Stoke on Trent City Council has revealed that over 600 people have shown an interest in the 35 houses it has offered for sale at £1 each. The properties are run down, and part of the deal is that buyers will have to renovate the property, commit to the community, and live there for at least five years.
So how will it work?
The schemeThe scheme was launched in August last year, and by yesterday 600 people had shown an interest in buying a property. The formal application process was launched yesterday, and buyers have until 21 May to apply.
The homes are all derelict properties in the Cobridge area of Stoke, and most of them are two-bedroom terraces. As well as buying the properties for this insanely low price, buyers will be able to borrow up to £30,000 from the council in order to make vital repairs.
To be eligible, buyers must have lived in Stoke for the past three years, and commit to spending five years in the property and playing an active part in the community.
They will have to have household income of between £18,000 and £25,000 (£30,000 if they have children), and they must not own property or have any assets worth £10,000 or more. They must also pass a credit check.
Why?The project will cost the council £3 million: once these properties are sold, 89 more will be up for grabs at the same knock-down price.
The idea is to deal with the problem of derelict properties and troubled neighbourhoods: the hope is that when the properties are in better shape they will also improve the area.
On its application form for the scheme, the council said: "We want this neighbourhood to become vibrant, to have a community which is involved in local groups and which builds local networks to work together to improve their community and have a say on how their neighbourhood is run. We want the existing community and the new people moving into the area to relax and interact with each other, so that the neighbourhood becomes strong and self- functioning. The new owner-occupiers of the houses sold by the city council must be prepared to be an active part of this vision."
Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for housing, neighbourhoods and community safety, said: "The project will not only benefit the residents who are currently living next to properties that have been vacant for some time, it will also give families moving into the homes the chance to take their first step on the property ladder."
Would you?It seems like a great gift: a house for just £1, but it's a fairly tall order. You need to be prepared to move into an area with its share of social problems; you have to commit to playing your part as an active member of the community in turning that around; and at the same time you have to spend every waking second doing the DIY to make your home habitable.
But what do you think? Would you buy one? Let us know in the comments.