New tenants met the Mayor of Cherwell who officially inaugurated the ten Rent-to-buy 2 bed apartments in Stratton Park, Bicester on Monday 22nd May.
BBC Radio Oxford featured the initiative and interviewed Zoe Blomer, one of our new tenants, click to play clip:
Rentplus, an innovative business providing rent-to-buy homes, and Harrow Churches Housing Association (HCHA) have welcomed the Lord Mayor of Bicester to formally open their new rent-to-buy development in Stratton Park, Bicester.
The event saw the new tenants come together to celebrate the completion of their new homes, and included speeches from Lord Mayor Les Sibley, Chris Holley, CEO at HCHA and Richard Connolly, CEO at Rentplus, as well as a ribbon cutting ceremony to formally declare the new site open.
Above: Tenants outside their new rent-to-buy apartments with the Mayor, and staff of HCHA, Rentplus & Mulberry Developments
The newly built affordable homes have been hotly anticipated as Oxford has recently been named the UK’s most unaffordable city to live in, with the average house costing £385,372, nearly 11 times the average household salary in Oxfordshire. The ten newly built two bedroom homes were constructed by regional developer, Mulberry Developments, and will form part of the 125 unit site.
Through Rentplus’ unique model, the new tenants will have the opportunity to buy their new homes in just five years, and in the meantime will benefit from an affordable intermediate rent. When it comes to buy their home, Rentplus will give them a 10% deposit towards their purchase.
Above: Tenants left to right: Dimitry, Alex, Tracy, Natalia, Zoe and Jason
Left Zoe & Jason and baby JJ
Zoe Blomer is one of the new tenants, who will be moving in with her partner Jason and four month old baby. Zoe said: “Before owning our new Rentplus home we were living in a two bedroom bungalow with my partner’s father. With so many of us in the home it was getting way too cramped and we really wanted a space of our own. To date, we’ve just not been able to afford getting onto the property ladder in the traditional way.
“I first heard about these rent-to-buy homes through the council. The location is what attracted me the most – it is so close to town and we have good schools right on our doorstep, which means that we won’t have to rely on public transport.
“We are aiming to buy our new home after 5 years. The affordable rent means that we are able to save at the same time – something we were not able to do when we were privately renting.”
Richard Connolly, Rentplus CEO, said: “We are thrilled to be able to help Zoe and Jason, and other families just like them. As one of the UK’s least affordable cities to live in, we are delighted to be working with Cherwell District Council to bring more affordable housing to the local community. Our innovative model gives families who are just about managing the opportunity to fulfil their dreams of homeownership while offering them the safety and security of long term tenure.
“The success of schemes like this will allow us to expand our presence in Oxford, delivering more affordable homes to hard working families.”
Chris Holley, HCHA Chief Executive, said: “It is great to see the collaboration between Cherwell District Council, HCHA and Rentplus finally come to light. These new affordable homes will support working families in Oxford who aspire to own their own home but cannot currently do so. It was great to take time to celebrate the new tenants taking their first crucial steps onto the property ladder.”