£50m Co-Ownership scheme ‘can aid our property market’

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A Larne estate agent has welcomed a £50 million injection for Co-Ownership Housing.

She joined Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland in backing the major investment and believes it will assist the revival of Larne’s property market.

Barclay’s Bank and Bank of Ireland have announced a commitment to provide £25 million each to help people take the first step onto the property ladder.

Co-Ownership is a government scheme to make house buying more affordable. People buy a share of a property and rent the remainder from Co-Ownership Housing.

Jayne Sives, co-owner of Sives Properties, said the three-year funding programme provides a viable option for people struggling to get a mortgage.

She said: “It’s a good thing. Any money or help is good. It’s a good way of picking up with the way the banks are lending at the minute. One of our offers on a house is through Co-Ownership.”

Mrs Sives also said Larne’s property market is showing signs of recovery.

She added: “The prices aren’t going to go down much further. It’s just a matter of time before things pick up. There’s a bit of movement in the market and we’ve a sale agreed last week. In the under £100,000 bracket, if the houses are priced right they will sell.”

Mrs Sives said the huge job losses at FG Wilson has hit the local property market.

Minister McCausland said the provision of good quality, affordable housing is a key priority of the Executive.

He added: “Through the Co-Ownership scheme, government and the private sector are working together to facilitate a better future for those who want a stepped approach into home ownership.

“Last year, along with my colleague, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson, I was able to announce £100 million funding for Co-Ownership until 2014/15.

“Together with this private investment announced today, some 2,500 homes will be able to be purchased, mainly by first-time buyers, over the next four-year period.

“I would encourage those who can, to consider availing of this new funding package.”