Justin Tomlinson MP visits affordable housing scheme in Swindon

Justin Tomlinson MP visited a development of Stonewater homes for shared ownership and affordable rent at St. Quentin Close, Swindon, on Friday, 13 October 2017, to see how local housing providers are helping people onto the housing ladder, as well as supporting local people with affordable housing.

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St. Quentin Close, built by social housing provider Stonewater in 2016, consists of five shared ownership houses and 43 affordable rental properties. Shared ownership schemes are a cross between buying and renting; aimed primarily at first-time buyers. Buyers purchase a share of the home and then rent the part they do not own at a reduced rate. Over time as their incomes rise customers can buy a bigger share up to 100%. Affordable rent homes have rent charged at up to 80% of market rents.

Mr Tomlinson met with members of the local Stonewater team who gave him a tour of the housing development at St Quentin Close, which falls in his constituency. During the tour they explained the benefit of shared ownership as a way of helping people onto the property ladder, and how Stonewater supports them to progress to purchase more of their property.

Mr Tomlinson also had the opportunity to meet two Stonewater residents, one from a shared ownership home and the other living in a rented one, who shared their stories of applying for their home, the support they received from Stonewater, and the positive experience they are having.

“It was great to welcome Justin to St. Quentin Close to talk about how housing associations can help people get onto the housing ladder,” says Jonathan Layzell, Stonewater’s Executive Director of Development. “Stonewater has over 2,000 shared owners across the country, and believes that in a world of housing shortages and high prices, and the need for large deposits in many areas, this is an important route into home ownership for many communities.

“We were pleased that the Government supports the aspirations of the increasing number of people wanting to own their own home and encouraged Justin to press for national publicity on how shared ownership works and can help. We need to ensure that shared ownership becomes a ‘go to’ product for new aspiring owners.”

He adds: “It was also good to discuss the new rent settlement with Justin and hear his thoughts on how it will be implemented post 2020. I hope Justin found the visit useful, and that he will continue to actively support housing associations to help his constituents onto the housing ladder.”

Justin Tomlinson MP comments: “It is absolutely right that we encourage new innovative ways to help people realise their dream of home ownership. It was great to see first-hand what a difference this is making as local residents benefit from schemes including shared ownership, which is allowing them to get their first step on the housing ladder. I will continue to do all I can to support people of all ages having the opportunity to own their own home.”