We now know where the 14 new ‘Garden Villages’ – new towns to help solve the housing crisis – will be. Their locations range from Cumbria to Cornwall.
Government ministers have backed plans for a brand new wave of ‘garden villages’ with between 1,500 and 10,000 new homes, in an effort to confront the growing lack of good housing stock.
Here’s where they are:
Long Marston (Stratford-on-Avon)
Oxfordshire Cotswold (west Oxfordshire)
Deenethorpe (east Northamptonshire)
West Carclaze (Cornwall)
Dunton Hills (Essex)
Spitalgate Heath (Lincolnshire)
Longcross (Runnymede and Surrey Heath)
Infinity Garden Village (south Derbyshire)
St Cuthberts (near Carlisle)
North Cheshire (Cheshire)
Each village will include green spaces, good links to public transport and a wide mix of house prices, including affordable homes.
Housing minister Gavin Barwell said: “Locally led garden towns and villages have enormous potential to deliver the homes that communities need.
“New communities not only deliver homes, they also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies. These places combined could provide almost 200,000 homes.”
Some opponents are sceptical, as it is three years since then chancellor George Osborne announced the building of 15,000 new homes in the ‘new town’ of Ebbsfleet, of which fewer than 500 have so far been built.
Others say that housing targets are putting genuine villages, deep in Green Belt country, at risk of being swallowed up by the development of new towns in the immediate vicinity.
What are Garden Villages?
Better known as Garden Cities, they date back to 1898 when Sir Ebenezer Howard published his book “Garden Cities Of Tomorrow”, which set out his (at the time outlandish) ideas that new cities should be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by what would soon become known as green belts.
Garden cities were intended to be new towns where homes, workplaces and facilities would be developed from scratch to sit in proportion. Only two true garden cities were built – Letchworth (built 1902), and Welwyn Garden City (1920) – where the main shopping area , the Howard Centre, stands as a memory to the man behind the idea of garden cities.
Others were later built as ‘new towns’, mainly as overspill from larger cities. The last batch, built between 1967 and 1970, included Telford and Milton Keynes.
How to make your dream home a reality
In 2014, the introduction of mortgage affordability rules took a closer look at your finances when you apply for a mortgage, as well as ‘stress-testing’ your ability to pay should interest rates rise.
Many of us grew up with the idea of ‘a multiple of your income’ – usually 3.5 times – and a good credit report being major factors in a successful mortgage application.
The rules now take into account not only how much you are earning, but how much you are spending, and whether you actually have the money to make your monthly mortgage repayment.
If you’re living on an overdraft and have lots of regular payments – such as gym membership, childcare costs or expensive subscriptions– then it’s possible you may find a mortgage harder to get than someone who lives more frugally and puts money into savings regularly.
Consider shared ownership
At present it is estimated that about 200,000 UK households live in shared ownership homes, and around 1.3% of all mortgages are now shared ownership.
Shared ownership schemes allow you to part-buy and part-rent your home. You buy a share of your chosen property (typically between 25 and 75 per cent), which you pay for with a mortgage. You then pay rent to a housing association on the bit that you don’t own. Again, you’ll need to get advice on such schemes to make sure they’re right for you.
Having a higher credit score could mean you get better deals or lower interest rates on credit, loans and mortgages. The Experian Credit Score is a guide to help you understand your Experian Credit Report, and how the way you’ve managed the credit you’ve had in the past might affect applications you’re making now.
It can also help you to monitor your progress as you get your finances in order before you apply. Getting your credit score up could open up the potential chance to get better rates.