24 May 2022
Currently one in six people in Northern Ireland are over 65, and this is expected to increase to one in four by 2045. An ageing population undoubtedly presents challenges to the access and provision of suitable affordable housing.
With this in mind, at Co-Ownership, Northern Ireland’s regional provider of shared ownership, we wanted to provide a solution to this by offering a further route to affordable home ownership alongside our Co-Own and Rent to Own products.
There are many reasons why a person might want to move in later life – to be nearer to friends and family, wanting a home that is easier and cheaper to heat and maintain, responding to health and/or mobility issues, or having never been a homeowner they might find themselves with a lump sum and would like to buy a home.
Co-Own for Over 55s was created for older people who want to move home but the problem is that the value of their current home or their savings doesn’t stretch to the cost of the home they want to move to. It was designed to help by bridging the gap between the value of their current home or savings and the cost of the new home.
Co-Own for Over 55s enables a customer to use the equity from the sale of their current home or savings to purchase a share of at least 50% in their new home, and Co-Ownership buys the rest. The customer can retain up to £25,000 from their savings or from the sale of their home to help them in later life. We encourage the customer to ‘right size’ when selecting a new home for themselves, they can choose a home anywhere in Northern Ireland, an existing or new build property, and it should be suitable for their needs now without immediate adaptation.
Bringing this product to market also may also encourage developers in Northern Ireland to build more suitable homes for people in later life. The research is clear, we have an ageing population, increasing year on year and we need appropriate homes for them.
I am excited that at Co-Ownership we can offer a further route to affordable home ownership and believe that Co-Own for Over 55s provides a solution to changing housing needs in later life.
Co-Ownership will be sponsoring the housing team of the year award at the upcoming All-Ireland Housing Awards which is due to take place on 27 May 2022.
Charles O’Neill is director of product development at Co-Ownership. His role focuses on making enhancements to the Co-Ownership products and research and development of new products and services within the organisation.