What is Affordable Housing and how to apply

Affordable housing for local people

Creating affordable homes for local people is one of our highest priorities. Whether you renting or buy, we are committed to ensuring that Cornwall's housing market meets the needs of its communities, and remains accessible to local people.

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Affordable housing is  available to eligible households whose needs are not being met by the open market and includes:

  • social rented
  • affordable rented
  • intermediate housing

It can be a new-build property, or a private sector property purchased for use an affordable home.

Help to Buy South West is a  not-for-profit organisation. They advertise all Cornwall's affordable homes to buy.

You will need to register with Help to Buy South West to apply for homes. Visit their website using the button below and follow the link to 'Apply Now'. There are a number of affordable home ownership schemes available. These are designed to help you take the first step towards becoming a homeowner.

Apply for an affordable home to buy through Help to Buy South West

Shared ownership

If you would like to own your own home, but can’t quite afford the mortgage required to buy a house on the open market, a Shared Ownership scheme could be for you.

Shared ownership is a cross between buying and renting. You own a share of your home (usually between 25% and 75%), and then rent the part you don’t own at a reduced rate to a Registered Provider. This is done in two monthly payments, one for your mortgage and one for the rent. What’s more, these two monthly payments are still less that the mortgage would be on an open market property. The remaining share is owned by either a Registered Provider or the developer. 

Over time you may decide buy to a bigger share in your home, or be in the position to buy the whole property - this is known as ‘staircasing’. If you decide to sell your shared ownership home, the proceeds are split according to the percentage you own and the percentage owned by the Registered Provider.

Help to Buy: Equity Loan

With a Help to Buy: Equity Loan the Government lends you up to 20% of the cost of your newly built home, meaning that you need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest of the purchase price.

Discounted sale

Intermediate Homes for Sale are homes that are built and sold below market value by private developers. You should expect to pay between 30% to 80% of the open market value for an Intermediate Home for Sale home. You will own the freehold.

The discounted sale percentage is agreed during the planning stage by a S106 agreement. This remains with the property and applies to the next buyer. This ensures that the property remains affordable. The S106 will detail the percentage discount. It will also determine any other eligibility requirements, such as local connection criteria.

Renting an affordable home

The HomeChoice team at Cornwall Housing manages all social and affordable rented housing in Cornwall. To be considered for a rented home you need to register with HomeChoice using the button below. If you would like to speak to a member of the HomeChoice team please call 0300 1234 161. 

Apply for rented housing through Homechoice

Social rent

Social rent is set by central Government, and is the lowest form of affordable rent available at typically 50 – 60% of the open market rent values in an area. As part of our 1000 Homes Programme we are building more council housing over the next few years, to meet the needs of lower income households across Cornwall.

Affordable rent

Affordable rented housing is owned, let and managed by Registered Providers in a similar way to social rented homes, but with a slightly higher rent. Rents are typically set at 80% of open market rented value in that area. The registered providers that we work with are: 

  • Live West
  • Coastline
  • Ocean
  • Cornwall Rural Housing Association
  • Westward
  • Plymouth Community Homes
  • Aster
  • Sanctuary
  • Guiness
  • Hastoe
  • Tamar

Intermediate rent

This is like renting an affordable home with a Registered Provider, but it is managed and owned by a private landlord. The cost of renting is the same as with a Registered Provider. The tenancy agreement is for 12 months, with the option to renew at that time..

Rent to buy

Rent to buy (also known as Rent to Save) is a scheme designed to help people save to buy a home by charging a reduced rent. This enables households to save for a deposit to buy a home. Homes are available to rent with a short term lease (this can be anywhere from 6 months to 5 years). Once your rental lease is up, you have the option of buying a share of the house you live in, in the same way that shared ownership works, or moving on. Think of it as a ‘rent before you buy’ scheme.

Cornwall Living Rent 

We are developing a new type of affordable housing called Cornwall Living Rent. Based on local incomes rather than local house prices, these homes will have a lower rent than private rentals. This means that families are able to put the extra money saved towards a deposit for a new home.