News: Armed forces housing boost

Wed, 02 Jan 08

The Government has launched a new scheme to help members of the armed forces onto the property ladder...

For the first time, service personnel and their families currently living in service housing in all regions will be eligible to apply for a shared equity loan to help them onto the housing ladder.

Under an extension of the Government’s low cost homeownership programme, service personnel who qualify could boost their buying power by up to 32.5 per cent with a regular mortgage topped up with a shared equity loan, provided by the Government and one of four private sector lenders.

Currently, a family on a combined income of £40,000 could typically obtain a mortgage of just £160,000 independently. If eligible for shared equity support, they could potentially buy a home valued at around £210,000.

Ongoing commitment

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper said: “This new support recognises the vital contribution our Armed Forces make to our communities. We want to help more key workers, like service personnel, and other first time buyers get a foot onto the housing ladder. That's why we have set out investment of £10.2 billion to provide thousands more affordable and social homes.”

Undersecretary of State for Defence, Derek Twigg, said: "I am delighted that the Government is making it easier for members of the Armed Forces to buy their first home. This is a further demonstration of the Government’s ongoing commitment to our Service Personnel.”

Military personnel are also currently able to buy a newly built home, paying a minimum 25 per cent of the price and a reduced rent on the remaining cost of the home, through the low cost homeownership programme.

The Government is also using the Housing and Regeneration Bill to ensure that service personnel are treated fairly when applying to councils for social housing or homelessness assistance.

Local connection

Under existing housing legislation, members of the Armed Forces won't have a “local connection” with the district where they are serving or living. This can put them at a disadvantage, since if you don’t have a local connection you may get less priority for social housing or, if you are accepted as homeless, you may be referred to another local authority where you do have a local connection.

Ministers are amending the law so that service personnel will have a local connection with the area which they are stationed or living in. This will put them on an equal footing with civilians.

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper added: "It is only right that we provide our servicemen and women with the best possible support as they move back to civilian life. The service our Armed Forces give to their country must not place them in any disadvantage when applying for council housing.”

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