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Growing First-Time Buyer Programme 15 February 2007

The Department of Local Government and the Environment has published an update newsletter for prospective First-Time Buyers.

Juan Watterson, MHK, who is now the political Member responsible for affordable housing said,

“This latest newsletter shows that the Department has an exciting pipeline of new developments for First-Time Buyers. New ‘approved’ homes are being provided on the Department’s own land such as Johnny Watterson’s Lane in Douglas and, just as importantly, on land owned by Housing Developers. Leading companies like Heritage Homes, J G Kelly and Hartford Homes are providing affordable properties, built to the Department’s standards and at prices within the House Purchase Assistance Scheme.

I am also pleased to note that a high proportion of homes in the programme are two and three-bedroomed houses as well as good quality two-bedroomed apartments.”

The newsletter states that 312 new ‘approved’ homes have been sold to First-Time Buyers since 2002 and that by 2009 a further 440 homes should have been completed.

Richard Senior, Director of Estates and Housing, confirmed that since the new build programme commenced in 2002 some 454 approved homes had been sold or are currently on offer to people who are on the First-Time Buyer Register. The Register was reviewed in October last year and now stands at over 700 applicants. It continues to grow at around 30 new applicants per month, which confirms demand is still high for good quality, affordable housing. He went on to say that although average house prices continued to rise, he is pleased to note that purchases of existing open market properties, have been buoyant over the last 18 months or so, running at about 10 purchases per month.

The obvious high demand for affordable homes shows that the Government needs to continue with its policy of supporting the provision of “approved” housing through planning policies and directly on the Department-owned sites.

The newsletter has been sent to everyone on the First Time Buyer Register and copies are available by telephoning Customer Services on 685955 or the Department’s website www.gov.im/dlge/housing/first.

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