New scheme to increase access to affordable housing for older people
Older people will have greater access to affordable homes with the introduction of greater flexibility to shared equity schemes, housing minister Kevin Stewart has announced.
For the first time, older people will be able to access a range of home ownership schemes offered by the Scottish Government.
These can remove the requirement for a mortgage contribution and make older people a priority access group. It can also provide options that brings older people closer to family and care support, and are more affordable and suitable for their needs – including downsizing, or the option to buy a retirement or supported home.
The schemes older people can now benefit from are:
- Open Market Shared Equity Scheme (OMSE)
- Help to Buy Scotland (Scotland)
- New Supply Shared Equity (NSSE)
The minister made the announcement during a visit to the Abbey Place development in Paisley, a successful pilot project by Link Group targeted at those aged 60 and over. The development includes 38 ‘independent living’ homes, aimed at retirement living, through shared equity and social rent.
Mr Stewart said: “People are living longer, which is to be celebrated, and I want to ensure they can access high quality and affordable housing that meets their needs and enables them to continue living independently.
“As we age, our housing needs can change – we are responding to that with new and innovative solutions. These schemes will give older people the opportunity for home ownership that works for them and ensure they are part of our bold ambitions for affordable housing.”
Craig Sanderson, chief executive of Link Group Ltd, said: “We’re delighted that our Abbey Place development has given older people in Paisley the opportunity to buy an affordable, high-quality home suitable for retirement living.
“Schemes such as New Supply Shared Equity play an important part in helping older people purchase a home that’s right for them.”
Councillor Marie McGurk, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s communities, housing and planning policy board, said: “We are committed to providing high quality, affordable homes which suit the needs of older people in Renfrewshire to ensure they can remain in their own home and live independently for as long as possible.
“The Abbey Place development caters for the requirements of older people and has been a key element in the ongoing regeneration of Paisley Town Centre.”
The news has been welcomed by charity Age Scotland.
Director Keith Robson said: “One of the benefits of this scheme is it will help people to downsize, and if they are already existing home owners, it will help free up bigger homes that are no longer appropriate for their needs. There’s clearly a gap in the market for a scheme like this, and it will allow more movement to take place.
“It’s important that older people have a range of options available to them, which are affordable and appropriate as their health and circumstances change throughout their lives. We also want to see options such as more social housing and solutions that allow people to adapt their existing homes.”