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New Wrexham developments feature as part of £63m affordable housing plans across region

A social housing provider has unveiled plans for new developments in Wrexham County Borough.

Clwyd Alyn says it is set to create 380 affordable, sustainable homes for local people across the region costing around £63 million.

The developments have been financed with £37 million of Welsh Government funding secured in partnership with local authorities, together with private finance arranged by Clwyd Alyn.

In Wrexham this involves new developments in both Pontfadog and the Brymbo areas.

Clwyd Alyn, which currently manages over 6,000 homes and employ more than 700 people across seven county areas, completed a total of 277 new homes and one community hub in the last financial year, including 200 specialist extra care apartments across North Wales.

Locally this includes Maes y Dderwen, a million pound extra care housing scheme for older people in Wrexham, which welcomed its first tenants in 2018.

Located on Grosvenor Road near the town centre, it is specifically designed for local people aged 60 or over who wish to live independently in a home of their own with the peace of mind of 24-hour access to care support.

The total number of homes developed by the organisation over the last two years, combined with those currently being built, or proposed for the years ahead, represents a total investment of £221 million covering the creation of a of 1,435 homes.

Commenting on both current and future developments locally, Craig Sparrow, executive director of development for Clwyd Alyn said: “In Wrexham County last year we completed Maes Y Dderwen, a state-of-art extra care development with 60 apartments, promoting independent living for older people and we’ve recently also welcomed new residents to a development of 50 general apartments in Rivulet Road.

“We’re also currently creating new homes in Pontfadog and we are proceeding with proposals for 70 homes in Brymbo.”

Clare Budden, group chief executive of Clwyd Alyn added: “We know there is a significant shortfall of social and affordable housing across Wales, with increasing levels of homelessness, growing waiting lists and too many people living in poor quality and short-term housing.

“We are working in partnership with local authorities and other agencies and working hard to deliver our mission; – ‘Together to beat poverty.’

“We firmly believe that by building new affordable homes, working in partnership, and through delivering a range of support services, we can encourage and help people to live well and build their own strong communities.

“We have a total of 792 homes either completed during the last two years, in progress, or about to start on site. We have proposals for another 643 homes for the years to come, representing an overall investment total of £221 million and 435 homes.

“We would like to thank the Welsh Government and all our Local Authority partners from across the region for their support in helping us to provide these vital homes bringing hope and joy to local people for generations to come.”

Source: Wrexham

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Affordable housing finance scheme relaunches to help people at risk of homelessness

A Community Benefit Society working to end the housing crisis by providing affordable and emergency housing to people who need it most is launching the second round of its secure property-based financing arrangement.

Providing an “ethical alternative to buy-to-let”, Reap from Equfund sees ethically minded investors lend their money to provide decent, safe, and affordable housing for people at risk of homelessness.

Reap invests in property to provide affordable rental homes for people in housing need. Every acquisition is rigorously assessed to ensure it can provide a durable and reliable cash income stream for investors. The management of the property is handled entirely by Equfund.

With a minimum investment of £15,000, investors will receive a fixed monthly income (from the rental income) with a flat interest rate of 3% per annum without the associated risks, responsibilities and inconveniences of being a landlord. 100% of the original lump sum is returned to the investor after five years, and the invested amount and their monthly income is unaffected by voids or (maintenance costs) if the property requires maintenance.

The first round of Reap raised over £3,750,000 when it first launched in 2015, double the target amount. In this second round, Reap has transitioned from primarily investing in and refurbishing long-term empty homes to acquiring properties that are ready to move in. This transition, which was brought about by the worsening housing crisis in the UK, allows the company to act with greater speed in providing housing for those most in need and to allocate more investors’ funds against property.

Reap protects investors’ money by only borrowing 85% of the property value and the loan is registered against property at HM Land Registry much in the same way a mortgage is

Unlike many other property schemes, there are no fees involved and Reap guarantees to secure the investment against UK property and does not rely on property price growth to generate an income for investors. Each property has its open market value assessed by an independent chartered surveyor, and investors can arrange to visit a property prior to allocating their funds against it. For further security, and to limit exposure to any single property or locality, investors can request to have their money split and lodged against more than one property.

Reap actively rents to tenants in receipt of Local Housing Allowance or Universal Credit, with the belief that doing so is an important step in breaking the cycle of housing poverty caused by rampant discrimination of people in receipt of housing benefits. Reap goes as far as to assist LHA tenants with the paperwork required to claim their correct allowances and will help to submit this to the local council on their behalf.

Andrew Mahon, director at Equfund, said: “With the government seeking to gain more control over the private rented sector, the buy-to-let market has become progressively complex over the last 12 months, and the next 12 months will see yet more considerable changes to the sector. Investors no longer see much sense in putting their hard-earned money into a market that increasingly offers less rewards and more headaches and exposes them to great risk if they’re not fulfilling all of the new regulations.

“With Reap we’re offering a viable alternative to this broken system that not only tackles the growing housing crisis in the UK with a long-term solution, but also provides a stable and predictable income for socially responsible investors who still want to have a slice of the property market.

“We’re proud of the work we’ve done. We have a proven track record over the last decade in addressing the housing crisis with ethical and sustainable solutions. This second round of Reap will turbocharge the all-important work we do of putting a roof over the heads of those who most need it.”

Source: Scottish Housing News

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Annual price growth in Scotland at 3.9% is almost double that in England and Wales

Property prices in Scotland increased by 3.9% in the 12 months to July 2018, more than double the rate of growth recorded in England and Wales, the latest index data shows.

The average price is now £181,075 and Edinburgh and Glasgow accounted for a third of Scotland’s increase on a weight adjusted basis, according to the Your Move index.

However, on a monthly basis, prices in Scotland fell for a third consecutive month in July, dropping 0.4% but the index report says that while price growth has slowed in Scotland, the market continues to be supported by low interest rates and more affordable housing than most regions in the UK.

A breakdown of the figures show that prices in Edinburgh were up 4.6% annually to a average of £266,614, while growth in Glasgow was 4.1% to £159,700.

But overall growth was led by the Shetland Islands, at 14.6%, with increases across all property types, but particularly in detached properties. On the mainland, prices in West Dunbartonshire, which has direct trains to both Glasgow and Edinburgh, have increased 12.6%, boosted by sales of high value properties over £300,000.

West Lothian, another major contributor to the market, meanwhile, has also recorded double digit annual growth, with prices up 12%.

On a monthly basis, increases are led by Stirling, with prices up 3.7% in July to £208,077. It was one of two areas to set a new peak price in the month, with Renfrewshire the other. Prices there increased 1.4% in the month and are up 8.5% annually to reach £156,619.

When it comes to prices falls, the biggest are in East Ayrshire, the second cheapest area in Scotland, which has seen prices drop 3.1% annually, while the second biggest drop is in East Renfrewshire, the second most expensive area in the country where prices fell by 1.3%.

‘The market in Scotland is holding on. While everything is notably slower, almost all areas continue to show annual growth, and drops still remain modest,’ said Christine Campbell, Your Move managing director in Scotland.

Source: Property Wire

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Ministers accused of abandoning thousands in need of social housing

Ministers have been accused of “abandoning thousands of people who need social housing” after charity Shelter revealed 33,000 working families are living in temporary accommodation in England.

The charity’s analysis suggested 55% of families living in temporary housing were working in 2017 — up 73% on 2013.

The charity blamed a mix of expensive private rents, a housing benefit freeze and a chronic lack of social housing.

The SNP’s housing spokesman, Alison Thewliss, blasted Housing Secretary James Brokenshire over the figures — telling him that “under this Government work no longer pays”.

Mr Brokenshire responded, telling MPs that the Government is committed to ensuring everyone has “a safe and decent place to live”, adding that more than £1.2 billion has been made available to support those left homeless and £9 billion has been pumped into social and affordable housing.

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Shadow housing secretary John Healey hit out at the explanation, saying: “This is a Government that’s had more than eight years to do the job and what the Government’s doing is not working.

“Home-ownership rose under Labour and has now hit a 30-year low under the Conservatives. You can’t just stoke prices with tax cuts and home-buyer loans; we need to build more low- cost homes to make home-ownership more affordable.”

Labour MP Sarah Jones (Croydon Central) said: “Thousands of people who desperately need social housing are being abandoned as this Government, which entirely pulls out of social housing.”

Mr Brokenshire hit out at Labour’s record and said he “entirely rejected the characterisation” of the Government’s record.

He added: “We are dealing with what has been a broken housing market, something that has existed over many, many years on that lack of investment.

“That is why this Government is committed to investing £44 billion into the home-building agenda in the coming years, something that is about transforming life chances.”

Source: Shropshire Star