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Two deputies propose new scheme to sell houses at 25% discount

Two deputies propose new scheme to sell houses at 25% discount

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Two deputies propose new scheme to sell houses at 25% discount

Wednesday 15 June 2022


Some houses could soon be sold at 75% of their market value if the States back proposals unveiled by two deputies yesterday.

Deputies Peter Roffey and Lindsay de Sausmarez want future developments built by the Guernsey Housing Association to include properties which would be sold at 25% discount to people struggling to get on the housing ladder.

Purchasers would pay no rent because they would be owner-occupiers with complete freehold ownership of their property, but they could not sell the property for more than 75% of its market value.  

Deputies Roffey and de Sausmarez will ask the States' Assembly to back the scheme in an amendment they have submitted to the Government Work Plan, which will be debated the week after next. If their amendment is approved, details of the scheme are likely to be worked out before the end of this year to allow the scheme to be incorporated in the Guernsey Housing Association's next substantial developments, which are likely to be at Fontaine Vinery and Kenilworth Vinery. 

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Pictured: The Guernsey Housing Association's proposed development at Fontaine Vinery could include houses for sale at 75% of their market value if the States approve a scheme being put forward by Deputies Peter Roffey and Lindsay de Sausmarez. 

"We believe the many islanders who aspire to, but are currently excluded from, home ownership need action and not just fine words," said Deputies Roffey and de Sausmarez. 

"Unless they can see a clear path to achieving their legitimate life goals, they may well give up on the island. Guernsey owes it to our own sons and daughters to do better by them than that.

"We understand there is a view in some quarters that, despite this scheme being able to proceed relatively quickly, it should be parked for consideration as part of a broader investigation of possible market interventions. We respectfully disagree. The time has come to move quickly and purposefully towards real and deliverable plans rather than constantly waiting for more wide-ranging reports.

"The main drive for implementing such a scheme is to support the Guernsey tradition of home ownership and a desire to facilitate it as far as possible.

"The particular advantage of this sort of scheme is that it is one of the few types of market intervention which does not tend to stoke house price inflation by adding any more money to an already hot housing market."

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Pictured: Deputies Peter Roffey and Lindsay de Sausmarez say that their scheme is a way of helping people into home ownership without fuelling house price inflation.

The average price of a local market property is 12% higher than a year ago and has surpassed £570,000 - around 16 times the average person's annual earnings.

The draft Work Plan submitted by the Policy & Resources Committee identifies housing needs as one of the two "most pressing and immediate domestic pressures which the States must tackle".

When the Work Plan was published, the Committee's President, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, said: "For this coming year, the pressure on our housing market is one area that we must address urgently, as it creates challenges in many other areas, socially and economically. We have taken some important steps, but we must do more, quickly."

More recently, when speaking on the BBC Radio 4 programme Any Questions?, Deputy Ferbrache said the States' recent record on housing was "disgraceful".

But the Policy & Resources Committee's proposals in the Work Plan ask deputies to vote only on the following high level ideas:

  • "evaluate and implement actions to address private housing market capacity and affordability; 
  • "evaluate and implement actions to address key working housing capacity and affordability; and 
  • "progress proposals to the States by December 2022 on housing need and on management of States’ housing stock."

Deputies Roffey and de Sausmarez do not think those proposals go far enough "because the need is now". 

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Pictured: Steve Williams, Chief Executive of the Guernsey Housing Association, is understood to be in favour of the scheme.

"The details of this scheme can be brought back to the States in time for its implementation as part of the next tranche of GHA developments," said Deputies Roffey and de Sausmarez.

"On behalf of those with aspirational natures but of limited funds, we are asking for permission to bring back those detailed proposals as soon as possible.

"Such schemes have a proven track record elsewhere, the GHA are ready and willing to proceed with it and have checked with local mortgage providers that they would be willing to lend on properties bought in this way.

"The scheme is 100% deliverable.

"It is accepted that there may be other market intervention schemes, such as assistance with deposits, which may also be considered...but these are not mutually exclusive and indeed could work together."

Inside States Chamber

Pictured: Housing is certain to be a central feature of the States' annual debate on their Government Work Plan the week after next.

The amendment from Deputies Roffey and de Sausmarez may not be the only housing-related amendment submitted for the States' debate on the Work Plan, which will start on Tuesday 28 June.

Minutes after Deputy Ferbrache made his comments on national radio about the States' "disgraceful" record on housing, Deputy Neil Inder announced that he and Deputy Ferbrache would take a proposal to the States' Assembly to try to force a housing action plan by the end of the year. 

Deputy Inder has not yet submitted his amendment. The normal deadline for submitting amendments is 15:00 on Monday.

Pictured: Deputy Neil Inder announced on Friday evening that he and Deputy Peter Ferbrache were preparing an amendment on housing for the States' meeting later this month.

READ MORE...

Proposed discount housing scheme "promotes home ownership"

PODCAST: P&R chief wants to inject "hope and aspiration into housing"

States' housing record "disgraceful - but there is no magic wand"

P&R says States "must tackle" housing costs and cost of living

Average house price rises by more than 12% in a year

Pictured (top): Deputy Peter Roffey, President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security, which is responsible for social housing policy, and Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, President of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, which is responsible for general housing policy, and Vice President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security.

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