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Shared equity scheme to help Ceredigion young people buy their first home supported

A COUNCIL backed shared equity scheme to help young people buy their first home in Ceredigion has received backing with the intention that it be in place within 12 months.

Ways of helping those affected by increasing house prices and reduced availability – with second homes highlighted as a significant issue in west Wales – have been developed by Ceredigion County Council’s independent group.

Council officers had been tasked with examining the viability of a scheme and shared equity was presented as a short term solution to corporate resources committee on Monday (February 7) with longer term solutions to be developed.

Russell Hughes-Pickering, corporate lead officer for economy and regeneration, said that a similar scheme had been successfully administered by the council in the mid-90s and there were still 28 properties on the ‘low cost ownership register’ with values now at least four times the initial investment that has to be repaid to the council when sold.

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He added that a shared equity scheme could be “worked up” for the first year of the new council administration following elections in May while officers worked “concurrently” on future options.

Cllr Ifan Davies, independent group, said “we’ve got to start somewhere and I think this is the right place to start with shared equity.

“It is important this is on the agenda of the new administration and we drive this forward for the young people of Ceredigion.”

An initial £650,000 is available – for approximately seven to ten loans – from second home council tax premiums but funding in future years would need to be established the committee was told.

Questions were raised about mortgage lenders and if they would support applications from such a scheme, and the need to address low wages and problems in saving deposits to buy a home also highlighted.

Cllr Elizabeth Evans called for a closer look at ring-fencing money from second homes and empty properties to support community benefit schemes, similar to neighbouring counties, and agreed that discussions be deferred for a year.

A number of recommendations relating to the scheme and its funding from send home premiums, including details on eligibility and implementation to be prepared within 12 months, were approved by the committee and sent to full council.

The intention is that the matter will be discussed again before the election purdah period for a decision to be made prior to the May vote.

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