Arab Press

بالشعب و للشعب
Saturday, May 18, 2024

Where property prices are set by what local people earn

Where property prices are set by what local people earn

A scheme in south London is trying a new approach to property ownership: flats that are only for sale to local people, at prices set according to what local people earn.

"My old landlord actually hugged me, she was so happy for me when I finally got my own place," says Alex Ingram.

The 41-year-old civil servant is delighted with his new one-bedroom flat in Lewisham, in the recently completed Citizens House, a four-storey block of 11 homes.

For the past 18 years Alex has either rented, lodged or lived in flat-shares in London.

This flat cost him £215,000, about 35% cheaper than similar places nearby.

That's because he didn't buy it on the open market. He bought it through a community land trust (CLT).

About 500 locals developed his building with the help of Lewisham Council, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and London CLT, a non-profit that helps neighbourhoods set up and run CLTs.

The locals decided issues like planning, design and, perhaps most importantly, sale prices.

This is calculated by looking at average local income levels, which the flats will continue to track.

Only people who can prove a strong connection to Lewisham for five years - through living or working there - can apply.

New residents have just started moving in to Citizens House in Lewisham, south London


Alex has lived in Lewisham for eight years. Also in his favour, he has been involved with a local charity called Wheels for Wellbeing, which helps disabled people get into cycling.

Other qualifying criteria include being able to get a mortgage, having a child in a local school and showing a demonstrable housing need.

The initiative aims to help people who are priced out of their local area but who aren't eligible to be on the council's housing priority list.

An independent panel decides on the applications.

Because the prices are fixed, these flats are unlikely to appeal as an investment or "nest egg".

An "asset lock" means the flats can only be sold on the same terms on which they were bought.

"I didn't have another option," says Alex. "The existing model of investing in a home doesn't work for me.

"But I think it's better that I have a home that has a stable value. I now have something to start from."

Flats in Citizens House (centre) are around 35% cheaper than similar properties in the surrounding area


The site for Citizens House was donated for free by Lewisham Council, one of the reasons the scheme is financially viable. The land had previously been occupied by a set of disused garages.

It has taken a decade of community campaigning to get the building completed.

However, London CLT believes it can speed up the process and is developing six other projects in the capital, in areas such as Greenwich, Shadwell and Lambeth.

There are 350 legally incorporated CLTs in England and Wales, according to the CLT Network, with 200 more forming. However, the vast majority of these trusts offer properties for rent rather than for sale.

The open market leaves property prices open to speculation, and can result in foreign buyers investing in flats which then lie empty.

But at least it is clear who has the right to purchase properties in this system - the person who bids the most money.

What if CLT flats are oversubscribed and someone feels they were wrongly passed over?

"A robust, fair and transparent process for deciding what sort of homes will be created and who will live in them is vital," says Beth Boorman of CLT Network, "and housing needs can differ from area to area."

Each CLT draws up its own rules and some even use a lottery system to whittle down appropriate candidates.

"No system for buying houses is perfect," points out property expert Henry Pryor. He believes CLTs, which have cross-party political support, are part of the solution to the UK's housing shortage.

There are some obstacles to them becoming a significant part of the housing mix though, he adds.

They rely on finding redundant land that is not available for development.

And, when residents move out, they will find that house prices in the open market have appreciated more than their homes, which may be an issue if they wish to buy elsewhere.

Christian Codjoe is moving into a two-bed flat in Citizens House with his brother. He says he is grateful for the scheme


Christian Codjoe, 30, is due to move into his flat in a few weeks.

He currently lives with his parents. He had saved for a deposit but feared he would have to move to Croydon or Kent to buy a home.

"Interest rates are crazy right now, but even with high mortgage payments the CLT flats are 100% worth it and get me on the housing ladder," he says.

Christian thinks his application was successful because he has lived in Lewisham his whole life, attends a local church and his current home is due to be demolished for a private development.

Fellow resident Kes Gill-Martin, 35, has just moved into a one-bedroom flat with his partner, and agrees.

"Affordable housing is very scarce and finally owning a home is transformative for us.

"This place feels like a massive change in our personal world, but such a small change in terms of what society needs."

Newsletter

Related Articles

Arab Press
0:00
0:00
Close
FedEx Airlines Boeing 767 cargo plane lands on nose at Istanbul Airport
Netanyahu's Firm Stance Amid Rafah Hostage Talks
Blinken on Gaza: Ceasefire is Key to Humanitarian Crisis Resolution
UAE Prime Minister Announces $544M for Home Repairs after Historic Rains, Vows to Learn from Experience
Isfahan Explosions: US Media Reports Israel's Retaliatory Strikes on Iran
Four Dead, Dubai Airport Disrupted: UAE's Heaviest Rains in 75 Years Cause Flooding and Flight Chaos
Dubai Airports: Stranded Tourists 'Living on Duty Free,' Desperate for Food and Water
Heavy Rains Cause Flooding in UAE and Oman: 18 Lives Lost
You can be a very successful player, but a player with character is another level!
Unprecedented Flooding Disrupts Dubai
Ajman Crown Prince Declares Remote Work Day for Government Employees Due to Weather (Except Essential Jobs)
IDF released footage showing Israeli fighter jets downing some of the 300 drones and missiles fired from Iran at Israel.
The West stands with Israel, Iran is furious: "Double standards and irresponsibility"
Huge Queues at Iranian Gas Stations
Stabbing rampage terror attack in Sydney, at least four people killed, early reports that a baby was among those stabbed.
Scandal in Iran after a goalkeeper had the audacity to hug a female fan who stormed the pitch
Iran fired more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight. Israel Reports Light Damage After Iran Launches Large Strike.
Saudi Arabia calls for "restraint" amid Iranian strikes on Israel
Iran launched dozens of drones at Israel on Saturday but they will take hours to reach their targets, Israel's military said
Online YouTube streamer N3ON was just sentenced to AN ENTIRE YEAR in prison in Dubai for filming and live-streaming, without “proper permits”
UN Chief Warns: Gaza Outflow to Egypt Would Derail Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Record Number of Arab Soldiers Serve in IDF Amidst Ongoing Gaza Conflict: A Personal Story of Loyalty and Advocacy
Major Charities Warn of Genocide in Gaza: 'Impossible' to Deliver Aid, Israel Accused of Complicity
Biden Warns Netanyahu: US Aid to Israel Depends on Gaza Civilian Protection
Israel Reopens Gaza Border for Temporary Humanitarian Aid Amid International Pressure
United Arab Emirates suspends diplomatic relations with Israel
DOZENS OF ARMED FIGHTERS ATTACK 3 IRANIAN MILITARY FACILITIES
Qatar PM: Displaced Palestinians Key Issue in Gaza Ceasefire Negotiations
Palestinian Authority Seeks Renewed UN Membership Amid Reforms and International Pressure
Gaza Crisis: Soaring Newborn Mortality Due to Malnutrition and Destroyed Health Facilities
World Bank: $18.5 Billion in Damages to Gaza's Critical Infrastructure and Economy
Iran: Two Generals, Five Officers Killed in Israeli Strike on Syrian Consulate
Israel Passes Law to Potentially Ban Al Jazeera Amid Conflict with Hamas
Turkish local elections: Opposition stuns Erdogan with historic victory
Israel Must "Ensure Urgent Humanitarian Assistance" In Gaza: World Court
Saudi Arabia To Participate In Miss Universe Pageant For 1st Time Ever
Court ruling effectively outlaws Islamic schools in India’s most populous state
"War Crime" Warning by Macron to Israel on Gazans' Forced Transfer
Senior Hezbollah Official Makes Landmark Visit To UAE: Report
Gaza's catastrophic food shortage means mass death is imminent, monitor says
Over 13,000 Children Killed in Gaza, UN Agency Reports
Israeli PM approves Rafah operation plan
Islamic call in British parliament today.
Thai Muslims perform the Taraweeh prayer during the holy month of Ramadan
South Africa announced that Israeli soldiers holding South African citizenship would be arrested upon entering the country
In a Misguided Critique, Jewish US Official Asked to Respect Local Traditions in Saudi Arabia
The Indian government is demolishing mosques as part of the religious war taking place there.
Biden: Netanyahu causes Israel more harm than benefit
Turkish President Erdogan Says March Elections Will Be His Last
Being racist is a full time job
×