Young Farmers launches guide on affordable housing

A recent study by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) found that a lack of affordable housing was viewed as a big stumbling block for young people who want to remain in the countryside.

While 15% of the 528 survey respondents own a property, 65% said they wanted to move out of their family home in the next five years, but would be unable to do so because they cannot afford to buy or rent.

See also: Survey reveals how young farmers view their future

The NFYFC has therefore launched a guide to affordable rural housing in association with English Rural, an organisation that helps people buy in the countryside.

A big part of this is shared ownership, whereby people buy a percentage of the property and pay rent on what is left unpurchased. Shared ownership schemes are one way for young farmers to step on to the housing ladder and buy property in the rural areas where they work.

NFYFC president Nigel Owens said the response to the survey highlighted how important accessing an affordable home was for young people in the countryside and the future success of farming.

“The guide seeks to offer some answers to questions about affordable rural housing, while signposting members to more detailed sources of advice,” Mr Owens said.

The guide outlines why affordable homes are so important for the countryside, how and where developments are built, and how funding works. It also covers how to qualify and apply for affordable housing.

Georgia, who grew up on a mixed farm in Kent, used English Rural to secure a mortgage on a house near her family farm with her partner, who is a young farmer.

“Shared ownership allowed us to step on to the housing ladder, as we secured a mortgage to buy part of the property while paying a low rent on the bit that the housing association still owns,” she said.

“Growing up in a farming family I am all too familiar with the long, tiring hours – I barely saw my dad in the summer months when I was young. Being able to work so close to where we live means my partner has more hours in the day to spend with his family and friends,” Georgia added.