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HA apologises to buyers after suddenly adding £100,000 to 'affordable' flats

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HA apologises to buyers after suddenly adding £100,000 to 'affordable' flats

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Finance

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A London social landlord has apologised to potential buyers of an 'affordable' shared ownership housing development after suddenly increasing prices by over £100,000!

Wandle Housing Association originally accepted offers on its Streatham Hub development around five months ago.

However, the social landlord suddenly emailed the prospective buyers this week telling them it was increasing costs - in some cases by more than £100,000.

One potential buyer, Guy Morris, has seen his flat go from a full market value of £260,000 to £383,000 overnight.

Mr Morris said: "Wandle are, in our opinion, acting mercilessly and with only greed in their minds. There are some 25 'affordable' flats, with an average increase of £100,000, they stand to fill their coffers with an extra £2.5 million pounds!

"They, as far as we are aware, have not been asked to pay more for the development, so this is all pure profiteering from a association supposedly with a mission to help Londoners get their foot on the property ladder."

Mr Morris added that he is aware of at least 15 other potential buyers who have been affected in the same way.

Wandle has offered its "sincere apologies" to the prospective buyers for "any distress which may have been caused as a result of the recent situation".

In a statement, the social landlord explained: "We began marketing shared ownership homes at Streatham Hub in late 2013 based on valuations carried out at the time.

"Due to unforeseen circumstances, we were unable to exchange contracts on these homes within the anticipated timeframe.

"The original valuations for these homes were valid for a period of three months, following which updated valuations were required. Unfortunately, the delays led to the need to re-value the properties prior to exchange of contract.

"During the period following reservation and holding deposits being received, there were significant changes in the London property market which are beyond our control.

"Unfortunately this external market movement has resulted in substantial increases to the values of these homes in a relatively short period of time.

"We have an obligation to ensure that we obtain accurate market values for our affordable home ownership products, the proceeds from which are re-invested to enable us to continue to build additional affordable homes in communities across south London.

"We communicated the delays and the changes in pricing to prospective buyers earlier this week, although we accept that this communication failed to anticipate the distress and upset this might cause prospective customers and did not fully explain the reasons for the change in value. We clearly could have communicated these changes more sensitively.

"Although we understand that a number of prospective buyers are upset by recent events, we are committed to working closely with all the customers who do still want to proceed to ensure they are still able to afford a home at Streatham Hub. We have been speaking to customers today who are affected to find an appropriate solution for each customer based on their individual circumstances.

"We are exploring all options to help our customers continue with their proposed purchase. We will be discussing options with the Wandle board meeting next Wednesday."

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