We are extremely happy to announce that The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust has just secured a total of £3 million from the Scottish Government to fund our very successful Rent to Buy Scheme.
This funding will contribute towards the building of around 25 new homes in rural areas around the whole of the Highlands. The houses will be rented for five years to people who cannot afford to instantly buy their own home within the current property market.
The Rent To Buy scheme is an innovative way we look to secure affordable housing for individuals and families who are struggling to get on the property ladder.
Rent To Buy – An Affordable Way To Own Your Own Home
The tenant rents the home for a period of 5 years in an attempt to save up a deposit before purchasing the property. After this 5 year period, HSCHT will also return a percentage of the rent paid to go towards the deposit on the home.
Due to the attachment of a Rural Housing Burden, where the trust maintains 20% equity of the property, it is possible to sell the house to the tenant for about 20% lower than the market value. We also hold the right of pre-emption on the property.
The price of the homes are agreed upon at the beginning of the rental period, ensuring the tenant is not affected by rising house prices.
This will be our third phase of Rent To Buy developments, currently in the process of supplying around 37 new homes to people around the Highlands. In the past our projects have been developed in the following list of villages and towns, some of which (mainly Phase 2) we are currently working on or are due to start shortly:
Phase 1 – Dornoch, Fodderty, Beauly, Auldearn, Lochcarron, Gairloch and Sheildag.
Phase 2 – Dornoch, Gorthleck, Inverarnie, Auldearn, Sheildag, Balmacara, Kyleakin, Flodigarry, Aviemore, Strontian, Acharacle, Invergarry and Mallaig.
Our third phase of Rent To Buy units will aim to supply great affordable housing solutions to towns and villages around the Highlands. Various and different housing types will be supplied to more communities, as HSCHT aim to benefit people in new areas of the Highlands, and perhaps in communities we have worked with in the past.
In an interview with STV News, Ronnie MacRae, our chief executive, said:
“The Scottish Government’s approach to innovative and increased rural development is hugely helpful, and this scheme which has various benefits is proving extremely popular with individuals, contractors and communities alike. The scheme is based entirely on loan finance which has the potential to be recyclable and provide social and economic benefit to rural communities for the longer term.”
The Housing minister Margaret Burgess, who announced the funding during today’s Scotland Policy Event has stated:
“This successful Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme is giving people who might not otherwise have been able to afford their own homes the opportunity to get on the housing ladder. Despite financial challenges over the last few years from Westminster, housing continues to be a priority for us. We are three quarters of the way towards achieving our target of 30,000 additional affordable homes by the end of this Parliament. This boost to the Rural Rent to Buy Scheme will make sure rural communities don’t miss out and they also benefit from new affordable houses which otherwise would not have been built”
Margaret Burgess came to visit some of our projects earlier this year during the summer. She was even present to mark the completion of our Rent To Buy and Greener Homes projects in Fodderty. Meeting with the 4 families as they settled into their new homes – 4 semi-detached modern and sustainable designs by MAKAR Construction.
MSP Margaret Burgess, Visiting Our Fodderty Homes Earlier This Year With Our Chair Bill Hall
We are very excited about these new developments, and hope we are able to help people and communities greatly in the near future.
Click on this link – 3 Million For Highland Homes – to read the full press release by the Scottish Government about the fund.
If you would like any information about our current Rent To Buy Developments, contact me at email@example.com
In other news this week at HSCHT, the first two of our Greener Homes in Alness have been bought, with each looking forward to moving in to their new new modern and sustainable houses. We are currently still looking for tenants to the other two homes in Alness, as well as properties in Dornoch, Kyleakin and Lochcarron.
This blog post focuses on some of the projects we have in the Easter Ross and East Sutherland area of the Highlands. Various housing schemes that we provide are occurring in the town of Dornoch; while Alness is in the process of providing new properties under the Greener Homes Initiative. Our main contractors in these areas so far have been J & S Gunn Ltd, and Pat Munro Homes.
Recently we have had a mass increase in the provision of affordable housing in the Dornoch area. Having originally provided 2 semi-detached properties through our first phase of Rent To Buy developments, we are on our way to completing a further two homes as part of our second phase of Rent To Buy.
Our first of these developments was built by J & S Gunn Ltd. – two x three bedroom semi-detached properties completed in September this year. This project was done as part of our first phase of Rent To Buy homes. Both are now occupied, with 2 families now been given the opportunity to own their own home after renting the property for 5 years before purchasing at a reduced, below-market price. This is made possible by the attachment of a Rural Housing Burden to the property.
Rent To Buy Phase 1, Dornoch
Rural Housing Burden – A means of protecting the original discount offered on the home.
If you buy a home of ours which has this attached, you will still have full title to the property, although HSCHT holds a pre-emption right. Whilst you can pass the home onto your children, if you decide to sell it, this right of pre-emption which gives HSCHT the option to buy is back for the previously agreed equity share. This allows us to keep our house prices low, and maintain our ability to provide housing to families who may otherwise struggle to own their own home.
Nearing completion, and available for occupation early in the new year, we have 2 semi-detached bungalows, complete with front and back garden and off street parking. These houses are available to local families and individuals through the second phase of our Rent To Buy Scheme.
Rent To Buy Phase 2, Dornoch
The properties have been built by Pat Munro, as part of their large Deans Park development of new housing of various types in Dornoch. The great new homes – which tie in with the rest of the brand new modern housing and street development – include a spacious, open plan lounge and kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom. In the final stages of construction, these properties are yet to be assigned; so if you are interested in applying, contact us about an application or brochure.
Visualisation of Internal Layout for illustrative purposes.
Due to be complete in February next year, we have also managed to introduce another two homes by J & S Gunn Ltd. through the Greener Homes Initiative – adjacent to the homes they previously built for us as part of our original Rent To Buy scheme.
These Greener Homes are being developed for the Highland Council. The tenants for these properties will be selected from the Highland Housing Register – a register shared between the Highland Council and registered social landlords around the Highlands compiled of anyone in the area seeking social rented housing.
The Greener Homes Initiative -
Following a successful bid from HSCHT and the Highland Council, through the Scottish Governments Greener homes Initiative (GHI), funding was secured to provide 20 units throughout the Highlands. While 13 of these units will be provided by HSCHT, a further 7 will made available by the Highland Council.
The Initiative aims to encourage modern sustainable and environmentally friendly developments, by providing funding to projects which make use of greener technologies, modern methods of construction carbon friendly materials.
Greener Homes, Dornoch
The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust have had a presence in Dornoch for several years now, with another two properties on the same street being sold to families back in 2008 through a shared equity scheme – allowing them to purchase an affordable home due to the attachment of a Rural Housing Burden.
We are also working with Pat Munro in the town of Alness, to deliver four new homes through the Greener Homes Initiative. Located in Newfield, Alness, these four semi-detached two bedroom bungalows can be purchased at a low fixed price now due to the attachment of a Rural Housing Burden.
Greener Homes, Alness
These properties are similar to the units designed and built by Pat Munro in Dornoch. Each includes two bedrooms, a bathroom and a large open plan kitchen and lounge area.
The modern layout is complemented by the modern methods of design and construction, with each encompassing greener ideals, from high levels of insulation to the introduction of Canadian Solar Black Panels. Pat Munro Homes have a proven track record of building sustainable homes, and these are no exception. The houses are designed to have lower running costs and are built to the Scottish Building Standards Silver Active Level of sustainability.
Visualisation of Internal Layout for illustrative purposes
While two of the properties in this scheme have already been completed and assigned to happy tenants, we are still taking applications from people who are interested in moving into the remaining two Greener Homes, which we are due to take handover of the second week in January.
We are currently taking applications for both the Pat Munro ‘Rent To Buy’ properties in Deans Park, Dornoch, as well as the new ‘Greener Homes’ being developed by them in Alness.
If you are interested in any of these schemes, get in contact to receive a brochure and application form. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Wednesday 12th November, we held an Open Day to showcase our Rent to Buy and Greener Homes projects which have been taking place in the village of Lochcarron.
The development incorporates two Rent To Buy units, and two Greener Home units. While the two Rent To Buy properties have been assigned, the Greener Homes are still available for anyone who is interested in applying. (Application instructions can be found towards the end of this blog post).
The Greener Homes Scheme aims to help people who would like to become home owners by providing them with the opportunity to purchase new homes that are sustainable, energy efficient and affordable. Like the Rent To Buy scheme, these properties are available to rent for a 5 year period before the tenant is given the opportunity to purchase the house at a discount of around 20% below the open market value as a Rural Housing Burden is attached.
These contemporary homes built by Highland based contractors, MAKAR Construction, are all single story, 2 bedroom, semi-detached properties with each incorporating a very open-plan layout, while allowing stunning views over the hills and water.
As with all our Greener Homes projects, the units aim to meet the highest of environmental standards, with each house having a very low total of embodied energy. Through the use of locally sourced timber and the natural non-toxic insulation and other materials, the development looks to meet top environmental standards. The air-tight structures includes wood burning stoves to create a warm and and economically sustainable home for each family.
Yesterdays Open Day was a great success, allowing us to showcase these great new sustainable homes to the local community as well as others involved in the project. We were there from the afternoon to the early evening, with many visitors deciding to swing by to learn more about the project as well as get to see inside the modern timber properties.
As we head into the colder winter months, many visitors to the properties commented on how the houses proved to great at keeping the heat in, with the wood burning stove warming up the house.
Prospective tenants who were at the open day were also able to start the thought process of how they are going to furnish their new homes in an attempt the create great new personal living.
We are still accepting applications for the two remaining Greener Home properties, so if you are interested in applying, or would simply like more information, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Alternatively, just give us a call on 01463 233 549.
To find out more about the contractors of this project, head over tohttp://www.makar.co.uk and have a look at some of the other great work they do.
This modern property lies towards the west coast of the country near Ballachulish in the Lochaber area of the Highlands.
In 2008 we sold this vacant plot to a family who would go on to build a home for themselves with help from attaining a Rural Home Ownership Grant from the Scottish Government – a grant which is now no longer available. The plot was a shared equity project, allowing the family a discounted plot for below the land value.
Recently due to work commitments, this family decided to move – resulting in HSCHT fully buying back the property. The Rural Housing Burden previously set on the land, meant the trust has the first opportunity to buy the house.
This has allowed us to provide a great new home to another family, who otherwise may have struggled to find a property in the area. This new family can now cite their close family members as neighbours – a desirable factor in the search for suitable applicants by the trust, as we look to provide homes to people who have a form of local connection to these rural areas.
This family will now rent the property at a reasonable price for 5 years, before being presented with the opportunity to purchase the house. The shared equity we hold and Rural Housing Burden in place allows the family to buy the property at a price much below market value when the time comes.
If you are interested to hear about any similar properties or projects in your area we may have available. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the coming months, I will be visiting our long list of projects in locations around the Highlands. This map shows a selection of projects highlighting the extent of the work the trust undertakes, as well as where the majority of our projects can be found. The project list is always expanding, with HSCHT always looking to work in new areas within the Highlands.
If you have any queries about any of our projects, or are interested in what we currently have available. Feel free to contact me on email@example.com
This blog will feature a wide variety of HSCHT’s developments and types of projects located throughout the Scottish Highlands.
I will be exploring the massive scope of various work the trust undertakes; highlighting the benefits HSCHT is able to provide and already has provided to individuals, families, and whole communities.
Graduate Development Officer, HSCHT
This blog features a variety of CHT’s developments and projects located throughout the central and northern Scotland. It also includes the latest news and updates regarding the Trust.