19th September 2019
For your chance to win a £50 Love to shop voucher*, tell us your reason why you love shared Ownership!
13th September 2019
A week of the year dedicated to making the dream of owning your own home a reality returns!
“Shared Ownership week” starts off on the 19th September 2019 and we’ll be celebrating this week by highlighting the scheme’s benefits and how it could enable potential buyers to wave goodbye to shared bathrooms and washing up disputes. We’ll have a series of events and initiatives to highlight how the scheme makes the dream of owning your own home a reality whether you’re a first-time buyer or previously owned a home but can’t afford to buy your own now, this scheme is for you!
Throughout the week we will be posting a series of facts and figures along with competitions, across twitter and Facebook. On Saturday 5th October, 10am – 1pm, we’ll be hosting a Shared Ownership drop in session at the Mulberry Park Marketing Suite. Come along and speak to our experienced team who will be able to answer all things “shared ownership”, we can help you register with Help to buy South, explain the process of registering your interest in a property and you’ll be able to view details of our shared ownership homes available.
3rd September 2019
You are invited to view the stunning Portland 3 bedroom show home and find out more about our fabulous collection of 2, 3 & 4 bedroom homes at Mulberry Park.
Join us from 11am - 5pm, meet our experienced sales team and enjoy a delicious drink and homemade cake at the Mulberry Park Hub café*.
When: Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th September 2019
Time: 11am - 5pm
Where: Mulberry Park Marketing Suite, Mulberry Park, Bradford Road, Bath, BA2 5BZ
15th August 2019
The Hub, Curo’s £10m community building at its Mulberry Park development in Bath, was crowned the winner of the South West Community Benefit category at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards 2019.
The award recognises outstanding achievement in providing a facility which directly benefits the local community and can demonstrate its success through local community feedback.
26th April 2019
‘Century Park’ and ‘The Willows’ are today revealed as the new names for Curo’s developments in Lawrence Weston, Bristol. The names were suggested by local residents Becky Cockle and Rhiannon Beail, following a campaign by Curo to find new identities for the two sites - previously referred to as Henacre Road and Corbet Close.
26th April 2019
More than 200 people visited an exhibition held by Curo last week to see the detailed proposals for the open space at Mulberry Park, which will be delivered as part of the housing development.
15th April 2019
Buying a home is exciting and probably the biggest financial decision most of us will make – but for many families, it can also feel out of reach. The government-backed scheme Help to Buy – Equity Loan can be used on all new-build homes and is helping thousands of families each year to move in to a home of their own. In this article, housing association and house-builder Curo explains what the scheme is, how it works and who can access it. Unlike Shared Ownership, available solely to first time buyers and people who used to own their home but can no longer afford one, Help to Buy can be accessed by both first time buyers and ‘next time buyers’ looking to move up the property ladder. For example, current homeowners could use the scheme to ‘upsize’ to a bigger home. So if you’re looking to buy a new-build home in the area, it’s worth knowing more about how Help to Buy can make your homeownership dream possible.
20th March 2019
We are excited to invite you to the launch of Highbury Fields show home, come and take a look around, speak to our team of experts, gain financial advice from One77 Mortgages and enjoy some refreshments.
When: Saturday 27th April 2019
Time: 11am - 3pm
Where: Highbury Fields Show Home, Greville Road, Clutton, Bristol, BS39 5PL
14th February 2019
A young couple and their two children will soon be able to live closer to family and friends as they prepare to move in to a new home at Curo’s Highbury Fields development in Clutton. Beth, who is 26 years old and from Clutton, and Danny, who’s 33 years old and was born and raised just a couple of miles down the road, in Paulton, have been looking to buy their first home together in the village but were struggling to find the right property.
22nd January 2019
Curo are delighted to invite you to the open day for Highbury Fields on Saturday 9th Feb 2019 from 11am - 3pm. Come and speak to our friendly Sales Negotiators and visit our picturesque development in Clutton.
Curo are pleased to be offering 2 stunning 3 bedroom homes located at our Highbury Fields development, Clutton. Highbury Fields has a selection of stylish homes located in the picturesque Somerset countryside. This new development is ideal for family life and located within walking distance of local amenities and a good primary school. Situated just 10 miles from Bristol and Bath, Highbury Fields is perfect for commuters working in the city who prefer the peace and tranquillity of village life
6th December 2018
Bath-based housing association and house-builder Curo has won the Developer of the Year 2018 title at the inaugural Bath Property Awards, which celebrate the city’s dynamic property sector.
The ceremony took place at the Apex Hotel on Friday 23 November and brought together house-builders, architects, contractors, suppliers and professional services providers for the property sector.
The judges said: “Curo is out on its own in terms of what it does. ‘Profit for purpose’ flows through the business; exceptional year, balancing commercial opportunities with social responsibility.”
Curo managing Director, Gerraint Oakley, says: “We’re delighted and proud to win this recognition, having been shortlisted alongside some great Bath-based developers.
“Housing associations like Curo are making a significant contribution to solving the UK’s housing crisis. Our commercial activity – building homes for market sale - enables us to generate surpluses which we reinvest in creating more affordable housing for local people. This is what we call ‘profit for purpose’ and is the main reason we established our house-building business. Last year, we invested £17.1m in building new affordable homes.
“We’re best known for Mulberry Park, our award-winning project of 700 homes in South Bath, but we’re a multi-site developer with a number of schemes at different stages of development throughout the South West. Our housing delivery pipeline for the next five years will see the addition of more than 2,200 homes across the region.”
Curo was also a finalist in the ‘Residential Development’ category with its Mulberry Park scheme, which won the ‘Property’ accolade at the popular Bath Life Awards earlier this year.
Photo: Adam Carter; Curo colleagues from left to right: Sales Manager Susan Harrison, Planning & Technical Director, Sarah Maylor, Sales Director, Lisa Howells and Managing Director, Gerraint Oakley.
20th November 2018
Curo has just welcomed the 100th homeowners at Mulberry Park, its award-winning development of 700 homes, community facilities and open spaces in South Bath.
Alicia, Ian and their two-and-a-half-year-old son Lucas moved in to a four bedroom townhouse on the main avenue at Mulberry Park last month.
Ian, a tennis coach at the University of Bath, says: “When we saw the homes at Mulberry Park we thought – that’s what we want - and knew that moving here was the right thing to do for our family. With a toddler and a new baby on the way, we couldn’t be happier with our choice, we’ve got lots of space and exactly the location we wanted.”
The family previously lived in a two-bed property in Oldfield Park and, alongside location and more bedrooms, their list of requirements for the new home included a level garden and a spacious kitchen/diner.
Alicia says: “I love cooking, entertaining and having people over and we needed a house that was spacious enough to receive all of our friends and their kids. We really wanted the kitchen/dining area to be at the centre of our family life and the layout and size of our new home work perfectly for us.
“Our son is sports-mad and it’s great that now we can watch him play in the garden while cooking dinner thanks to our large bi-folding doors.”
The couple are also looking forward to taking advantage of the facilities available at Mulberry Park, including a new primary school, nursery and The Hub - a brand new contemporary building for the whole local community to use, providing flexible spaces for activities and events from yoga and fitness classes to children’s stay & play groups, meetings and corporate events as well as a welcoming and family-friendly café on the ground floor.
Alicia says: “We’re excited about the new park and the fantastic community Hub and facilities already available right on our doorstep.
“We look forward to getting to know our neighbours and being part of this community and I think the Hub will help a lot with that.”
The family were welcomed at Mulberry Park by Curo Sales Director, Lisa Howells. Lisa says: “We’re delighted that our 100th customers have joined the thriving new community at Mulberry Park and wish the young family all the best for the future in their beautiful home.
“Homes at Mulberry Park range from one-bed apartments to four-bedroom detached houses, so we’re ideally placed to help families of any size find their perfect home in this vibrant, growing community.”
Mulberry Park properties are available through Help to Buy, the government’s Equity Loan scheme that lends home buyers up to 20% of the value of a new build home - interest-free for five years.
Lisa says: “We also offer a range of services specifically designed to make moving home more straightforward, like Swift Move, a scheme that provides a quicker way for homeowners to sell their property at market value, while saving money on estate agent fees and advertising.
“Meanwhile, Smooth Move makes it possible for homeowners to part-exchange their current home for a new one without having to sell their property first. So starting fresh in a new home at Mulberry Park couldn’t be easier for our customers.”
5th November 2018
Lawrence Weston residents interested in getting a first foot on the property ladder with Shared Ownership can find out more about the scheme from Curo’s sales team - the Shared Ownership experts will be hosting a free drop in event on Saturday 17 November from 10am until 4pm at Ambition Lawrence Weston Youth Centre.
Curo is hoping to build 185 new homes in Lawrence Weston, at Corbet Close and Henacre Road. More than half of these – 95 homes – will be affordable housing, including 28 homes for Shared Ownership.
Paula Beel, Affordable Sales Manager at Curo, says: “Shared Ownership homes are allocated on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis and we want to make sure that local residents in Lawrence Weston are prepared to take advantage of the future opportunities in their area.
“Come along to find out if you qualify for Shared Ownership and how to access this government-backed scheme. Our friendly team will be on hand to offer advice and answer any questions you may have.”
Shared Ownership enables first time buyers - and those who used to own a home but can no longer afford one - to purchase a share of a property, significantly reducing mortgage requirements and the deposit amount. The buyer then pays rent on the remaining share and has the option of increasing their own share over time until they reach 100% ownership and no longer need to pay rent.
For further details about the event call Ambition Lawrence Weston on 0117 9235112.
Shared Ownership drop in event
Saturday 17 November
From 10am until 4pm – drop in anytime
Ambition Lawrence Weston Youth Centre
Long Cross, Lawrence Weston, Bristol BS11 0RX
12th October 2018
Curo have made it even easier for first time buyers to move in to a brand new home at Mulberry Park with an exclusive offer designed specifically for them.
If you’r ready to buy your first ever home but you’re holding back due to the additional costs associated with moving, then speak to the Curo team about this time-limited offer on our beautiful Camden homes at Mulberry Park.
These stylish two-bedroom homes have been designed for modern living and are packed with practical features including energy efficient heating and lighting, generous storage cupboards and off-street parking.
Priced from £350,000 the Camden features a light, airy living area opening on to a generous rear garden. Upstairs, a spacious master bedroom with ensuite bathroom and a second double bedroom and bathroom offer plenty of room for family or guests.
Stamp duty and legal fees paid*
Purchase a Camden property before 30 November 2018 and, if you’re a first time buyer, Curo will pay your stamp duty. First time buyers are required to pay 5% tax on the value that exceeds £300,000 (up to £500,000) when buying their first home – this means that with our offer, you could be saving a minimum of £2,500.
To give you the best possible start on your journey to homeownership, we’re also offering to pay your legal fees when using our recommended solicitor, helping you make further savings.
High quality flooring included
We know that moving can be stressful – that’s why we’re including free high quality flooring in our exclusive offer – that’s one less thing for you to worry about.
A great place to live
Mulberry Park is a vibrant, growing community. A new purpose-built children’s nursery and primary school opened in September and a state-of-the-art community Hub will also open its doors to local residents later this year. With a café, fitness classes and events spaces, the Hub will be a great place to meet and make friends in the heart of the neighbourhood.
Mulberry Park is within easy reach of local shops and facilities in Combe Down village and the bars and restaurants of Bath city centre – a perfect base to explore city and country.
Step on to the housing ladder
With Help to Buy, the Camden could be the perfect home to get you started on the property ladder. You could own your dream home with just a 5% deposit. You’ll need to be able to take out a mortgage for 75% of the value of the property and the government will fund the remaining 20%.
Our friendly sales negotiators can help make your home ownership dream a reality. Pop in to our marketing suite on Bradford Road or call 0345 140 5050 to speak to our team about our Camden homes at Mulberry Park.
*Offer available to first time buyers only. Selected plots only, subject to status, availability, terms and conditions. *Offer available until 30.11.18. Prices correct at time of print. Speak to the sales negotiator for details. External image is computer generated, image of The Camden.
7th August 2018
Curo is proud to announce its support for this year’s Clutton Flower Show, taking place Saturday 11 August at the Rudges Field.
The Show, now in its 81st edition, is a landmark event for the local community, attracting hundreds of visitors every year from Clutton and the surrounding areas.
Lisa Howells, Curo Sales Director, says: “We’re delighted to lend our support to this popular event and to help bring together the local community. The Flower Show is an excellent opportunity for local people and families to spend time outdoors and enjoy fun activities. We hope everyone will have a great time!”
“Supporting the communities we work in is part of our mission at Curo. Alongside being the local provider of affordable housing in Clutton, we are also building 36 beautiful new homes at our Highbury Fields development.
“Off-plan sales of the 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms homes will be launched in September when full details of the properties available to buy outright and through shared ownership will be made available.”
Aubrey Willcox, chairman of the Clutton Horticultural Society, organisers of the Flower Show, says: “We’re very pleased that Curo and our other sponsors, the Whitehall Gardening Centre and the Clutton Parish Council, stepped in to help make sure the Show remains as accessible as always and that it can be enjoyed by as many local people as possible.
“This year’s Show is filled with attractions for visitors of all ages, including a bake off competition, a jazz concert on Sunday as well as magic shows, dog shows, falconry, a samba band, vintage vehicles and more!”
The Clutton Flower Show will be opened by Jacob Rees-Mogg MP and local gardening broadcaster Mary Payne with a special guest appearance by local celebrities and Gogglebox stars, Mary and Marina.
3rd August 2018
Bath-based housing association and house-builder Curo has been shortlisted for two national awards recognising the success of its sales team and flagship development, Mulberry Park.
Curo are finalists in the ’Home Ownership Team of the Year’ and ‘Best Large Development’ categories at the National Housing Awards, run by the National Housing Federation (NHF).
Lisa Howells, Curo Sales Director, says: “These awards recognise excellence, innovation and creativity in the housing sector and we’re delighted to have been nominated in two categories this year. Our customers are at the very heart of everything we do and we’re proud to help many families each year find their perfect home.
“Our sales people are experts in all housing products and schemes available, supporting customers through the process to homeownership whether they are at the start of their journey or looking to move up the property ladder.”
So far 84 families have started a new life at Mulberry Park, Curo’s development of 700 homes, open spaces and community facilities in South Bath.
Lisa says: “Housing associations are making a positive contribution to delivering new homes across all tenures. A recent Savills report confirmed that Curo are outselling our Bath competitors including national housebuilders, another endorsement of our ‘profit for purpose’ approach.”
Curo Construction Operations Director, Jonathan Poole, says: “We build high quality, energy efficient homes and we strive to use the latest house-building technologies for the benefit of customers. All homes at Mulberry Park are
designed to ensure energy efficiency and low running costs for residents, incorporating features such as low energy lamps and built-in USB chargers as standard.
“In the third phase of the development, we’ll build our first certified Passivhaus homes - ultra-low energy, close to zero carbon status properties that require little energy for space heating or cooling.”
This is Curo’s third shortlisting for Mulberry Park this year, after becoming a finalist in the ‘Best design for three storeys or fewer’ category at the upcoming Housebuilder Awards and winning the Bath Life Awards in the Property category back in March.
Winners for the National Housing Awards will be announced at a gala dinner in London on 6 September.
3rd August 2018
On Saturday 4th August, Curo will open a new view home at Mulberry Park.
The Camden is a stylish, contemporary two-bedroom home. Designed for modern living, it’s packed with practical features including energy efficient heating and lighting, generous storage cupboards and off-street parking.
The Camden, priced from £340,000 has a light, airy living area opening on to a generous rear garden. Upstairs, a spacious master bedroom with ensuite bathroom and a second double bedroom and bathroom offer plenty of room for family or guests.
Whether you’re a first time buyer or looking to downsize, the Camden offers space inside and out to make your own.
Mulberry Park is a vibrant, growing community. A new purpose-built children’s nursery and primary school open in September. This Autumn a new, state-of-the-art community Hub is opening too. With a café, fitness classes and events spaces, the Hub will be a great place to meet and make friends in the heart of the neighbourhood.
Mulberry Park is within easy reach of local shops and facilities in Combe Down village and the bars and restaurants of Bath city centre – a perfect base to explore city and country.
Step on to the housing ladder
With a Help to Buy the Camden could be the perfect home to get you started on the property ladder. You could own your dream home with just a 5% deposit.
The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is available to both first time buyers and those that have bought a property before. If you have the minimum 5% deposit and want to buy a new build home, you'll be able to access the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme. You will need to be able to take out a mortgage for 75% of the value of the property and the government will fund the remaining 20%.
A smooth move with Curo
Our friendly sales negotiators can help make your home ownership dream a reality. They can explain the buying options available to you and guide you through the range of high quality finishes to make your new house a home. All our new homes also come with the peace of mind of a 10 year NHBC warranty.
Pop along to Mulberry Park on Saturday 4th August to make a date with your dream home.
22nd June 2018
This summer, Curo's delighted to welcome Mulberry Park's newest resident to the neighbourhood. Mowlberry Beak is coming to roost outside the marketing suite on Bradford Road as part of a city-wide sculpture trail.
Curo is proud to sponsor the Minerva's Owls of Bath sculpture trail, which takes inspiration from the Roman Goddess Minerva, whose animal symbol was the owl of wisdom. The trail features over 80 individually designed owls displayed across Bath and the surrounding area from June to September 2018.
Mowlberry Beak is painted by local artist and children's illustrator Beccy Blake. Beccy drew on the local area for her beautiful design which features a mulberry tree packed with details of life in Combe Down, Foxhill and Bath. Local historical figures, Harry Patch and Ralph Allen gaze out from Mowlberry's eyes, while details from Combe Down's stone mining past and its links with the military can be found among his feathers.
Beccy Blake said: "I was so excited and felt honoured to be chosen as an owl artist, it's been great fun both researching all the lovely memories and historical facts from local Combe Down people to pencilling it out and finally painting it. I hope everyone enjoys Mowlberry Beak when on their Owl tour."
Curo has also donated an owlet to Combe Down Primary school. Patch has been decorated by the school's pupils in a beautiful patchwork design, inspired by Combe Down's famous son Harry Patch, the last fighting Tommy. Patch will go on display on The Avenue in Combe Down village.
Curo's sales manager, Susan Harrison said: "We're delighted to be involved with this year's Owls of Bath trail. It's a fantastic way for people to explore our beautiful city and celebrate local communities like Combe Down. We look forward to welcoming Mowlberry Beak and lots of owl spotters to Mulberry Park during the summer."
Owl spotters can pick up trail maps from the Bath Visitor Information Centre, Bath Aqua Glass by Bath Abbey and Waterstones in Milsom Street; or they can download the mobile app from the App store or at go.blispa.com/owls.
Curo has its roots planted in the local community, as a housing association and house-builder with 13,000 homes in the West of England. Its award-winning development at Mulberry Park has drawn inspiration from the local area, from the planting of over 6,000 native trees and shrubs to streets named after local residents who served in WWI. For more information about homes at Mulberry Park, call 0345 140 5050 or visit www.curo-sales.co.uk/mulberrypark.
Photo credit: Bath Chronicle and Paul Gillis
29th May 2018
Children from Combe Down Primary School couldn't believe their eyes when a large white owl came to roost in their playground this morning.
The owl, part of this summer's Minerva's Owls of Bath sculpture trail, was donated to the school by Curo. Curo's sales manager, Susan Harrison handed the owl over to head teacher, Jane Gascoigne and a group of enthusiastic children. Although Combe Down's owl looks a little pale at the moment, the children have already been working on colourful ideas to bring him to life.
The owl will go on display in Combe Down village and will feature on the Owls of Bath app and over 10,000 printed trail maps, along with over 70 other owls roosting across the city this summer.
Curo's own owl, Mowlberry Beak, can be spotted at Mulberry Park during the summer. He is currently being decorated by local artist and children's illustrator Beccy Blake.
Susan Harrison said: ""We're delighted to be involved with this year's Owls of Bath trail. It's a fantastic way for people to explore our beautiful city and celebrate local communities like Combe Down. We can't wait to see how the children from Combe Down Primary School decorate their owl and look forward to welcoming Mowlberry Beak and lots of owl spotters to Mulberry Park during the summer."
Photo shows: Susan Harrison, Sales Manager at Curo [back row centre]; Jane Gascoigne, Head teacher at Combe Down Primary School [back row right] and children from Combe Down Primary School including Faith (age 11), Thomas (age 11), Mason (age 5), Coral (age 10), Sam (age 8), Layla (age 6), Naomi (age 9) and Ava (age 6).
10th May 2018
A safe, secure home is the foundation of any successful, independent life, yet long term tenancies and homeownership are out of reach for many in our region. At a time when private rents in Bath are the highest in the South West and house prices continue to rise, more and more families are struggling to afford a place to live in the city.
Curo is Bath's largest social landlord, managing more than 13,000 properties and building hundreds of new homes every year. The housing association lets homes on social and affordable rents and offers new properties for shared ownership to people who can't afford to buy on the open market. For example, recent customers at Mulberry Park, a couple in their 30s working in the not-for-profit sector, say: "We were working at the Bath City Conference last year. My husband and I had been living with his parents and we saw the sign for the shared ownership exhibition and decided to find out what it was because we had no idea.
"After speaking to the Curo team, we realised that shared ownership might finally be the way for us to move into our own home. Even with both my husband and I working full-time, we knew we wouldn't be able to afford a home outright in Bath. This scheme has helped us get onto the property ladder and finally be in a place of our own.
The couple moved in to a brand new 3-bedroom semi-detached house at Mulberry Park in April and could not be happier:
"Our new home is so wonderful. We still cannot believe it! We were especially surprised at the size of the rooms and how well designed the house is. It is more than we could have dreamt of. Without shared ownership we wouldn't be here in our lovely home today. I would recommend this scheme to anyone."
To deliver the affordable homes our region desperately needs, Curo builds and sells properties on the open market, creating income that goes back into its core charitable purpose. Each new home sold enables the organisation to deliver two new affordable homes. Alongside investing its own profits, on some schemes Curo can secure grant funding from partners like Homes England and the local authority.
Many of the new affordable homes are built by Curo, but the organisation also buys homes from other developers, meaning more affordable housing can be made available faster for local people. Over the past year, Curo has delivered 118 new affordable homes and has started work at a new site in Clutton where a total of 36 homes will be built including 12 for social rent and shared ownership.
Over the next three years, Curo plans to deliver more than 750 new affordable homes in our region. On top of that, the organisation was recently granted planning permission to build 89 homes in Peasedown St John, of which 31 homes - or 35 per cent - will be affordable housing.
Outside B&NES, Curo has put forward plans to deliver 185 new homes in Lawrence Weston, Bristol. More than half of these, 94 homes, will be for social and affordable rent and shared ownership.
For its customers, affordable housing means much more than subsidised rent- it offers secure long-term tenancies and, for buyers, enables people to make a first step to owning a home through the shared ownership scheme. Ultimately, affordable housing makes it possible for local people and families to put down roots and build their life in a stable home.
9th May 2018
Curo's flagship development in Combe Down, Mulberry Park, has won the Property category at this year's highly sought-after Bath Life Awards. The results were announced in March at a gala dinner that brought together more than 500 people to celebrate businesses and organisations in the city.
A panel of ten independent judges singled out Mulberry Park from a shortlist of seven finalists which included two other high-profile residential developments in Bath, an architecture practice, a specialist renovation firm and two leading property agents.
The judges were impressed by the "huge sales increase" at Mulberry Park and recognised the organisation behind the development for being "so important to the city, with a clear sense of purpose" and "notable civic activity".
Lisa Howells, Curo Sales Director, said: "We're delighted and very proud that Mulberry Park has won this award which recognises people, projects, businesses and organisations that make a positive difference to the city.
"There are currently 79 families living at Mulberry Park and every week we are welcoming more people in to their modern, energy efficient new homes. Mulberry Park is quickly becoming a new destination in the city, providing not only beautiful homes, but also green open spaces and community facilities, including a new 210-place primary school and 70-place nursery due to open in September."
The school and nursery are part of a state-of-the-art facility that will also include a café, meeting rooms and multifunctional spaces and will sit at the heart of the new community, within easy reach for residents of Combe Down.
Mulberry Park is a development of 700 new homes laid out over 47 acres on the southern slopes of the city. The new homes at Mulberry Park have been designed by award-winning London architects HTA Design with modern family living in mind.
To find out more about the homes at our award-winning development, pop in to Curo's marketing suite on Bradford Road. Our sales negotiators are on hand seven days a week, from 10 AM to 5:30 PM. You can also speak to us on 0345 140 5050 or email email@example.com.
29th March 2018
Last week the National Housing Federation published their latest Home Truths South West report, highlighting the pressing housing situation in B&NES, where the gap between house prices and earnings continues to widen at more than 13.8 times the average salary. Getting on the housing ladder has never been more difficult for people in our region.
But government-backed initiatives such as Help to Buy and the low cost home ownership scheme known as Shared Ownership are helping, giving millennials the push they need to buy their own home.
A report published by Halifax earlier this year shows that the number of first time buyers has been growing steadily over the past six years and now account for almost half (49%) of all house purchases with a mortgage, compared with 36% a decade ago.
Helping people on the housing ladder
Most Bathonians will know Curo as the largest registered provider of social housing for local families in need of a quality, affordable place to live. But the organisation also helps people struggling to buy a house to get a first foot on the property ladder with Shared Ownership. This article outlines the steps to accessing the scheme and becoming a homeowner.
1. Save up
As with any home-buying process, saving up for a deposit is crucial. However unlike buying a property on the open market, Shared Ownership only requires a minimum 5% of the share that is being purchased - for example, if a property costs £200,000 with a 40% share available to buy at £80,000, the deposit required will only be £4,000. Legal fees and other related expenses usually add around £2,500 to the initial purchasing costs so it's important to budget for these additional costs.
2. Find your dream home
To see what properties are available from Curo on a Shared Ownership basis in our area, go to www.curo-sales.co.uk or www.helptobuysouth.co.uk – where house hunters also need to register their interest once they found a property they like.
3. Find out what you can afford and if you're eligible
After you've registered your interest on helptobuysouth.co.uk, Curo will look at your finances to check if you are able to sustain the monthly mortgage costs, rental and service charge payments, as well as if you have sufficient savings to cover the 5% deposit and other costs associated with purchasing a home.
All Shared Ownership homes are alocated on a 'first come first served' basis, but some properties may also require a 'local connection'– this ensures that local people have priority to homes in an area where they live, work or have strong family ties.
4. View the property and submit your reservation
At this stage successful buyers will be able to view the property they've chosen if the building process is advanced enough and submit an 'off plan' reservation. You'll need to fill in a form with details of your mortgage lender, solicitor and the property chosen. A non-refundable reservation fee of £300 is also required but this will be deducted by Curo from the purchase price.
5. Attend a Shared Ownership interview
Once Curo have accepted your reservation, you will be invited to a meeting with a sales negotiator who will explain the purchasing process. At this point you will also need to show proof of your income and savings. Curo will then send you a letter confirming your reservation and outlining next steps.
6. Secure your mortgage and appoint a solicitor
This is when you need to speak to your chosen bank or building society and proceed with your mortgage application. As standard practice, the lender will carry out a valuation of the home and it will take around 3-4 weeks before your full mortgage offer is released.
You'll also need to appoint your solicitor – it's important to 'shop around' as charges do vary, but if you need help choosing, Curo can put you in touch with solicitors experienced in Shared Ownership. Aside from the solicitor's fee you will need to cover disbursements, searches and VAT costs. The government website www.tax.service.co.uk offers a straightforward calculator to help you find out how much stamp duty tax you'll also need to pay.
7. Exchange contracts
Solicitors will take around 28 days to review the contract and lease, carry out a local authority search and investigate the title of the property before you can sign the contract. They will then exchange contracts with Curo, who will provide at least 10 working days' notice of completion. On the day of completion, you will be met at the property to receive the keys to your new home.
The scheme is available through housing associations like Curo for new build properties and re-sales of Shared Ownership properties. The low cost home ownership scheme is available to first-time buyers, or those who used to own a home but can no longer afford one, with a combined household income of less than £80,000.
For more information about Shared Ownership watch Curo's video at www.curo-sales.co.uk/buying-options.php#sharedownership.
Curo homes available through Shared Ownership now
Curo has a selection of Shared Ownership properties available to buy, with new homes being released periodically. Here are a few properties available right now:
- 8 x two-bedroom apartments at Factory's View in Keynsham with 3 x two-bed houses coming soon
- 5 x two-bedroom apartments at The Meadows in Keynsham
- 2 x one bedroom maisonettes at the Thornbury Fields development in Thornbury
New Shared Ownership properties coming soon at Mulberry Park:
- 2 x two-bedroom houses
- 8 x one bedroom apartments
- 8 x two-bedroom apartments
Below is a cost breakdown example of one of Curo's Shared Ownership properties at the Factory's View development in Keynsham:
Full market value: £246,840
50% share: £123,420
Service charge/month: £65.46
Sinking fund/month: £30.00
For more details go to www.curo-sales.co.uk or call 0345 140 5050.
29th January 2018
Construction work has officially started at Curo's newest housing development, Highbury Fields, situated in the picturesque village of Clutton. The scheme will deliver 36 new homes for local people, including 33% affordable housing for rent and shared ownership.
Highbury Fields is a development of 2, 3 and 4 bedroom properties, with the first homes due for completion in spring next year.
Curo Managing Director, Gerraint Oakley, said: "We're delighted to be able to build much-needed new homes in Bath & North East Somerset and we're excited to see work finally starting on site.
"With the highest private rents in the South West and average house prices amounting to nearly twelve times the median salary in B&NES, it's paramount for house-builders like Curo to continue to build more homes, particularly affordable housing, for local people.
"This site, along with our other developments, underlines our commitment to being part of the solution in the housing crisis we're facing locally and nationally. We don't have shareholders; we generate profit for purpose by building and selling homes on the open market and reinvesting the income to provide more affordable housing."
The development was named after the nearby Highbury Hill, the site of an Iron Age hillfort used for its advantageous defensive position.
Local heritage is further celebrated in the name of the new road that will border the development's south side. The name – Greville Road - was chosen by local residents and the Parish Council for its connection to the village's mining legacy. Greville was the surname of the Count and Countess of Warwick, who owned the Clutton Collieries and built the Maynard Terrace row of cottages, situated next to Highbury Fields, for local miners.
Meet the builders on 30th January
To give local residents the opportunity to find out more about the construction works and the new homes at Highbury Fields, Curo is hosting a drop in event at Clutton Village Hall on Tuesday 30th January from 3pm to 6pm, when visitors can meet the project team.
7th November 2017
On Monday 6th November the first paving stones were unveiled at Mulberry Park, Bath to honour those from Combe Down who served in World War I.
Mulberry Park is Curo's new development of 700 homes, community facilities and open spaces in southern Bath. Local group Combe Down Heritage Society suggested that the streets within the new development were named after the young men of Combe Down who served in World War I. Each street will be marked with a commemorative paving stone.
The first paving stones to be unveiled honour Henry John 'Harry' Patch, William George Chivers and Herbert Charles Windell. Harry Patch, "the Last Fighting Tommy", was the last surviving combat soldier of the First World War from any country. All three men grew up in Combe Down village.
Relatives of William George Chivers attended to see the stone which honours him. Jonathan Cope, who grew up in Combe Down said: "We're really touched that our relative is being honoured in this way. Our family has a strong connection with Combe Down – my mother even worked on the former MOD Foxhill site. It is really important that future generations remember the sacrifices of those who fought in the world wars."
Liz Potter, Chair of housing association and house builder Curo, said: "It's a real privilege to work with the local community to honour these men. As Mulberry Park develops, we will continue to celebrate the history of the local area while looking forward to an exciting future for new and existing residents."
Curo has worked with Combe Down Heritage Society and stone carving students from Bath College to create the commemorative paving stones that will mark each street. The paving stones were kindly donated by Forest of Dean Stone Firms. Stone carving student Jonny Stoker said: "It's my way of paying respect to those who fought in the First World War, especially coming up to Armistice Day. I'm looking forward to visiting the site and seeing all the stones laid together in situ. I think that will give me a massive sense of achievement. Volunteering for projects like this gives me the chance to test what I've learnt at college."
A ceremony to unveil the first paving stones was held on Monday 6th November and was attended by representatives of Combe Down Heritage Society, Bath College, the Royal British Legion and B&NES Council.
Photo (L-R): B&NES Council Chair, Cherry Beath, Mulberry Park Sales Negotiators, Shannon Bull and Emily Adams, Curo Chair, Liz Potter
31st August 2017
Shared Ownership was originally introduced in the late '70s to help people struggling to buy a house to get a first foot on the property ladder. The scheme is now provided by housing associations and offers the purchase of a share in a property, usually between 25% and 75% of its value. The housing association owns the remaining share, for which the shared owner pays rent. It's not unusual for the shared owners' monthly mortgage payments and rent to add up to less or the same as they used to pay while renting a home privately.
Curo is one of the largest housing associations in the South West, with Shared Ownership homes available across the region. Beth and Cory, both in their late 20s, moved in to a two-bed end of terrace maisonette at Curo's Drew's Meadow development in Devizes with their two-year old son earlier this year.
Beth, a post lady, and her partner Cory, who works as a tradesman, previously lived in a privately rented property in Devizes for two and a half years. Beth said: "Our friends attended one of Curo's open days and mentioned the new development to us. Because we lived so close we could watch the homes being built and we became interested in the types of properties that were going to be available.
"We contacted Curo who advised us to register with Help to Buy South. We then provided Curo with our reference number to carry out the affordability assessment and that's how the process started. We are first time buyers so we found it very reassuring to be kept informed on the progress of the property and the purchase by Curo's sales team."
How it works
Lisa Howells, Curo Sales Director, explains how Shared Ownership works: "This housing scheme is a stepping stone for people and families working towards owning a home outright. It means that they are able to buy what they can afford, giving them the breathing space they need in order to make the next step - either purchasing additional shares in their home in 10% increments, or moving on to another property."
Buying further shares in the property is a process known as 'staircasing' and can normally be exercised up to 100%. Rent paid by the shared owners will reduce every time they staircase. Once they reach 100% they become outright owners and no longer need to pay rent.
This is something Beth and Cory are already thinking about. "It would depend on our financial situation, but yes, we would like to staircase," said Beth. "For the time being we like having more space for the three of us, especially our two-year old, who can run around and enjoy the garden. We're pleased with the added security of living in our own home rather than renting and not knowing whether we might be given notice to leave.
"We're hoping to stay in this property until our family expands; we may require an extra room but both bedrooms are very big so we could look at splitting one of them.
"The area is very familiar to us as we only lived around the corner so we knew we were going to like it here. Our family is close to us and we even have friends living on the development which is nice."
Shared Ownership from Curo is available to first-time buyers, or those who used to own a home but can no longer afford one, with a combined household income of less than £80,000.
Lisa said: "We have Shared Ownership properties available in various locations in the South West, including at our flagship Mulberry Park development in Bath. They usually get snapped up pretty quickly, but we release new homes periodically and they will all be advertised on www.curo-sales.co.uk."
For Beth's family, being able to buy their home through Shared Ownership means that they can stay in the area they love for as long as they want to. Beth said: "I would definitely use Shared Ownership again, I think it's a really good scheme. With me only working part-time I didn't think we would be able to get something as nice as this."
Shared Ownership in numbers
Based on the price of a two-bed semi-detached property recently sold by Curo in Bath & North East Somerset, £260,000, here is a basic example of how Shared Ownership works:
-Property price: £260,000
-Buyer / Curo share: 40% (£104,000) / 60% (£156,000)
-Buyer's deposit: 5% of 40% share (£5,200)
-Mortgage required: remaining 35% (£98,800)
-Monthly rent for the share owned by Curo: £357.50
The monthly mortgage payments will depend on the buyer's specific circumstances. On top of this, Shared Ownership buyers will also have to budget for monthly service charges, which will vary from one property to another.
The figures shown above are for illustration purposes only. What you can buy depends on meeting the criteria, your affordability assessment, the share you buy and the mortgage deal you are able to secure. Your circumstances are unique and you should always seek advice and recommendations from an Independent Financial Adviser regarding mortgage products, affordability, interest rate, terms, conditions and method of repayment.
30th August 2017
There is still time to reserve a property at Mulberry Park and move in to a new home by Christmas.
Families dreaming of an extra bedroom or a low maintenance, energy efficient new-build home in Bath can now make their wish a reality just in time for Christmas. Curo have new homes available for reservation at the sought after Mulberry Park development in Combe Down that are ready to receive their owners before the festive season.
The properties are a collection of three and four bedroom homes with prices ranging from £316,000* for mid or end terrace and semi-detached houses to £440,000* for townhouses, with Help to Buy. The government's popular Equity Loan scheme enables house hunters to secure a property at Mulberry Park with a cash deposit of only 5% and a mortgage for 75% of the property value, with the government funding the remaining 20% through a payment and interest free loan for the first five years.
Lisa Howells, Curo sales director, said: "Christmas is everyone's favourite time of the year when families come together to enjoy the holidays. What better present is there for a family than a modern, warm and comfortable new home?
"Designed with energy efficiency in mind, our homes at Mulberry Park are stylish, spacious and easy to maintain. The high quality spec includes fully fitted Halvanto kitchens, perfect for cooking a delicious family Christmas dinner quickly and hassle free."
There's more on offer to tempt house hunters, with Curo's Smooth Move and Swift Move schemes designed to take out the stress associated with moving house.
Swift Move provides a quicker way for homeowners to sell their property at market value, while saving money on estate agent fees, advertising and marketing costs. Meanwhile, Smooth Move makes it possible for homeowners to part exchange their current property for a new house at Mulberry Park without having to sell their property first.
Lisa added: "Our friendly sales team is always on hand to help customers throughout the process of buying a new home, from offering advice on mortgage providers and helping with solicitors to guiding customers through a wide range of finishes to help them create their dream home.
"In addition, our Swift and Smooth Move schemes are in place to further simplify the process of moving home for existing homeowners.
"There are only a handful of homes available to purchase and occupy before Christmas at Mulberry Park and our sales team, alongside our Independent Financial Advisers and solicitors can help you move in within four to six weeks – plenty of time to get settled in a gorgeous new home for the festive season."
Mulberry Park is a development of 700 new homes, community facilities and open spaces, laid out over 47 acres on the southern slopes of the city. The new homes at Mulberry Park have been designed by award-winning London architects HTA Design with modern family living in mind.
The four bedroom townhouses benefit from an open plan kitchen/diner that opens through bi-fold doors to a generous landscaped garden, allowing plenty of natural light in and giving homeowners the chance to enjoy indoor/outdoor living.
To find out more, pop in to Curo's marketing suite on Bradford Road, where there is free dedicated parking. Our sales negotiators are on hand seven days a week, from 10 AM to 5:30 PM. You can also call 0345 140 5050, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.curo-sales.co.uk.
*Help to Buy price, 20% Government-backed Equity loan and 75% Mortgage are subject to status, lender's conditions and availabiltiy. Selected plots only, subject to status, availability, terms and conditions.
3rd August 2017
Becoming a homeowner may seem like a far-fetched dream for many young people in Bath, where the average house price is nearly 12 times the average salary. According to mortgage lender Halifax, the average age of a first-time buyer in the UK is currently 30.
However a report published in June shows that more than 285,000 people, including 240,000 first time buyers, were able to purchase a property through the government's 'Help to Buy' schemes since they were introduced in 2013.
One couple who took advantage of this scheme recently moved into their own home at Mulberry Park, Curo's development in south Bath.
Paul, 25, and Grace, 24, had been renting an apartment in Bathwick Street while saving up for a deposit, but thought they'd have to compromise on size or location to be able to buy a home in Bath.
"We wanted a home at Mulberry Park due to its great location in Combe Down," said Paul. "We were planning to use Help to Buy for a two-bedroom property as we didn't think we could afford a bigger home. Shannon, the Curo sales negotiator at Mulberry Park, discussed the numbers with us and we were delighted to see that we could actually get the three bedroom home we really wanted."
Going for a bigger property will allow the couple to make long-term plans and stay put for as long as they choose to, rather than being forced to move again by changing circumstances.
The government-backed Help to Buy scheme is available on all new build homes and can be accessed by first time buyers as well as existing homeowners looking to move up the property ladder.
Lisa Howells, Curo sales director, explains how it works: "With Help to Buy, you only need to put down a cash deposit of 5% of the property's value. The government will then lend you up to 20% through an equity loan that is interest and payment free for the first five years. This means you only need to get a mortgage for the remaining 75% of the property's value."
Saving up for a deposit while paying rent and bills is particularly difficult in Bath & North East Somerset, with private sector rents averaging at £1,096pcm – the highest in the South West.
"Equity loans through Help to Buy tackle this issue, supporting both people who aspire to own a home and those who are looking to move to a bigger property or a different area," said Lisa. "So far, nine of our homes at Mulberry Park have been purchased through Help to Buy."
Of course, the more a buyer is able to contribute towards a deposit, the lower the monthly mortgage repayments will be.
"Moving in was very exciting, and it's been brilliant so far" said Grace. "We've had a lot of support and advice throughout the process from the sales team at Curo."
"The guarantees that come with a new build have given us a lot of peace of mind as new homeowners. It was also great to be able to choose the finishes we wanted and personalise our new home."
"We look forward to taking advantage of the shops and restaurants that will be available at Mulberry Park and a much shorter commute to work. Having our own entrance and parking is amazing compared to before when I had to lug shopping up flights of stairs and struggling to park. We're also looking forward to being part of this community and meeting new people."
15th May 2017
Curo Sales team were overwhelmed by excited house hunters as their first show home opened its doors on Saturday 6th May.
Prospective buyers commented on how well the show home had been designed and could imagine living there with their family.
Curo sales director, Lisa Howells, said: "We were really pleased with the amount of people that visited the show home on Saturday and have been delighted with positive feedback. The show home has been finished to a high standard and certainly has the wow factor. It was a great opportunity for our buyers that have purchased their homes off plan to come and view a fully completed new home first hand".
5th May 2017
Curo are excited to announce the door to their first show home is due to open on Saturday 6th May.
The Claverton is a stunning four bedroom family home set over three floors. On the ground floor an open plan kitchen diner opens through bi-fold doors to a generous landscaped garden. Upstairs, you'll find an elegant master suite with en-suite shower room, three further bedrooms and a spacious family bathroom. Inside, a fully fitted high gloss Halvanto kitchen includes integrated Neff appliances and quartz worktops, while both family and en-suite bathrooms have been finished with luxurious Porcelanosa tiling.