As a first for an Executive Minister, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson this week met staff and Board representatives from Co-Ownership Housing at its headquarters in Belfast.
The Minister was invited to meet the organisation to hear about its future plans following the allocation of a further £10million of funding from the June monitoring round which will enable the Association to deliver an additional 200 affordable homes throughout Northern Ireland.
This is also in addition to the £25million of baseline funding already allocated to Co-Ownership Housing to support the purchase of 700 affordable homes during the current financial year.
Speaking after the visit, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said: “The Co-Ownership Scheme is proving beyond doubt that it is helping more people take their first steps on the property ladder as well as assisting those seeking to re-enter the housing market.
“As Finance Minister I have and will continue to work closely with the Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland in progressing discussions with local lenders and welcome the commitment already made by those who are offering loans to individuals on a no-deposit basis.
“This further additional funding is evidence of the Executive’s commitment to increasing sustainable homeownership and stimulating some much needed activity in the local property market.”
The Minister added: “Figures show that demand for the scheme continues to be high and appropriate funding is therefore vital in providing further help for new homeowners.
“Already the scheme has achieved over 2,000 affordable homes during the current budget period.
“Not only will homeowners benefit from the additional allocation made in this monitoring round, but it will provide a further boost for our construction sector supporting the industry as we all strive to recover from the current economic climate.”
Alan Crowe, Chief Executive of NI Co-Ownership Housing added: “We are seeing real practical benefits from the Executive’s commitment to increasing sustainable home ownership through its funding of successful schemes such as Co-Ownership as well as engagement with the mortgage and construction sectors.
“As a direct result we are now able to deliver a minimum of 900 homes this year for Co-Ownership buyers, and many of those homes will be new build with mortgages provided by locally based lenders.”
Notes to editors:
1. The Co-Ownership Scheme is administered by the Northern Ireland Co-Ownership Housing Association (NICHA) and was set up to meet the need for affordable home ownership in Northern Ireland.
2. Co-Ownership purchasers have the opportunity to purchase part of a property on an equity sharing basis, with the option to eventually own their own homes.
3. The scheme has been running successfully since 1978 and has assisted more than 23,000 households to purchase a share of their homes.
4. The choice of property, mortgage provider and mortgage product are matters for the individual Co-Ownership purchaser.