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Research reveals real cost of an “affordable” home

Monday, 25 June 2012 11:33 AM

Buyers of “affordable” homes pay an average of 12 per cent less than the average for the market as a whole, according to a survey by the Halifax.

The bank looked at typical prices paid under shared ownership, shared equity and other low-cost house purchase schemes.

The gap varies by region, with the highest affordable price £243,841 in London (20 per cent less than the market as a whole) but only £132,684 in the North East. The average is £161,839.

However, the research was published as an investigation in The Guardian revealed that the most expensive “affordable” home in the country is on sale for £705,000.

The most expensive apartment in the Central Square development in central London would cost £2,322 a month for the mortgage on a 25 per cent share plus rent on the rest. One-bed flats in the same block start at £365,000 and cost £1,209 a month in mortgage and rent.

The Halifax research concludes that 79 per cent of homes bought under affordable housing schemes are newly built.

The average affordable home is also one room smaller than a typical home, partly reflecting the fact that 42 per cent of buyers are single adults against 29 per cent for the market as a whole.

More than two-thirds of affordable buyers are first-time buyers, against 30 per cent of all those buying with a mortgage, and almost half are aged 20 to 29, compared to a quarter.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: "Affordable home ownership schemes offer a cheaper alternative to buying a home but with the flexibility of allowing the occupiers to increase their share over time.

"This has particularly been true for first-time buyers who account for the largest share of the market. Of all the various low cost home purchase schemes, those under the builders' own shared equity schemes and FirstBuy umbrella have proved to be the most popular."

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