What is the Homeseekers' Register?
The Homeseekers' Register is an initiative set up by us in November 2010 to manage the sale of low cost home ownership properties, in respect of new build housing schemes, and each subsequent resale of these homes. The scheme offers an alternative to shared ownership schemes, often run by Housing Associations, or shared equity schemes, such as the Government's HomeBuy scheme.
Property prices in Eden are among the highest in Cumbria, and the Homeseekers' Register has been developed because we recognise that many local people have been priced out of the housing market due to the level of property prices. The low cost home ownership properties are generally new build properties which have been negotiated with private developers as their contribution to affordable housing through a planning obligation.
Who will qualify to be put on the Homeseekers' Register?
Applicants will need to demonstrate that:
They are in affordable housing need, that is they require the discount to purchase the property (Government recommendations on responsible borrowing are set at 3.5x single income, and 2.9x joint income).
They have a local connection to the area (as defined in our Core Strategy and the 'Section 106' legal agreement for the scheme). For more information see below Homeseekers Register local connection.
What is the percentage discount on new sale and resale properties?
The Homeseekers' Register will enable us to nominate qualifying persons in respect of newly built homes, and resales of discounted sale properties. The percentage discount on each subsequent resale is the same as on the initial sale.
The policy seeks to ensure low cost home ownership properties remain within reach of people on local incomes. The Homeseekers' Register seeks to achieve this through a percentage discount, based on the open market value:
|Property Value (OMV) ||Discount |
|£100k or less || |
|Over £100k - £115k || |
|Over £115k || |
The upper price limit would be capped at 60% of average (mean) property prices for Eden District - as some larger or more expensive properties would be beyond the means of people on local incomes even with a 60% discount. We will review the upper limit on an annual basis based on the latest house price data.
How are applicants prioritised on the Homeseekers' Register?
Properties will generally be allocated based on time on the Homeseekers' Register; however, priority will be given in respect of:
Family housing: for 3 bedroom houses this will include households including 2 or more children and for 4/ 4+ bedroom houses (households including 3 or more children
Bungalows and adapted/ adaptable ground floor flats - priority will be given to households including someone aged 60 or over, and households including someone registered disabled.
How to apply to go on the Homeseekers' Register
Applications are made by submitting the attached completed forms, they should then be sent to the address at the top of the form. On receipt we will send you further information.
What is low cost home ownership?
Low cost home ownership is designed to meet the needs of people who have been priced out of the open market.
What is our Low Cost Housing Scheme?
In November 2010 we set up the Homeseekers' Register waiting list, and a list of properties to be sold to people with a local connection in need of affordable housing. Affordable housing typically with discounts of between 33.33% and 40% of the full market value.
How are properties prioritised?
Generally by date of application, although households with children receive an additional preference for larger family homes, while people over 60 and disabled people will be given additional preference for bungalows and adapted ground floor properties.
How do we obtain low cost properties?
Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 sets out the process for achieving affordable housing through the planning system. The type and location of the affordable homes are set through our negotiations with private developers
Will the properties always be low cost?
Yes, the Section 106 Legal Agreement ensures that the properties cannot be sold at full market value and the same percentage discount will apply upon each subsequent re-sale.
Can anyone apply for the scheme?
To be eligible to buy a low cost property, you must first apply to join the Homeseekers' Register.
How do I qualify for a property?
You must prove that you require the discount on the property in order for you to afford to buy it. You must have a local connection to the parish, ward or district, as specified in the Section 106 Agreement.
The local connection criteria are set out in the Local Connection Criteria/ Areas of Choice form (PDF: 190Kb / 2 pages).
I don't have a local connection to the property I want - what do I do?
If a property is not sold after a given date, the local connection criteria are widened (as specified in the Section 106 Agreement) - eventually to include anyone with a local connection to Eden district.
Can I buy the low cost property as a buy-to-let or second home?
No, the properties can only be sold for low cost home ownership. This must be your principal or main home for no less than 10 months of the year.
How will I know if I've qualified for a property?
Using the details that you provided on your application form, we will contact you when a property becomes available that you qualify for, in an area of Eden district where you have indicated that you are interested in living.
What if my details change?
Please inform us immediately. You could miss out on properties coming up for re-sale for which you may now qualify.
How long will I have to wait for a property?
This depends on your obtainable funds, where you want to live, and the type of property you wish to buy, as well as suitable vacancies becoming available.
Will I own the low cost property outright?
Yes, this is not a shared equity or a shared ownership scheme. However, when you come to sell the property it must be sold under the terms and conditions of the Section 106 Agreement at the agreed discount.
Questions about selling a low cost property
What happens if I want to sell my low cost property?
You should contact Housing Services in writing stating your intention to sell.
What happens when you receive your written instruction?
You will need to instruct your own RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) qualified surveyor to value the property at your expense, using the template provided by us. The valuation will then be verified by our own surveyor.
What happens if we do not accept the valuation carried out by your surveyor?
Very occasionally, there may be a dispute over the valuation of a low cost property upon re-sale. If agreement cannot be reached between both parties, a further independent valuation would be carried out by the District Valuer, whose decision is final. We would reimburse the cost from the vendor.
What happens if the we are unable to identify a qualifying applicant on the Homeseekers' Register?
We will instruct you to place the property on the open market - initially to people with a specific local connection, but this will eventually be widened to include people with a local connection to Eden District.
Do you have to sell the property at the agreed price?
No, you have the right to accept a lower offer. However, you cannot accept a higher offer.
For further information:
- Contact: The Housing Team
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: 01768 817 817
- Address: Eden District Council, Mansion House, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7YG