What is a discounted for sale home?
Most major residential schemes are required to provide a certain number of properties for sale to eligible people and families at a discounted price.
The level of discount may vary between sites and locations, but typically it will be between 20% and 30% of the value of the properties when sold on the open market. If a ‘first home’, the discount could be far greater. This means, for instance, that a house normally worth £200,000 on the open market would be available for sale to eligible people at a price of £160,000, if discounted by 20%.
Please be aware that if you purchase a discounted property, when you come to sell it, you must sell it to another eligible person or family at the same discounted level. This is because the discounted rate is applied for the lifetime of the property in order to ensure it remains permanently affordable. The requirement for this will be written into the title or lease of your property.
Normally, we will be responsible for agreeing the discounted price with you or your estate agent, and making sure that the new owner meets the eligibility criteria. You should be aware that, although we try and be as efficient as possible, these checks can sometimes slow down the sales process. The legal responsibility is for you to contact us before you put your home on the market so that we can advise you of your requirements at that stage.
If you purchase a discounted for sale home, then you will own and be wholly responsible for the property. You will not have to pay any rent. You may, however, have to pay service charges for the upkeep of the estate (such as green spaces or play areas, or if you have purchased an apartment, the common areas of the apartment block such as the foyer and corridors), and you will need to check this with your solicitor before purchasing.
Who is eligible?
The eligibility criteria for discounted homes will vary from site to site and you will need to check with us or your solicitor about the details of the property you are interested in.
Normally, the requirements will be set out in the planning agreement (the ‘section 106 agreement’) at the time permission was granted for the housing development. Some older planning agreements have very few restrictions on who can occupy the affordable homes, whereas others, especially those brought forward with government funding, may have strict eligibility criteria.
As a general rule, we would normally require that purchasers of discounted for sale homes are first-time buyers aged between 23 and 40, or otherwise that they live or work locally and cannot afford to purchase a similar property on the open market. If the latter, you will be required to send us a signed, letter headed statement from an FCA accredited finance advisor.
Your finance advisor will need to let us know that, based on your circumstances, you would not be able to afford the property you are applying for at the full open market value and could only afford it at the discounted price. You will also be required to provide confirmation of local connection. If you live in Warrington, we will need proof of your address such as a utility bill or council tax bill. Alternatively, if you work in Warrington, we will need evidence of this from your employer.
If the discounted home is provided under the 'first homes’ initiative, then the eligibility criteria that have been set by the government are that:
- You should be a first-time buyer as defined in paragraph 6 of schedule 6ZA of the Finance Act 2003 for the purposes of Stamp Duty Relief for first-time buyers; and
- You should have a combined annual household income not exceeding £80,000 in the tax year immediately preceding the year of purchase; and
- You should have a mortgage or home purchase plan to fund a minimum of 50% of the discounted purchase price.
These national standard criteria also apply at all future sales of a first home.
How do I apply?
New discounted properties are normally sold to eligible applicants directly by the housebuilder. If you are interested in a new discounted property on a particular estate, you should contact the housebuilder’s sales team and tell them that you are interested in the discount for sale properties.
The sales team should take your details and your evidence of eligibility (see below) and pass them on to us for verification. If you are eligible, then we will issue a certificate to the housebuilder in order to let the purchase proceed.
Second-hand discounted homes are normally sold in the same way as open market homes using estate agents and web-based platforms. The vendor should stipulate the restrictions on the property, and make it known that it is only available at a discounted price to eligible households.
If you are interested in a second-hand discount for sale property, then the same verification process takes place, and you should ask your solicitor to forward your details to us. Your solicitor should advise you on any occupancy restrictions that have been placed on the property.