Liverpool residents could be given help to buy their own homes through a new Rent to Buy scheme being set up by the city council’s new housing company, Foundations.
The company, which intends to build and renovate some 10,000 homes in the city in the next decade in a sweeping £1bn investment programme, is aiming to set up a scheme that enables people to pay reduced rent on Foundations properties so they can save enough money for a deposit to buy the home.
Foundations, which officially launched today (Dec 5), wants to help people get on the housing ladder for the first time and intends to ensure local business get to play a role in constructing new homes.
The company is the idea of Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, who wants to use Foundations to improve the city’s housing, revolutionise the Rent to Buy sector, drive up council tax receipts for the council and stimulate growth by involving local firms, their employees and apprenticeships in the construction work.
Foundations and the council are working on the detail of how the Rent to Buy scheme would operate and who would be eligible to participate. They expect to officially launch the scheme next year.
Mayor Anderson said today: “We recognise that getting the cash together for a deposit can be a major challenge for many first time buyers so the new Rent to Buy scheme will play an invaluable part in addressing this problem.
“I have also asked the Foundations team to explore other financial incentives and by the time homes are available to buy in 2019 there will be an opportunity for some of those, assessed on a per scheme basis, to be available Rent to Buy or through an alternative incentive.
“Giving people hope and a stake in this city’s future is at the heart of Foundations which is why it is by far the most exciting project I’ve been involved.”
Liverpool City Council is the sole shareholder of Foundations, which has been set up to improve the availability of good quality, affordable homes in the city. It will also be building homes for specific groups including foster carers, large families, the elderly that may wish to down-size and people with a disability.
Frank Hont, Chair of Foundations, said: “Our ambition for Foundations will be to transform the way housing works for the people of Liverpool. One of the ways we want to achieve this is by giving people from all walks of life the opportunity to get on to the housing ladder who may struggle to otherwise secure a conventional mortgage.
“Our intention is that the money from both house sales and rents will then be reinvested back into the Foundations programme to help create even more homes and support more people in our city as they take the first step on to the housing ladder.”
Foundations has already held a ‘meet the buyer’ event which was heavily oversubscribed. The tender for the framework will go live in the next two weeks and be complete by March 2019.
Mark Kitts, Chief Executive of Foundations, said: “Foundations is identifying a range of sites in various ownerships across the city, within neighbourhoods, the city centre and waterfront as potential sites for redevelopment.
“Foundations will be committed to delivering training and skills opportunities for young people in the city. We’ll be working with contractors who will be encouraged to use local supply chains and locally-sourced labour. In addition, we’ll work with providers such as higher education colleges to deliver on-the-job training, including apprenticeships for young people who want to forge a career in the construction industry.
“Foundations is also keen to work with landowners who share our ethical ambitions.”
The company is proposing to build 107 new houses located between Denford Road, Ackers Hall Avenue and Dunchurch Road. If approved, construction on the new houses will start in early 2019, with the first phase of homes completed by 2020 and the second phase by 2022.