Our priorities

Help to get on in life

Delivering homes that are more affordable

The term ‘affordable housing’ is used a lot, but what does it really mean and how can you benefit?

‘Affordable’ is the term used for different types of housing available to our residents who earn below a certain threshold – typically a household income of less than £90,000. This is the type of help available. 

Shared ownership 

Shared ownership allows people to buy part of the market value of a shared ownership property, which can start as low as an initial 25% share of the market value. A low rent is then paid on the remaining part that you do not own.

So, if a one-bedroom flat is worth £400,000 on the open market, purchasing a 25% share will mean a mortgage of £100,000, 10% (£10,000) of which you will need to pay through a deposit leaving a remaining mortgage of £90,000. Rent is calculated at an annual rate of up to 2.75% of the remaining equity, which in this example would be £8,250 a year or £687.50 per month. There would also be a service charge which could be around £150 per month to help towards the upkeep and maintenance of the property, bringing the total household costs to £1,144 per month. To cover these costs a combined household income of £41,225 would be needed which is just under the average household income for the borough (set as £41,428 as of 2016). 

If the same one bedroom flat was bought on the open market, purchasers would be looking at a minimum £40,000 (10%) deposit and a monthly mortgage payment of £1,707 assuming an interest rate of 3% which means you would need a minimum household income of £80,000.

Affordable rent

Wandsworth’s affordable rent products typically reduce the cost of renting a home by at least a third compared to full market value.

A typical one bedroom flat in Wandsworth (prices accurate as of January 2017) costs £315 a week. If you were to rent a one bedroom flat through our affordable rent products you would pay between £202 and £242 a week including service charges because we apply a discount of between 36%-23%.

That discount goes up to between 55%-43% for a three-bedroom property which means that an average rent would be between £228 and £288 per week compared to the full market rent value of £506 a week.

House purchase grants

We offer grants of up to £80,000 (subject to eligibility and a means tested financial appraisal) to enable council tenants to either buy a home on the open market in or outside of the borough or to use towards a shared ownership property within the UK or to use towards adapting a family members home for the tenant to move into within the UK. Household incomes of some of the successful tenants who used the grant to enable them to purchase this year ranged from £7,200 to £57,000.

Our example

Kirstie Clements never thought she would be able to buy her own home until she heard about the council’s house purchase grant scheme. The mother of three-year-old Rae has lived in a Roehampton for most of her life but thought she would have to move out of London to afford her own home. That’s until she was put in touch with Wandsworth Council who assessed whether she would be eligible for a house purchase grant.

Nine months on they have just moved into a 2-bedroom maisonette in Coulsdon after receiving a grant of £80,000.

“The move means everything to me,” says Kirstie who works at HMP Downview in Sutton. “Without the council’s help I would have had to move out of London, but this means I can afford to live here and provide a garden for my little girl to play in.”

The House Purchase Scheme is open to all council tenants who want to apply for a grant to purchase a property which frees up their council property for another family. This year £3.5million has been made available and while the scheme is fully allocated up until March of next year, we are accepting applications for April 2018 onwards.

To qualify you need to have been a council tenant for at least two years and be assessed as needing financial support to buy a home. The scheme is also open to council tenants who want to use the money to adapt another family member’s home so it can accommodate them.

It is just part of a range of help that is available to all residents in Wandsworth find a home that is right for them, whether it is renting or buying. The council has set up a register of people interested in buying part of their home, known as shared ownership.