Key workers the chance to buy their brand new house for just £1

Help to Own tenants Timothy Perry and Aaron Parsons are set to enjoy Christmas in their new Help to Own home after being handed the keys in September.

Dozens of key workers and families struggling to get a foot on the property ladder have been handed the ultimate Christmas gift – a brand new house of their own with the opportunity to eventually buy it for just £1.

The pioneering Help to Own scheme in Wolverhampton has received thousands of inquiries from people across the UK wanting to make their dream of home ownership a reality.

Now, all 100 of the brand-new houses available under the scheme have been allocated in time for Christmas.

Help to Own has been set up by City of Wolverhampton Council, West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and fund management business Frontier Development Capital Ltd (FDC) through its NewCo My Generation Asset Management Limited.

It is specifically designed for working families, and, in particular key workers struggling to save enough to buy a property. With no deposit necessary, the scheme offers a unique route to homeownership and sparked more than 3,958 inquiries from as far afield as Devon, leading to 563 formal applications.

Help to Own provides long-term rent security for tenants and enables them to build up a Loyalty Premium as they make their monthly payments. This can then be taken as cash if they leave the scheme within 20 years or they can buy the home for just £1 on their 25th anniversary. Of the 100 properties allocated, 37% have gone to key workers including NHS staff who have been on the frontline in the battle against Covid.

A total of 69% have been allocated to families and the average age of the successful applicants is 36. The houses, a mix of two, three and four-bedroom properties, are being built on The Marches development off Lakefield Road, close to Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital.

All 100 houses will be completed and occupied by the end of April but 28 successful applicants have already moved into their new homes for Christmas.vA further 21 will be handed the keys at the end of January. Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said:

“What a fantastic Christmas present this is for everyone who has been successful in their application, especially the Covid Heroes who have given so much to us throughout the horrors of the pandemic. I am delighted the WMCA could play its part in making it happen.

“Our innovative Help to Own scheme has been successful in helping people in Wolverhampton get onto the property ladder, and so as we move into 2022 we now need to get it rolled out right across the West Midlands to help give everyone the chance of home ownership.

"We are committed to ensuring that people get onto the property ladder here in the West Midlands, which is why alongside Help to Own we have also redefined what affordable means, as well as accelerating housebuilding plans so that the number of new homes built doubled in just eight years.”

NHS workers, including nurses, were among the first 32 tenants to receive the keys to their new homes in September. Although Help to Own isn’t a social housing scheme it is available to anyone who is struggling to get on the property ladder, subject to affordability and credit checks.

The public/private partnership has seen City of Wolverhampton Council put £5.7m into the scheme as part of its commitment to provide better homes for all in the city, while the WMCA has put £4.7m as part of its wider programme to increase the supply of affordable housing for local people across the region.


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