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.