“PLENTY of money” is available for Gwynedd residents struggling to get on the property ladder – thanks to a scheme partly funded by big rises in council tax premiums on second homes. Residents are being encouraged to take advantage of the shared equity Gwynedd Homebuy Scheme, which has been extended.
Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet Member for Housing councillor Craig ab Iago is urging people struggling to buy a home on the open market to consider the scheme, saying there are “plenty of funds” available to help. The Homebuy initiative was available nationally, and the local Gwynedd Homebuy Scheme was launched by the council last September.
It has offered the scheme in partnership with Tai Teg and with Welsh Government funding. It combines money raised from the council tax premiums on second homes and funding from the Welsh Government.
From April, 2023, Cyngor Gwynedd has agreed to dramatically increase its council tax premium on second homes, from 100% to 150%. It also agreed to keep the premium on long-term vacant houses at a rate of 100%.
Any extra money is also earmarked to help tackle homelessness. The property scheme allows eligible people to borrow around 10 – 50 percent of the value of a home they want to buy.
The initiative is part of a wider Housing Action Plan worth £77 million by the council. The scheme is available to households with an income of less than £60,000.
Applicants can purchase a property, now worth a maximum of £300,000 (subject to financial assessment). The council says the scheme aims to “address pressures” facing Gwynedd home buyers.
The sum of £13 million has been set aside in equity loans to make the scheme available for those priced out of the market. Loans can pay the difference between the property price and what prospective buyers are able to offer as a mortgage and deposit.
If an individual is looking to buy a property worth £200,000; has a deposit of £10,000 (5%); and can obtain a mortgage of £150,000, then can loan them £40,000 to purchase the property. The percentage of the loan must be repaid, when the house is sold, based on the current value of property at which time an independent valuation is required.
Cllr ab Iago said: “We really want to encourage anyone having trouble trying to afford a home. “Many can’t afford to buy on the open market, so we encourage them to come and talk to us, there is plenty of money available.”
A council spokesperson added: “Since the Council launched the Homebuy scheme locally in September 2022, £13 million has been made available over the next four years, which is around £3.3 million annually and an increase from an average of £300,000 that was previously available per year before the scheme was relaunched.”