There’s no place like home for Clitheroe girl Rachel

April 10, 2019 | Laura Whittle

With house prices in Ribble Valley way above the national average, Rachel McKenna-McKeown thought she would never be able to afford to buy a home in her hometown of Clitheroe.

But thanks to shared ownership, the 38-year-old teacher has snapped up a delightful three-bed house for her and her six-year-old son, Jack, at Onward’s new Littlemoor Park development.

Rachel says: “I had grown up in the area but had to move to another town where house prices were lower to be able to afford to buy a property. After a couple of years I missed being close to my family and friends and my son was starting school so I wanted to move back to Clitheroe, but we couldn’t afford to buy and had to move into private rented accommodation.”

After renting for three years, Rachel went through a relationship breakdown and decided to visit the Ribble Valley Borough Council office in Clitheroe to find out what her housing options were.

She says: “The local office put me in touch with Natalie at Onward, who took my details and said that she would contact me when any properties became available. True to her word, Natalie contacted me a couple of months later and advised that Onward were developing two sites in the local area for shared ownership.”

The homes weren’t even out of the ground yet, but after visiting both sites Rachel decided that the Littlemoor Park development was perfect for her and her son as it was really close to his school.

Rachael McKenna-McKeown inside her new shared ownership home in Clitheroe

“Looking at the location and quality of the homes that had already been built, I didn’t think that I would ever be able to afford to buy one of the houses. But after speaking with a financial advisor I was delighted to find that I could afford to buy a 45% share. I reserved the property straight away,” says Rachel.

Shared ownership allows you to buy a share in a new home, ranging from 25% to 75%, depending on what you can afford. The housing association owns the remaining share, and you pay a reduced rent on that share. This means that you need to get a smaller mortgage to buy the property, and will also need a smaller deposit.

This was perfect for Rachel as she couldn’t afford to purchase outright but had enough deposit to put towards buying a share in a home. And after speaking to Onward’s sales negotiator Natalie, she couldn’t wait for her new home to be built.

“Natalie was so helpful throughout the process,” says Rachel. “It was great to be able to have one point of contact and be able to speak to her about all my queries during what is a stressful time, making it much easier.”

The house Rachel eventually bought was a beautiful three-bedroom semi-detached home. She paid just £85,500 for a 45% share and was able to move in as soon as it was built.

Rachel is now enjoying the independence and freedom of homeownership, something she feels wouldn’t have been possible without Shared Ownership.

Rachel adds: “Without shared ownership it would have taken me years to get what I have now. It’s enabled me to get on the property ladder, and for what I’m paying per month I wouldn’t have got anything close to this on the open market.

“I cannot waiting to start decorating and I have already started putting my own stamp on my gorgeous new home. I’m currently working part-time but I’m hoping to start full-time soon so I can buy more shares and hopefully own 100% eventually.”

If Rachel’s story has inspired you to find out more about shared ownership, contact the Onward Living sales team on 0151 708 2421 or email sales@onward.co.uk.