Page last updated at 08:47 GMT, Saturday, 18 July 2009 09:47 UK

Home-buy event amid job worries

Building equipment at a new housing development
Ministers want to see 6,500 affordable homes built by 2011

The organiser of an information day for first time buyers says fears of major job losses highlight the need to promote affordable housing.

The First Time Buyers Fair at Llangefni comes as Anglesey Aluminium said up to 290 jobs are to go at its island plant.

The fair brings together firms, housing bodies and would-be buyers to highlight public and private options available.

Stephen Jones said: "If first time buyers can't afford to buy on the open market, they need this assistance."

Mr Jones, a chartered financial planner, is one of the organisers of the buyers' fair.

Similar events have already been held in Conwy and Wrexham, with more planned for Denbighshire and Flintshire.

The assembly government plans to build 6,500 affordable homes across Wales by 2011.

Even falls in house prices do not necessarily make it easier for them to buy
Chartered financial planner, Stephen Jones

The plans have been described as "ambitious" by the charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which argues that around three times more properties are needed for rural Wales alone.

Around 150 first-time buyers are expected at Saturday's event from 1100 BST to 1430 BST at Tre Ysgawen Hall, Llangefni, in addition to three social housing providers as well as solicitors, estate agents and developers.

Mr Jones said planning restrictions on new properties, imposed to ensure they remain as affordable social housing, often worked against first-time buyers.

'Economy'

He said the event aimed to promote shared equity schemes which gave a local authority a share of a property's value while enabling first time buyers to meet the requirements of mortgage lenders.

Mr Jones said the majority of first time buyers were likely to be unmarried couples, often living in separate homes, with a joint income of less than £25,000 per year.

He said even if they were not immediately affected by feared job losses at Anglesey Aluminium, first time buyers on the island could still be hit.

He said: "To lose high paid jobs at the plant will be a blow to the economy in Anglesey and will no doubt have a knock on effect on house prices.

"On the face of it house price falls can be seen to be good news for first time buyers as it does tend to make house prices seem to be more affordable.

'Main players'

"The trouble at the moment is that it is difficult for first-time buyers to buy as they need a bigger deposit than they did before the credit crunch hit, so that even falls in house prices do not necessarily make it easier for them to buy."

Anglesey council is one of the organisations represented at the first-time buyers' fair.

Mary Sillitoe, the local authority's rural housing enabler, said the event would be a way for the "main players" in affordable housing on the island to share information.

She said: "If people are unemployed and they have a mortgage, things are going to get difficult. It's going to be very important to ensure there are different options available."



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