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First residents move into £4m project to ‘help people buy their own home’

The first residents of an affordable housing scheme have moved into their new homes in Oldham since the nearly £4m project was completed on Hardman Street in Failsworth.

The 14 ‘affordable’ homes were built to ‘help people get on the property ladder’, according to housing providers First Choice Homes Oldham and Lancet Homes. 

The £3.7m scheme includes seven three-bedroom and five two-bedroom houses for shared ownership and two two-bedroom homes for affordable rent.

The ‘energy-efficient’ houses are a part of the First Choice’s £160m project to build 1,100 affordable and green homes in Oldham by 2026. 

Charlotte Satchell-Higgins, 32, is one of the new residents of the housing scheme, who has part-bought her house through shared ownership. Hopeful homeowners can buy between 25 and 75 percent of their homes and pay rent on the remaining percentage until they can afford to buy the remaining share of their home. 

The NHS pharmacy dispenser from Moston said: “I wouldn’t be on the property ladder if it wasn’t for shared ownership. I saw these houses and it all fell into place. 

“Things are so difficult now with house prices. This has made my life so much easier.” 

The shared ownership scheme has come under fire in recent months, with a government report describing how difficult it can be for residents to become full homeowners. 

Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, told parliament in March that too many people saw their shared ownership become ‘an unbearable reality’ where ‘a blizzard of charges’ through maintenance costs and rising rents could leave them ‘unable to afford full homeownership’. 

But Joel Owen, a director from First Choice Homes Oldham said: “Demand for affordable housing locally outstrips supply and high house prices and lack of affordable options mean many local buyers struggle to secure a home of their own and make their first step on to the housing ladder. As a not-for-profit housing provider in the area, we are determined to bring forward much-needed developments like this one to make affordable home ownership possible for more people.

“To keep costs for much-needed new homes at an affordable level, we always ensure that any chargeable services are kept to a minimum and for these homes at Hardman Street, the shared owners receive help from us to pay for qualifying repairs in the first ten years.”

The red-brick terraced homes on Hardman Street were built on brownfield land. The project received almost £620k in funding from Homes England, a public body which helps fund affordable housing in the UK.

The two properties for rent are offered at 80 pc of the market rent. A number of the properties are still available for sale. 

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