Andium planning sale of hundreds of affordable homes for first-time buyers

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JERSEY’S largest provider of affordable housing is planning to sell over 1,200 homes to first-time buyers by 2030.

Andium Homes chief executive Ian Gallichan said the company was ‘working closely’ with Housing Minister Russell Labey to develop new accommodation across a number of sites.

This week hundreds of people told the JEP they had left the Island, or were thinking about leaving, because of the high property and rental costs.

One Islander, Kayleigh Dillon, criticised the affordability of Andium Homebuy – a shared-equity scheme aimed at helping first-time buyers who would be unable to purchase the home they need without assistance.

Mr Gallichan said: ‘Andium Homebuy provides an opportunity for families to buy a home outright for 75% of the actual value. We have demonstrated time and again that the scheme works and, as an example, in recent weeks we have been able to sell three-bedroom houses from our existing portfolio for less than £362,000. Given the low interest rates available at the moment, this makes purchasing a home with Homebuy more affordable than renting for many families.’

He added: ‘We expect to sell more than 1,200 homes to first-time buyers by 2030. We would love to do more and our ability to do so is only limited to having suitable land to build on, which we can purchase affordably. I am delighted that in the past couple of days the Housing Minister has published a list of sites for housing development which he has indicated will be given to Andium Homes to develop. We are working closely with the minister to facilitate the transfer of those sites as quickly as possible so that we can get to work on designing and developing more new homes.’

Andium spokesperson Carl Mavity said: ‘It is really concerning to hear the stories of people leaving Jersey because they feel that they can’t afford to rent or buy a good-quality home. Providing homes for Islanders is one of our major objectives and we have set ourselves the target of delivering 3,000 new homes by 2030, at least 1,000 of these will be for first-time-buyer purchase and the remainder will be added to our rental portfolio; this allows us to continue our programme of selling an additional 60 of our existing rental homes to first-time buyers each year.’

Asked about Ms Dillon’s criticism, he said: ‘We of course understand Ms Dillon’s comments but we do think that the Homebuy scheme which she is referring to may benefit from some additional explanation to clarify a couple of points and to demonstrate just how affordable homes can be with this scheme.

‘When someone purchases through Homebuy they buy the entire property but they pay as little as 75% of the price. We defer payment of the balance, the 25%, almost indefinitely. In practice the balance is only repaid when the property is next sold. No payments are required to be made towards this in the meantime.’

Mr Mavity added that purchasing with the Homebuy scheme was ‘considerably cheaper than renting on the open market’.

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