One-on-one interview: Jeanette Grady of Riverside Home Ownership
This week, we speak to Jeanette Grady, sales & new business manager at Riverside Home Ownership, about her company, shared ownership and the property market.
What regions do you cover?
Riverside is one of the largest housing associations in the UK. We cover virtually every region in England and our subsidiary, Irvine Housing, operates in Scotland. Riverside Home Ownership is the specialist division of Riverside that develops and manages leasehold properties and housing for sale through shared ownership and other affordable purchase schemes. We work in partnership with the local Riverside offices to provide housing right across the country.
What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas?
Being a national organisation, we face different market conditions in each region. Of course house prices vary considerably across the country but wherever we develop, there is still a massive demand for affordable housing, particularly to buy. Our affordable homeownership schemes are always extremely popular and bridge the gap between the traditional sale and rental markets.
What types of properties is your firm selling?
We develop many different types and styles of home for shared ownership. We’re currently selling two- and three-bedroom family houses around the North West and East Midlands and have just sold our last two-bedroom apartment at an ‘extra care’ development in Tyneside. In the past we’ve built and sold everything from stylish apartments in city centres to country style cottages in rural Cumbria.
Why should more buyers consider buying a property on a shared ownership basis and how does this work?
Shared ownership is a government backed part buy-part rent scheme. Purchasers buy a share in a home, say 50%, and pay a reduced monthly rent to the housing association on the remainder. They have the option to ‘staircase’ and buy more shares when it suits them and can usually own their home outright eventually.(Here' is more on the process of Staircasing.)
Because you are buying a share, the deposit mortgage lenders require is less too. It’s a great way to take the first step onto the property ladder.
How much does a new home by Riverside Home Ownership typically cost to buy?
Our new homes are priced on open market values so that depends on the location. For a 25% share, we have two-bedroom properties in Liverpool starting from £25,000 and four-bedrooms go up to £53,750. Our houses in Derby are available from £37,500. There’s a rent to pay as well, but the combined monthly cost is usually less than renting the same house from a private landlord.
What is Riverside Home Ownership’s USP?
We’re the experts in affordable home ownership and leasehold management. Riverside Home Ownership has been selling and managing shared ownership homes for nearly 30 years. We’ve won numerous awards for the quality and design of our new homes, excellent customer service and commitment to equality and diversity.
Which of your developments do you think stands the best chance of winning a What House? Award?
Joseph Williams Mews is a development of ours in Lee Park, South Liverpool. It’s the latest in a line of regeneration projects we’ve worked on in the area and has been designed specifically with older people in mind. The properties can be lived in by anyone and the quality of finish is superb.
The bungalows and apartments are centred around beautifully landscaped gardens, onsite care facilities and a brand new café, so there will be a real sense of community. It will really transform the lives of our customers and the local residents so I’m sure it would stand a great chance of winning!