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First Rent to buy homes to be built in Cambridgeshire

Affordable homes provider Rent Plus and King Street Housing Society (KSHS) have unveiled plans to build over 1,000 affordable rent-to-buy homes across four potential sites in Cambridgeshire.

Currently one of the top five least affordable cities to buy property in the UK, the average house price in Cambridgeshire is over nine times the average annual salary. The area has become so unaffordable that families now seem to be avoiding moving to the city in favour of cheaper areas nearby.

The new rent-to-buy scheme will help tackle the current widespread issue of affordable homes across the county. Once built the property portfolio will be managed by KSHS, offering homes to low income families and key workers at a discounted rent with the option to buy after five, 10, 15 or 20 years. Rent plus will also gift a 10% deposit for those that choose to purchase their homes.

Rent plus CEO Richard Connolly said: “Our new partnership with King Street Housing Society will form the foundation of our ambitious plans for Cambridgeshire. Our goal is to deliver over 5,000 rent-to-buy homes by 2020, and it is our intention that over 1,000 of these will be in the region. These homes will make a vital contribution to ensure that the area’s key workers have an affordable pathway to homeownership.”

“Rent-to-buy is an innovative model that gives families who are just about managing the opportunity to fulfil their dreams of homeownership while offering them the safety and security of a long-term tenure.

Set up in 2013, Rent Plus aim is to help alleviate the current affordability crisis. The company leases its properties to housing associations such as KSHS, who then manage and provide housing services to tenants currently on council waiting lists.

Cllr Lynda Harford, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "We know that people in the district have a very wide range of housing needs.

"Clearly, we have people in need of social rented homes as they are not able to, or may not want to, get on the housing ladder. However, we also have a huge number of people who are the squeezed middle.

"These families often have a good household income but are struggling to afford to buy their first home, often because saving a deposit is difficult.

"We are working really hard to find innovative ways to address the problem and warmly welcome Rent plus’ plans that will help local people in the area."

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