Rock is reputedly one of the most expensive places in the world to purchase a home. There was recognition of the difficulties facing local people, especially young people, who wished to remain in their community, and of the need to sustain village life. What to do about it? A local builder and parish councillor sowed an idea; a local farmer, also a parish councillor, provided land close to existing development; a group of residents formed St Minver CLT Ltd. in 2006, and a community self-help scheme took root.
Phase One of the St Minver development was completed in 2008, on time and on budget. The 12 affordable self-build homes developed are held in perpetuity for qualifying local people at less than a third of their open market value. A further saving for the original self-build householders reflected their “sweat equity” in the homes.
A partnership between St Minver CLT and Cornwall Rural Housing Association has since seen a second phase of development, providing a further 8 self-build homes and 4 properties available for rent. A third phase is now a possibility.
Disposing of the Houses: Freehold Sale
To ensure the long-term affordability of the homes, the freeholds sold to the self-builders were affected by a resale price covenant. This limits the resale price of the homes to a maximum of 31.3% of their open market value. The mechanism allows the owners to profit from inflation in the value of the properties, but keeps the properties affordable for future generations.
A pre-emption agreement gives St Minver CLT first refusal to reacquire or nominate a purchaser when one of the homes is sold, keeping control of the property in the hands of the community. This same mechanism protects the Trust from future repossession of the homes by mortgage lenders, for example, by giving it time to nominate a new purchaser.
The covenant also affects the future purchasers of the homes. The original 12 self-build applicants were selected from local people in housing need; the same criteria will apply to any future purchasers of the properties.
The Funding Model
The group benefitted from a £5,000 grant from the local authority to set up the CLT. Following planning consent the local authority offered the group an interest free loan of £544,000 towards the development. The self-builders' mortgages enabled them to purchase a serviced self-build plot from the CLT, repay the local authority loan and continue with the project.