UK’s first affordable rent to buy homes to be built in south west city

Plans have been announced for the UK’s first affordable rent to buy homes to be built on a development in the south west of England.

Plymouth based housing companies Persimmon Homes and Rentplus have signed an agreement to develop 19 new affordable rent to buy homes in the city to help tackle the region’s housing shortage and help people into home ownership for the first time.
The properties are part of a 139 home development built by Persimmon Homes at William Prance Road, Derriford, as part of Plymouth City Council’s Get Plymouth Building programme.

‘With average house prices in the South West now close to £230,000 and in some places more than £300,000 and average earnings in the region among the lowest in England, we have an unbelievable housing situation where many houses cost more than 10 times the average annual household income,’ said Rentplus chief executive, Richard Connolly.
‘Rentplus is designed to make housing accessible for all those who wish to own their own home and we look forward to working with partners in Plymouth and across the country to help tackle the housing crisis,’ he added.

The first homes at Palmerston Heights are now complete and Rentplus is working with Tamar Housing Society to identify suitable tenants in need of an affordable rented home who aspire to buy their own home in the future.
The Rentplus homes are available at affordable rents up to 80% of the local market rent for an agreed period of between five and 20 years. Once the rental tenancy has finished, residents are given the opportunity to buy their Rentplus home and will be given a 10% deposit by Rentplus to do so.
Palmerston Heights is close to a historic 19th century fort and includes a mix of two, three and four bed houses and one and two bed flats available on the open market or through rent to buy and shared ownership schemes. An additional five social rented homes will be managed by local social landlord Tamar Housing Society.
The Rentplus homes will be marketed and allocated to households by Tamar Housing Society through Devon Home Choice housing register which enables local households to be considered for affordable housing which becomes available in the area.
Figures from the South West Housing Initiative show the region is the fastest-growing in the country, but has the nation's biggest regional housing crisis. A report from the National Housing Federation shows that private renters in the South West are spending 35% of their earnings on rent, the third highest rent to income ratio in the country.

A study in June 2013 found there were more than 10,000 households on Plymouth’s housing register, underlining the importance of building new homes in the region.
Julie Barnett, chief executive of Tamar Housing Society, believes it is vital to provide affordable housing to those who need it most. ‘These new homes go a long way towards helping to tackle the housing crisis we are currently seeing across the South West,’ she said.
‘At a time when social landlords across the country are facing cuts, companies like Rentplus are offering an alternative, sustainable opportunity for long term tenancies and home ownership for residents without the need for any public subsidy,’ she added.