What is Affordable Housing?

Affordable housing can be provided to households who are eligible because their needs are not met by the open market.

There are different types of affordable housing available in Harrogate, information on them and how to apply is below.

Social rented housing

Social rented housing is owned and let by local authorities including Harrogate Borough Council and housing associations. These homes are offered at the lowest rents which are set by the Government.

Affordable rented housing

Affordable rented housing is owned and let by Registered Providers (Councils and Housing Associations) and homes are managed and maintained in the same way as social rented homes, but higher rents can be charged (up to 80% of open market rent).

Because more rent is charged, the housing providers can generate income to help build more homes. Rents like this are often charged on new build homes.

Housing benefit can still be claimed to assist with paying the rent.

Applying for a home to rent

Most social and affordable rented housing is allocated by the Housing Allocations Team at Harrogate Borough Council. For more information please see apply for social housing page.

Intermediate Housing

Intermediate housing includes homes both to rent and to buy, which are aimed at those households who can't afford the open market but can afford more than social rents.

Typically, this might include households who want to buy their own home or those who might not be given a high priority for rented housing through the council's allocations scheme.

This link to the Government's 'Own Your Own Home' website may help you find the type of intermediate home that is right for you.

Here are some examples of intermediate housing schemes:

Shared ownership

Shared ownership is designed for people who cannot afford to buy a house on the open market but still want to get on the property ladder.

An initial share is bought (usually 25% to 75%) and then rent is paid on the remaining part. There are two monthly payments, one for the mortgage and one for the rent.

However, these are still less than the mortgage would be on an open market property. The other share in your home is owned by a housing association, council or a developer. It may be possible for you to increase or decrease the share you own in the future, known as staircasing.

When you want to sell your shared ownership property, usually you will simply sell the share you own. The council can help with marketing on its website and finding someone wanting to buy who is eligible to apply for the property. Unless your home is within a restricted village or rural area, it could be possible to buy 100% of your home outright so it becomes a traditional open market property.

Shared Equity

Shared equity schemes are usually offered by developers. The schemes help you by providing a loan that acts as part of the deposit, and you would own 100% of the property.

Help to Buy

The Government's Help To Buy initiative is also available through the Help To Buy agent for the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside. This scheme offers a 10%-20% equity loan funded by the Government through the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) on new build properties. With a Help to Buy equity loan, the government loans you up to 20% of the cost of a new-build home, so you only need a 5% deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest. Help to Buy equity loans are open to both first-time buyers and home movers on new-build homes worth up to £600,000. You won't be able to sub-let your home.

Applying for a home to buy

Affordable housing to buy is predominantly handled by the Help to Buy North Yorkshire, York and Humberside Agent. This includes newly built homes and existing properties where the current affordable home owners want to move.

However, Harrogate Borough Council also advertises properties available to purchase through shared ownership and discounted sale.

Current property listings are available

If you are interested in registering your interest in Shared Ownership, please email affordablehousing@harrogate.gov.uk and you will be kept up to date with developments across the district.

Why are there so many different types of affordable housing?

Different households can have very different housing needs. For example, someone seeking work might need to rent a home at a very low price, or a young couple earning an average wage might need help to buy their first home.

Because households are in different circumstances with varying incomes, affordable housing schemes are designed to offer a range of choices.

Harrogate Borough Council use planning conditions and legal agreements (known as section 106 agreements) to ensure affordable homes remain at an affordable price for future eligible households.

Page last updated 23/08/2017