceding this, we saw Islington house prices rise rapidly making house purchase unaffordable for many residents, particularly first time buyers and those on low to moderate incomes. With house prices now declining it might be thought that affordability will improve but given the reassessment of risk by banks that is now taking place and access to mortgages more difficult it may well mean that problems of affordability will remain. Given this situation what part can LCHO play in Islington as a means of helping the significant number of residents on low to moderate incomes who aspire to home ownership, but currently cannot afford to purchase outright in the open housing market? 4 LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET

4 Islington's housing market - An expensive place to live Only 31% of households currently own their home in Islington. This is below the national and London average but understandable when the price of property is looked at. Over the past decade property prices have increased enormously making home ownership unaffordable for an increasing number of Islington residents. The average property price in Islington in the summer of 2007 was 449,855. Islington's 2008 Housing Needs Assessment tells us that entry level into home ownership in the borough for a 1 bedroom home in late 2007 was 228,500 with private rental costs starting at 893 a month. It also revealed a north south divide in the borough with the north offering cheaper entry into the housing market. Recent prices would confirm this; Table 1 highlights the asking price in October 2008 for properties in the north and south of the borough. When comparing incomes in the borough and property prices, although the average income in 2007 was relatively high at just over 50k, this masked a wide variation between households living in different tenures. The median average income in fact was less at 24,306, with the average household income for council tenants at 15,161. When compared with property prices at the lower end of the market, these were more than eleven times greater than the median average income of Islington residents, far in excess of the normal lending criteria of banks for mortgages, which stands at around 3.5 times income for a single person. Entry level homeownership in Islington is therefore out of reach for residents on or near the median income. For just a 1 bedroom entry level home at 2008 prices, of approximately 210,000, incomes of 60,000 for a single person and 70,000 for couples would be required. Source: 21/10/08 Table 1 Islington Property Prices October 2008 in the North and South of the borough Example of prices from Estate Agents - North Example of prices from Estate Agents - South 1 Bed 170k - 255k [flats] 1 Bed 320k - 400k [flats] 2 Bed 250k - 400k [flats] 2 Bed 400k - 750k [flats] 3 Bed 250k - 450k [flats & terrace] 3 Bed 500k - 840k [flats & terrace] LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET 5

5 - AN EXPENSIVE PLACE TO LIVE Despite recent falls in the property market, Islington remains an expensive place to live and many residents and people whose skills are vital for local services and the economy remain unable to purchase in the borough because their income levels are insufficient. This situation exacerbates polarisation and acts against the Council's stated One Islington objective. It forces those on lower incomes aspiring to access the benefits of home ownership into making choices that may not be optimum either for them or Islington as a whole. These choices include moving out of the Borough to purchase, buying at or beyond the limit of their resources within Islington, or remaining as social housing tenants longer than they would otherwise need or wish to. 6 LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET

6 Aspiration for home ownership amongst Islington residents Islington's 2008 Housing Needs Assessment tells us that of the 30% [26,000] of households who need or expect to move home between 2008/10, 58% [15,200] of these would like to become home owners, however only 37% expect to do so. When asked where they would like or expect to live, 61.5% said they would like to remain in the borough but only 53% expect they will be able to do so. Analysing this information further, of the 15,200 households needing or expecting to move between , those already owning their home expect to remain home owners. In the private rented sector, some 7,600 households would like to become home owners but only 4,231 expect to do so. Of those in social housing expecting to move, some 2,200 households would like to become home owners but only 220 expect to do so. Significant numbers of residents in the borough therefore who aspire to homeownership. LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET 7

7 The Intermediate Housing market - what is it? Given the high cost of housing in the borough and the barrier this presents for many in accessing home ownership on the open market is there an alternative for residents other than social rented homes? Intermediate housing attempts to fill this gap, between the open market and social rented homes, and Low Cost Home Ownership [LCHO] forms part of this intermediate market. Understanding the basics The Intermediate Housing Market This is defined as that part of the housing market which falls between the social rented sector (council and housing association rented homes), and the wider private housing market that includes privately rented dwellings and owner occupation. It includes traditional models of shared ownership as well as low market rented housing. Low Cost Home Ownership [LCHO] Is defined as housing for households unable to afford to purchase on the open market but able to afford more than the rents charged for social rented housing. Affordability The importance of LCHO is that it is affordable. The London Plan gives some guidance on this. LCHO should be aimed at households with a gross annual income of no more than 58,600 and qualifying households should not spend more than 40% of their disposable income on housing costs. What is low cost home ownership? The phrase 'Low Cost Home Ownership' refers specifically to homes purchased either at less than open market value [mainly purchases by sitting tenants at a discount, overwhelmingly through the Right to Buy] or with some form of financial assistance or subsidy [primarily through the former Shared Ownership scheme, now called HomeBuy or Equity Loan schemes now called Open Market HomeBuy]. 8 LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET

8 THE INTERMEDIATE HOUSING MARKET There are three main types of LCHO products: Discount schemes These are available to social housing tenants wishing to purchase their home and include: Right to Buy This is aimed at council tenants with secure tenancies, and can afford to buy. Tenants must have held a secure tenancy for a minimum period of two years [or five years if the tenancy started on or after 18 January 2005]. It must be the tenant's principal home. The maximum discount in Islington is 16,000. Right to Acquire This is available for housing association tenants who qualify to purchase their property at a discount. The right is only available on properties built or acquired by housing associations with public funds since April To qualify a tenant must have spent a minimum period as a public sector tenant, and live in a selfcontained flat or house which is their only home. The minimum period for those who were tenants before 18 January 2005 is two years. This was extended to five years for new tenants from 18 January 2005 by the Housing Act HomeBuy Traditionally known as shared ownership, part buypart rent and shared equity. There are two main products called: New Build HomeBuy Homes are sold as leasehold properties on shared ownership terms - they can be flats or houses. The minimum share you can purchase is 25%, and 75% is the usual maximum. You will need to be able raise a mortgage for the share you want to purchase, and you will pay rent on the share you don't own. Rents are calculated to be affordable. Social HomeBuy Housing association or council tenants can buy their existing homes, where the landlord has decided to offer this opportunity. Homes are usually bought on a shared ownership basis with a minimum share of 25%. However, the property can be bought outright at the outset. Open Market HomeBuy This is a low-cost government-backed homeownership programme that aims to help people to secure 100% funding of the value of their first home. It is a flexible equity loan scheme designed to help households earning up to a maximum income of 60,000 a year to buy their own homes on the open market. There are currently two Open Market HomeBuy products: MyChoiceHomeBuy MyChoiceHomeBuy is partfunded by the Government and is offered by eight housing associations *. It is an equity loan scheme where between 15 per cent and 50 per cent of purchase price is provided by one of the eight Housing Associations and used in conjunction with a conventional mortgage from a range of participating lenders. LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET 9

9 THE INTERMEDIATE HOUSING MARKET Ownhome Ownhome is provided by a partnership between Places for People and the Cooperative Bank and is partfunded by the Government. An equity loan of between 20 per cent and 40 per cent of purchase price can be obtained by the purchaser. [Both these loans are open to social tenants, key workers and first-time buyers. They can be used alongside a deposit and be repaid early - in part or in full - or when the property is sold. MyChoiceHomeBuy is funded 50 per cent by the 8 HAs and 50 per cent by Government. Ownhome is funded 58 per cent by Places for People and 42 per cent by Government.] An additional equity loan scheme will be launched by the government in January 2009 called: HomeBuy Direct HomeBuy Direct is a shared equity scheme designed to help First-Time Buyers into affordable home ownership. It is offered on specific new build properties brought forward by developers. Buyers are offered an equity loan of up to 30 per cent of the purchase price, co-funded by the Government and the developer, with the buyer contributing the remaining equity [a minimum of 70 per cent], through their mortgage and any deposit. General eligibility for HomeBuy Direct is the same as for the other HomeBuy products - households earning 60,000 or less who can not afford to buy a suitable property on the open market without assistance in the area where they live or work. Applicants are also subject to an affordability check, designed to assess the size of equity share that they are able to afford and sustain their new home. HomeBuy Direct can also help people who have previously owned properties but are now unable to buy without assistance, for example in the case of relationship breakdowns or families who are overcrowded in their existing homes. * MyChoiceHomeBuy - 8 housing associations are; Aldwyck HA, Bedfordshire Pilgrims HA, Catalyst HG, Metropolitan HO, Moat, Swaythling HS, TVHA, Tower Homes 10 LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET

10 The benefits of Intermediate Housing It is generally acknowledged that in addition to increasing housing supply, intermediate housing can help achieve more inclusive, mixed-income communities, contributing to economic and social stability. Mixed tenure including low cost home ownership enables households on moderate incomes to live in high priced areas like Islington where there is polarisation between social housing tenants and those purchasing expensive high priced homes. In Islington, 44% of households live in social housing many on estates which house large numbers of vulnerable and low income families with high levels of social deprivation and weakened social inclusion. Including home-ownership homes - and particularly low-cost home-ownership homes - as an integral part of the "housing mix", can help achieve stable communities rather than 'welfare dependent estates' which stigmatise their occupiers. The presence of home owners, who are likely to be in full employment, can provide role models, networking opportunities and community leadership and also secondary economic benefits including higher purchasing power for local shops. An additional benefit of LCHO is the help it can give specific communities. For those older people who cannot afford suitable, manageable new homes with requisite amenities, low-cost home-ownership can inject the partial subsidy required to make possible a home for their retirement at far lower cost than through social housing, usually allowing the earlier release of a family-sized home onto the market. LCHO schemes can also help other groups including some ethnic minority communities where there is a strong preference to buy rather than rent. LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET 11

11 Is there a market for intermediate low cost home ownership housing in Islington? To date there has been little accessible information about the LCHO market in Islington. LCHO products have been available but little evidence exists to illustrate who has taken advantage of this market. Some detailed analysis work on the 2008 Housing Needs Assessment and activity in the LCHO market in Islington however reveals the following: Islington households in need of affordable housing able to afford Intermediate LCHO Islington's 2008 Housing Needs Assessment, shows that out of the total number of households in need of affordable housing, 27% can afford intermediate housing. This number is estimated at 2,645 households. The map below shows the location of these households. The largest numbers currently reside in the West of the borough with the least in the South. North Committee Area 777 East CommitteeArea 546 W est Committee Area 924 South Commitee Area LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET

12 IS THERE A MARKET FOR INTERMEDIATE LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON? Current Tenure Looking at their current tenure, nearly all of the households [94%] live in private rented accommodation and nearly two thirds of these have been resident in the borough for less than 2 years. Household Type Over three quarters consist of two or more adults without children [see Table 2] and a substantial proportion are single households with very few households with children. The ethnicity of households is predominantly White with the majority of these White British. The age range of households is shown in Table 3. Income The vast majority are employed with nearly three quarters in full time employment. The median annual gross household income is 41,010 significantly higher than the average median for all households in Islington at 24,306. Their average housing costs are 1,026 per month or 237 per week. Table 2 Household Type able to afford intermediate housing Household Type able to afford intermediate housing Household Type Count Percentage Pensioner household 0 0 Single non-pensioner % Two + adults - no children 2,010 76% Households with children % Total 2, % Table 3 Age of households able to afford intermediate housing Age of households able to afford intermediate housing Age band Count Percentage Under 30 1,877 71% % % 60 or over 0 0 Total 2, % LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET 13

13 IS THERE A MARKET FOR INTERMEDIATE LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON? Future moving intentions The future moving intentions of these households shows that 62% are likely to move in the next 2 years and two thirds of these would like to remain in Islington. Size of accommodation preferred The size of accommodation households would like and expect to move into is shown in Table 4. A significant proportion expect to move into a 1 bedroom property than would prefer. A similar trend can be seen in the type of accommodation that households would like and expect. Nearly 60% would like to move into a house but just 14% expect to. Awareness of homeownership products A small sample of households were asked about their awareness of LCHO products, of those answering, 65% said they were aware of shared ownership, 48% of key worker schemes and 13% not aware of any. In summary, this analysis shows the type of household in housing need in the borough that are able to afford intermediate housing. They are likely to be; living in a household of two or more adults with no children; generally in full-time employment and are on relatively high incomes. Activity in Islington's low cost home ownership market Examination of existing data on the sale of LCHO products has proved difficult to obtain at the local level but analysis of available data from Metropolitan Home Ownership [MHO], the North London LCHO zone agent and local housing associations providing LCHO products in Islington has allowed us to get some idea of the picture of activity in this market over the last two years. young, around 30 years of age; renting in the private sector; Table 4 Size of accommodation preferred and expect Size of accommodation preferred and expect Like Expect 1 bedroom 12% 41.5% 2 bedroom 72% 44.5% 3 bedroom 16% 14% 14 LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET

14 IS THERE A MARKET FOR INTERMEDIATE LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON? What type of LCHO has been available in Islington? Data from MHO shows that between 2006 and 2008, there were 221 sale completions through New Build HomeBuy [Shared Ownership] and 13 sale completions through Open Market HomeBuy [Equity Loans]. A number of applications for Social HomeBuy have been lodged with Homes for Islington, the Council's ALMO, but no sales have materialised to date; New Build HomeBuy [Shared Ownership] There were a total of 221 New Build HomeBuy sale completions in Islington between 2006 and The vast majority were 1 bedroom flats. Market Value The full market value of homes in the various shared ownership schemes that have been built in the last 2 years have increased - in line with the rest of Islington's property market - with schemes in the south increasing more markedly. See Table 5 below. Market value increases were followed by falls in the proportion of equity purchased. In the North of the borough the proportion decreased from an average of 50% in 2006 to 44% in In the south from 60% to 35%. [These figures are based on the numbers of sale completions ] Profile of New Build HomeBuy buyers of homes in Islington of the 221 sales 66 [30%] went to nonkey workers and 155 [70%] to key workers the majority of purchasers had annual household income of between 25,000-30,000; 80 [36%] of all buyers lived or worked in Islington prior to purchase, whilst 141 [64%] lived or worked in other boroughs; 109 [56%] were private renters, 57 [23%] were living with family or friends, 26 [12%] were registered on a housing waiting list and only 18 [8%] came from the social rented sector Table 5 Annual average price change of NBHB homes in Islington Annual average price change of NBHB homes Year North 175, , ,250 South 188, , ,500 LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET 15

15 IS THERE A MARKET FOR INTERMEDIATE LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON? 82 [37%] of buyers were from BME groups and 127 [58%] classified themselves as White British, 12 [5%] gave no answer; Islington's residents and key workers who purchased a home via New Build HomeBuy there were a total of 177 Islington residents and key workers who purchased a NBHB home between 2006/08; 100 [56%] were non key workers; 80 [45%] bought a home in Islington and 97 [55%] outside of the borough; 42% of those who moved out of Islington to purchase a LCHO home, did so in neighbouring Hackney. Housing Costs of New Build HomeBuy the increase in cost has seen a reduction in the amount of equity bought first time from approximately 48% in 2006 to approximately 38% in 2008; this has impacted upon overall housing costs for purchasers for whilst the average household income of a purchaser has increased, the overall net cost has increased to 52% - in excess of the GLA affordability figure of 40%; these figures do not take into account levels of deposit that may have been put down as part of the mortgage; the 52% is calculated to include average mortgage costs, rent costs, and service charge costs. Open Market HomeBuy [Equity Loan] Available data shows there were only a total of 13 Open Market HomeBuy purchases in Islington between There were 11 purchases in 2006 and just 2 in 2008 [caution is therefore required when considering this information] Profile of Open Market HomeBuy buyers of homes in Islington of the 13 purchasers, 11 were key workers; the average annual household income of purchasers was 36,563; just 4 purchasers were either residents of Islington or key workers working in Islington; 8 purchasers were previously private renters, 4 were living with family and only 1 was a social rented sector tenant; the ethnic origin of purchasers was basically an equal split 50/50 between BME and White British backgrounds. 16 LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET

16 IS THERE A MARKET FOR INTERMEDIATE LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON? Islington's residents and key workers who purchased a home via Open Market HomeBuy In total 68 Islington residents or key workers working in Islington used Open market HomeBuy to purchase a home, between purchased outside the borough; 26 purchased a house [the majority of which [15] were 3bedroom]; 44% were private renters, 21% were previously living with family or friends, 19% were social housing tenants and 10% were on the waiting list; the average age of purchasers was 35 years; 57% of purchasers were White British and 41% from BME groups; a typical buyer of 1 bed property had annual household earnings of 28,500 and purchased a property with a full market value of 164,444 [average of 19 sales]; typical 2 bedroom buyers had an annual household income of 38,235 and purchased properties with a full market value of 199,021 [average of 34 sales]; typical purchasers of 3 bed properties had an annual household income of 47,000 and bought property worth 228,233 [average of 15 sales]. Popular boroughs for Islington residents and key workers to purchase include, Haringey, Enfield and Waltham Forest. Affordability of LCHO in Islington Comparing the housing costs of both NBHB and OMHB products and the GLA's, London Plan affordability guidance provides an interesting insight. In all years it can be seen that NBHB exceeded the GLA's criteria for affordability in regard to housing costs not exceeding more than 40% of disposable income. Typical housing costs with Open Market HomeBuy were lower although annual household income was higher. Table 6 Housing costs of purchasers of New Build HomeBuy Housing costs of purchasers of New Build HomeBuy Year [Median figures] Number of sales Full market price 202, , , 150 Share purchased 48% 40% 38% Annual household income 28,549 33,750 31,526 Cost as % of net income 46% 46% 52% LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET 17

17 IS THERE A MARKET FOR INTERMEDIATE LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON? Comparisons between NBHB [Shared Ownership] and OMHB [Equity Loan] Products If the two LCHO options are compared it can be seen that it is possible to afford more equity via equity loan products than buying shared ownership. Housing costs as a percentage of net income is also lower with equity loan products [The average interest rate charged is set at 1.75% in case of equity loan products compared to average rent charged at 2.75% in case of shared ownership - the charge on remaining equity is considerably higher therefore on shared ownership]. Purchasers of LCHO The household type purchasing LCHO in Islington can be characterised by the following: New Build HomeBuy [shared ownership products] annual income of between 25-30k; purchasing mostly 1 bedroom flats; predominantly key workers who previously lived outside the borough; previously living in the private rented sector or with family and friends; background of the majority of purchasers is White British. Shared ownership purchasers who are Islington residents or key workers tend to purchase homes outside of Islington. Open Market HomeBuy generally have higher average annual incomes [ 36.5k] majority are key workers living outside borough previously living in the private rented sector or with family and friends; background of purchasers equally split between White British and BME Islington residents and key workers using equity loan products to purchase again chose to buy outside Islington with a relatively high number buying a house. Social rented sector tenants accounted for very small numbers of available LCHO products. 18 LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET

18 Emerging issues HomeBuy product range Far more households from outside the borough have taken advantage of purchasing LCHO products in Islington. [141 of 221 New Build HomeBuy and 9 from 13 Open Market HomeBuy between 2006/08] Islington residents have not found New Build HomeBuy and Open Market HomeBuy products enabling them to live in Islington so attractive. [80 of 177 New Build HomeBuy and 4 of 68 Open Market HomeBuy] Better "value" [it is assumed] can be achieved by Islington residents buying outside the borough, in a cheaper location. The average income of Islington residents and key workers purchasing New Build HomeBuy products is between 25k and 30k. For Open Market HomeBuy, average incomes are 36.5k. To buy an initial 50% share of a New Build HomeBuy property in Islington of 288k requires an income of around 41k for a single person [with a mortgage 3.5 times gross income] and for a couple 48k [with a mortgage 3 times gross income]. Buying 50% of an entry level 1 bedroom flat in Islington with an Equity Loan product at 210k requires 30k and 35k incomes for single people and couples. HomeBuy products have been used by a comparatively high number of key workers to move into the borough compared with non key workers. Size of property (number of bedrooms) There is a clear aspiration in purchasers to buy a home that is larger than they need. It is unclear, however, if affordability issues in Islington mean that most purchasers do not achieve this or the lack of larger bedroom sized LCHO homes being developed. As most purchasers are young, there is the likelihood that a proportion of couples will have children and consequently have to move if unable to purchase a two bedroom property or a home capable of easy extension. This is difficult due to the small proportion of 2 bedroom plus shared ownership properties on the market. LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET 19

19 EMERGING ISSUES Who is housed? The profile of purchasers indicates that more households without children are housed relative to families and lone parents with dependent children. The majority of purchasers previously rented in the private sector or lived with family or friends. LCHO appears to be particularly attractive to newly forming and 'concealed' households. Relatively few purchasers are from the social rented sector. Is right to buy still an option here? The majority of purchasers for LCHO products inside the borough are key workers. Most purchasers are relatively young, with the biggest single group aged under 30 years. There are virtually no purchasers aged over 60. Is it the case that there is no specific demand for 'older persons' shared ownership dwellings, such as sheltered housing? Potential markets & products LCHO is meeting a demand. However, there are significant numbers of applicants who have neither the income nor savings to buy into this market unless more properties become available at equity shares of 30% or less. In this case it would be critical to keep the additional rent payment down on the unsold equity. The purchase price of LCHO homes is generally higher in Islington than surrounding boroughs [excluding Camden & the City of London], although the incomes of applicants living here are not particularly high. The consequence is that many Islington purchasers move out into neighbouring areas. Evidence would suggest that a relatively small number of purchasers and applicants have access to significant savings. The role of savings and deposits needs a higher profile as this would reduce housing costs. It also raises the issue that if an equity share could be purchased outright even on a low income, would paying rent attract housing benefit, on the unsold share? Could lone parents benefit from this and would specific marketing be productive. Because of the current housing market and financial situation should those with higher incomes expressing an interest in LCHO become a target group? What is the LCHO market for people who may have capital, but low incomes, after a relationship break up? LCHO products at present do not allow purchasers to take in lodgers. Is this unreasonable, as such additional income can make a property affordable for some applicants on lower personal incomes. Are social housing tenants specifically a target for LCHO marketing? Are key workers specifically a target for marketing LCHO schemes? 20 LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET

20 EMERGING ISSUES Current environment for LCHO purchasers Mortgages are now more difficult to get. 100% mortgages are no longer available so purchasers must be in a position to provide a deposit. They also need a good credit history in order to be considered for a mortgage. In addition the cost of living has increased making it more difficult to take the first step onto the property ladder. Household costs of existing LCHO owners have increased as the cost of living has increased, making them more vulnerable to being unable to afford their mortgage repayments and increasing the possibility of repossession. The future supply of LCHO in Islington Our projections for the supply of New Build HomeBuy LCHO in the borough for the next two years must be considered with caution, because of the current economic climate, but it continues to show the provision of predominantly one bedroom flats. Table 8 Supply of NBHB LCHO homes Supply of NBHB LCHO homes Year and size Type of NBHB Total Supply Key worker Non key worker 2009/10 1 Bedroom Bedroom Bedroom Total /11 1 bedroom bedroom bedroom 3 3 Total LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET 21

21 EMERGING ISSUES Past LCHO development and what we know about the future programme with its predominance of 1 bedroom homes limits the choice of prospective purchasers. We know they would like larger homes but this is a limited option in Islington. It also provides little opportunity for move on for growing households to a larger affordable home. The current economic downturn may have its positives therefore in providing an opportunity to reconsider our future requirement regarding the supply of LCHO in the borough. What support we should give and the properties and products we would like to see developed. 22 LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET

22 The next step In the current economic climate of limited lending and rising cost of living it is imperative for new and innovative practice to be developed in our approach to Low Cost Home Ownership in Islington. To be viable it is essential that this sector remains sustainable. Location and types of units are key to this with LCHO homes being the right products, in the right place, at realistic prices. If the council is to support lower income home ownership aspirations and LCHO housing in the Borough, then, with its partners, its approach will need to incorporate the following: better understanding of the different client groups - collecting basic information on future housing aspiration, employment status and income for all housing applicants to support the marketing of LCHO products; be more strategic in the support for schemes, their type and location, working closely with development partners to deliver priorities; work with the HCA and partners to develop and deliver LCHO products that meet the needs of Islington residents aspiring to home ownership, providing the widest possible choice; improved working with planning to ensure; appropriate planning policies are in place to deliver housing products that are needed affordable housing delivery is considered a central part of all residential planning applications; improved sub-regional working and cooperation between partners in regard to the location and type of schemes and eligibility; better understand the place of private developers in the provision of LCHO; LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET 23

23 THE NEXT STEP improved communication between all low cost home ownership providers to ensure that applicants can be redirected to the product most appropriate for them; raise the game in terms of marketing LCHO - co-ordinated information and marketing strategies between all low cost home ownership providers to create a consistent approach and an understanding of the resources needed; Employ more people with property sales experience; development of the roles of Homes for Islington, the North London Zone Agent and local RSLs as the key gate keepers to low cost home ownership products; improving accessibility to the full range of home ownership information by provision of a central resource covering or clearly sign-posting all options; improving the skill levels of housing needs officers so they can deal or signpost effectively requests for intermediate housing to the relevant agency; ensure that information on options is intelligent enough to show the 'total occupational costs' for applicants; make New Build HomeBuy a more affordable option for more people. 24 LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET

24 Conclusion LCHO is a means to meet the needs of modestly earning households who cannot afford outright home ownership in the borough and are not eligible for social rented housing. If we are to maximise its benefits for the greatest number of residents then discussion with our partners needs to commence on the Next Step using this paper as a framework for deciding and structuring our future strategy on LCHO. LOW COST HOME OWNERSHIP IN ISLINGTON'S HOUSING MARKET 25

25 Neville Archer, Head of Housing Strategy and Policy Islington Council, Goswell Road, London, EC1V 7LQ T /4438 F W Printed on environmentally friendly paper. Published March 2009.

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