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What is Co-Ownership Housing?26th February 2018

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Since its introduction in 1978 the Co-Ownership Housing scheme has helped more than 27,000 households, across the country, become homeowners in their own right.

If you’re beginning to make your first tentative steps into the property market, or are looking for new options for a future move, then its worth considering and understanding the Co-Ownership DIYSO (Do It Yourself) Shared Ownership scheme.

We answer the key questions below.

What is Co-Ownership Housing?

The Co-Ownership Housing scheme is designed to help potential buyers enter the property market that might otherwise be unable to do so.

The scheme allows participants the opportunity to buy a share of their new home and then pay a monthly rental fee on the remaining percentage outstanding. The share can be anything between 50% - 90% of the property.

Purchasers are known as leaseholders and can increase their share of the property as and when it is affordable to do so. Increments can be purchased in blocks of 5% of more (e.g. 60% to 65%) and this method of gradual purchasing is known as “staircasing” and has proved successful in the past at introducing new homeowners into the property market.

Before considering or applying for the Co-Ownership scheme you should be aware that certain mortgage lenders don’t require a deposit depending on the percentage share you take.

Ulster Bank and Danske Bank don’t require a deposit if the share is 50% to 75% however other lenders, including Halifax, Progressive and Santander, do require a deposit regardless of share agreements.

Who Qualifies for Co-Ownership Housing?

In order to qualify for the co-ownership scheme each individual applicant must comply with the following requirements:

Can’t have owned any property in the last 12 months Must have been employed in current post for minimum 6 months Must have clean credit history for minimum last 12 months Can’t have debt of more than £6000 each Must meet Co-Ownership affordability requirements

Also, please be aware that the maximum price for any property purchased within the Co-Ownership scheme is £160,000.

How to Apply for Co-Ownership Housing

To apply for Co-Ownership Housing you must complete an Application Booklet which can be accessed via this link - https://www.co-ownership.org/home-buyers/application-pack/

You can apply at any time, Monday to Friday, and the fee is £400 for every application. The fee is broken down as follows:

£210 for your solicitor costs £40 for co-ownership valuation £150 for co-ownership admin

Please be aware that your application will be reviewed and judged based on the information you include within your Application Booklet and any other supporting materials. To speed up the process it is recommended that you review all information before applying and ensure that it is completely accurate and up to date.

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The Co-Ownership scheme is an important part of the Northern Ireland property market and we would recommend exploring it as a potential option depending on your circumstances.

For more information feel free to get in touch with our team in the Glengormley office. Together we combine years to Northern Ireland property experience and, as a result, understand the Co-Ownership scheme and how it operates in a practical sense.

Alternatively, for detailed answers to further questions, we recommend viewing Northern Ireland Co-Ownership Housing’s FAQ section here via this link.