Stevie Martin | Staff Writer | Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Couple Buy Flat For £1 And It's Now Worth £60,000. There Is Hope, People

The Debrief: Fancy some good news for Generation Rent? This couple are on the property ladder eight years before the national average!

Stoke-On-Trent city council introduced a scheme to sell properties in rundown areas for just £1 (you can buy a mop for that in Pounland, ffs), and one couple who got on board with that scheme found out their flat is now valued at £60,000. So they’ve made a £59,999 profit. 

The lucky couple, Rebecca and Chris, both 22, are now on the property ladder around eight years earlier than the average person-looking-for-a-roof-to-call-their-own, thanks to the £30,000 loan the council gave them to renovate the house, and the fact that they filled the scheme’s criteria: a household income of up to £25k and a contract guarenteeing 16 hours of work a week.

Why don’t more councils do this? Everyone let’s move to Stoke-on-Trent immediately, and if you’re already there, then start asking questions about this scheme. Now. 

‘We decided to do whatever it took to get me a place,’ Rebecca, who works in a teddy bear shop and as a photographer’s assistant told The Metro. ‘Even though it meant me taking on a third job and upping my hours, it was totally worth it. We would never have been able to afford a house without the scheme.’ 

She continued: ‘We’ve been engaged for four years, but the prospect of us actually getting married would have been years in the future if we were saving for a house as well as a wedding. It would’ve been years before we could have afforded a house alone. My mum and dad wanted us to get married before we got a house together, but now they’ve seen it, even they agree that it was too good an opportunity to pass up.’ 

It also appears that, even though the surroundings are described as ‘rundown’ by the council, the reputation isn’t necessarily justified – a place is only as bad as the people who live there. 

‘Although the area used to be a really good, it gradually got a bad reputation. But we haven’t had any problems. The streets are really quiet. Our neighbour is great – he's an older gentleman from Italy who has lived here since the 1950s. We’re looking forward to it becoming a family area again where we can bring up children and people know their neighbours,’ she told The Telegraph.

One caveat is that the owners have to live in the £1 house before they can sell it. The pair have lived their for four months, but now it’s totally renovated, they’re happy to stay. Of course they are. The house cost them £1.

This story broke the same day as news of a 301sq ft flat in Mayfair, London that got snapped up in 40 minutes after a tenant put down a deposit and six months rent for a whopping £10,000 – you can see the sort of sums people are willing to spend on getting a place to live. 

It’s nice to hear some good news for a change, and fingers crossed more councils up and down the country give the £1 houses a go. Because it sounds brilliant. 

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Follow Stevie on Twitter: @5tevieM

Tags: Housing Woes