Stoke-on-Trent £1 houses: Hundreds express buying interest

The BBC's Sian Lloyd takes a walk down £1 house street

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More than 600 people are interested in buying rundown homes in Stoke-on-Trent for £1 each, the city council has said.

Thirty-five derelict homes, mainly two-bedroom terraced properties, will initially be sold off in the Cobridge area, with a further 89 to follow.

Under the £3m project, the local authority is offering loans of up to £30,000 to help complete essential repairs on the houses.

Applications opened for potential buyers on Monday.

People have until 12 May to apply for one.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council said the initial 35 homes would be randomly allocated to the successful applicants.

The majority are two-bedroom, but there are also a few three-bedroom houses and possibly some flats.

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Janine Hankey

What residents think of the £1 homes offer

Anyone applying must have lived in the city for the past three years.

Other criteria they must satisfy include:

  • A joint income of £18,000 to £25,000 a year - £30,000 maximum if they have children
  • Applicants must have been employed for the past two years
  • They must not own another property
  • They must have the right to live permanently in the UK
  • The new house must be their main home for at least five years
'Community spirit'

Anyone taking out the £30,000 loan would have to pay it back within 10 years at an interest rate of 3% above the Bank of England base rate, which currently stands at 0.5%.

If the house is sold within 10 years, a proportion of any profit must be paid to the council on a sliding scale.

In return for buying the properties, people will be required to renovate them and bring them back into use.

What else can you buy for £1?

Ely Magistrates' Court

Councillor Janine Bridges, responsible for housing, said the scheme would "see a rundown area of the city transformed".

She added: "The project will not only benefit the residents who are currently living next door to properties that have been vacant for some time, it will also give families moving into the homes the chance to take their first step on the property ladder."

The council said it hoped to "build a community spirit" in the area and create "thriving neighbourhoods".

However, Steph Dunn-Fox, from Stoke-on-Trent-based estate agents, said Cobridge was presently an unattractive area for home buyers and was "full of empty homes".

She said: "I think it's a great idea in principle and they're probably thinking it'll appeal most to first-time buyers.

"It's the sort of area and offer that could appeal to property developers, but they're excluded from this.

"It's difficult - unless you're from the area, who wants to live on a rundown street, carry out a lot of work and know you have to stay there for at least five years?"

She said she could see a typical terrace house redeveloped in a good condition reaching a maximum of £55,000 to £60,000 on the market.

Last month, Liverpool City Council said more than 2,000 people had been in touch about buying 20 homes there during the week they were on offer for £1.

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