Stonewater is celebrating the first anniversary of an unusual home ownership scheme that offers a lifeline to colleagues struggling to get onto the property ladder.
10 colleagues having difficulty affording a place of their own are now homeowners and another 14 are in the process of buying homes as a result of the housing provider’s myOwnHome pilot scheme.
Stonewater introduced the new type of shared ownership initiative, specifically designed for its employees, in 2019 as part of its mission to give everyone the opportunity to have a place they can call home.
myOwnHome offers eligible colleagues the opportunity to choose a property available on the open market, either a new-build or re-sale, which Stonewater buys on their behalf.
They can then buy a share (between 25-75%) of their home, depending on what they can afford, and pay discounted rent on the rest.
A year after its launch, Stonewater says the scheme has helped transform the lives of colleagues facing various barriers to fulfilling their dream of a home of their own.
myOwnHome aims to support colleagues overcome financial constraints preventing many of them from achieving home ownership in high-value areas such as Reading and Bristol.
Given current expensive land prices, Stonewater is not looking to build new homes in those locations, meaning colleagues in these areas are not able to take advantage of the company’s standard shared ownership schemes.
Nick Harris, chief executive at Stonewater, said: “A year on from launching the scheme, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to achieve and how its benefited many of our hardworking colleagues.
“Given the challenges we currently we face, we believe more people are going to be looking to shared ownership as an affordable way of getting onto the property ladder, so I’m pleased that we have also made this a viable option for our colleagues too – ensuring they have the opportunity to own a home that truly suits their needs.”
Shared ownership is usually funded by a government grant at a 12.5% cost, but Stonewater is subsidising myOwnHome, with any surplus made being invested into building more affordable housing.
In its first year, the scheme has been limited to board funding of £5m, which Stonewater says will be assessed in subsequent years.
Main image: Nick Harris, chief executive at Stonewater, announcing myOwnHome at company day
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