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BBC homes in on cut-price properties

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Published by Riverside for Riverside in Housing and also in Communities

Liane Woods in her new home Liane Woods in her new home

An award-winning initiative which breathes new life into derelict properties is going to be featured on BBC’s Britain’s Empty Homes next week.

The programme meets 41-year-old first-time buyer Liane Woods, who bought a two-bedroom terrace in Bootle with her partner Jamie Trail for £12,500 less than the market value from housing association Riverside under its Own Place scheme.

Own Place - which recently scooped the UK Housing Award for Making Best Use of Stock - allows people, who couldn’t otherwise afford to buy their own home, to become owner occupiers by bringing back into use long-term empty properties that require significant investment.

The properties are improved to a mortgageable standard before being sold at a 25% discount to incentivise buyers to remain as owner occupiers for a minimum of five years.

Liane said: “The fact of the matter is I would never be a homeowner if it wasn’t for Own Place. My nan sadly died last year and left me some money but even that wouldn’t have been enough for a down payment. The beauty of Own Place is that the discount funds the 25% deposit so you only need a 75% mortgage.”

The property is valued at £50,000 but Liane’s mortgage is just £37,500. Prior to selling the house, Riverside fitted a new kitchen, gas central heating system, double glazing and damp proof course and also tested the electrics and partially decorated.

Liane said: “The property was structurally sound. My friend who is a builder came to look at it before I bought it and he said I’d be a fool not to take it. The only thing it needed was decoration. The walls were skimmed and painted magnolia so I didn’t have to rip somebody else’s bad taste wallpaper down. It was a blank canvas for me to put my own stamp on it.” 

Liane, who had been renting a property just a few streets away for the last four years added: “I am so much better off now than where I was before. My mortgage is almost half of what I was paying in rent. Not only that but my bills are lower because Riverside fitted a brand new energy efficient boiler and I don’t need the heating on as much to compensate for damp like I did in my rented house.

“I feel more at a home in a month here than I ever felt at the rented property. There is an incentive to stay for five years but I am so happy here I have no intention of leaving.”

Liane’s story will be featured in episode 19 of Britain’s Empty Homes to be shown on BBC 1 on Thursday 26 January at 11.45am.

-ends-

Notes to editors:

There are over a million homes lying empty across the UK and nearly two million British families who don’t have adequate housing.

Riverside is one of the leading social housing and regeneration organisations in England, owning or managing around 50,000 homes from Irvine to Ipswich.

Own Place plays an important role improving the physical, economic and social prospects of neighbourhoods which have been threatened by the lack of ongoing funding under the Housing Market Renewal programme. It is bringing derelict properties back into use, thus counteracting the decline in house-building; selling properties at a 25% discount, therefore enabling struggling first-time buyers to secure a 75% loan to value mortgage; and incentivising buyers to remain as owner-occupiers for a minimum of five years, therefore preventing investors from pushing first-time buyers out of the market. It is also attracting working households into neighbourhoods characterised by very high levels of deprivation and worklessness.  

To receive an application pack for Own Place call 0151 343 1170, email enquiries@ownplace.co.uk or visit www.ownplace.org

For more information about Own Place visit http://www.riverside.org.uk/pdf/Ownplace_info_May2011.pdf or http://www.riverside.org.uk/pdf/Ownplacecasestudy22.pdf

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