Buying an affordable home

There are several schemes in Cornwall which aim to make buying a home more affordable. They work in different ways. Some are Government backed, some are funded by the Council, some are required under the Council’s planning policy. Schemes can be delivered by private developers or by housing associations. This page gives some simple advice on understanding what is available.

Help to Buy South West provide a one stop affordable home ownership service for those looking for affordable homes to buy in Cornwall.  For more detailed information and to apply for an affordable home to buy visit the Help to Buy South West website. You can also contact them by phone on 0300 100 0021.

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For all affordable housing for sale, you will need to take out a mortgage to pay for your share of the home’s purchase price (unless you have savings) in the conventional way.

Like any house purchase decision, we recommend you should also seek;

  • Legal advice
  • Advice from an independent financial advisor
  • Your bank or mortgage provider
  • Advice agencies
  • Government websites

You can use this website to calculate the likely cost of your mortgage repayments.

This table of schemes provides an at-a-glance summary of initiatives in Cornwall and how they each work, for more detailed scheme information, use the links below.

You should consider carefully whether you are eligible and which option is best for your circumstances.

When you apply through Help to Buy South West, they will advise you on your eligibility and use an affordability calculator which will estimate what is right for you and the repayment costs.

Government rules mean that existing homeowners cannot buy an affordable home unless they have the Council’s agreement to do so. This includes those who currently own an affordable home and who wish to buy a different affordable home.

There is a guidance note about this, and a Questionnaire that existing homeowners need to complete so that the Council can assess their circumstances:

If you are buying a former Council House it will not have an affordable housing restriction imposed on it through a Section106 agreement.  However, there is likely to be a restriction under s157 of the Housing Act 1985 if the property is within a ‘designated rural area’.  Many areas of Cornwall are designated rural areas and therefore many ex Council properties will have the restriction.  The restriction has the effect that the property can only be sold to somebody who has lived or worked in Cornwall for the 3 years immediately preceding their application to purchase the property.  You will require a certificate from Cornwall Council stating that the transaction is made in accordance with Section 157 of the Housing Act 1985. 

Applications for a certificate are dealt with by the Council’s Legal department and not the Affordable Housing Team. Please email these types of requests to  Legal157Instructions@cornwall.gov.uk

The Council will require evidence that at least one of the purchasers has lived or worked in Cornwall for the last 3 years immediately preceding their application to purchase.  The Council’s charge for considering evidence, preparing the Certificate and producing the same is currently £300.00 and this will need to paid prior to the Certificate being issued.

The Certificate will be sent to your solicitor so that they can send this with their application to the Land Registry when the purchase is completed.

Council housing in the former District Council areas of Penwith, Kerrier and Restormel was transferred to Housing Associations under what are known as Housing Stock Transfers.  If you are buying a former council property in these areas and it was sold after the Housing Stock Transfer took place you will need to contact the relevant Housing Association who took transfer of the property from the council and subsequently sold the property.  In these cases the Housing Association is responsible for issuing the Certificate of Compliance rather than the Council.

The relevant Housing Associations are:

  • Penwith Housing Association for the former Penwith area
  • Coastline Housing for the former Kerrier area
  • Ocean Housing for the former Restormel area