We live on Britain's cheapest housing estate… we bought our homes for £1 – our favourite feature saves us hundreds | The Sun

RESIDENTS who bought their homes for £1 on Britain's cheapest housing estate have revealed how they are saving hundreds.

Lucky locals took advantage of the scheme where they can snap up a property for just a pound on the £34million Marches estate in Wolverhampton.

The development is selling two, three and four bedroom homes under a help-to-buy scheme, which then allows residents to purchase them after renting for 25 years.

As part of their plans they can build up a loyalty premium, and then buy their home for £1.

And although the scheme sounded "too good to be true", residents say the reality is even better than they’d hoped for.

Kristine Kromane, 42, moved into a two-bedroom home with her husband just over a year ago. 

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She said: "When we saw this offer, we could not believe our luck. I put in the applications and they approved them within three hours. The next day we put down a deposit.

"We still pay rent and it has gone up from £800 to £850-a-month which is a little bit more than we paid before, but it is our home and in a great location.

As the rest of the country battles the cost-of-living crisis, Kristine says locals have seen their rents rise well below inflation as well as lower energy bills.

The happy local continued: "Our cost of living has actually gone down because of the electric and gas bills.  

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"But even though we work from home with laptops running, in summer we are only paying £10-a-month for electricity because of all the solar panels they built on the roof.

"Altogether now we pay about £780 for a whole year of gas and £320 for electricity. It is a huge saving."

The idea of the scheme – sponsored by Wolverhampton Council – was to provide the chance of home ownership to those locked out of the system by years of falling wages and rising house prices.

Those moving in have a two-year snag cover guarantee and a 10-year guarantee on the building works.  

Our cost of living has actually gone down because of the electric and gas bills."

Teaching assistant and mother-of-five Rachel Reade, 34 and husband Craig, 33, a paramedic, have seen their lives transformed by their move.

Rachel said: "For five years we were renting a three-bedroom house. Three of my boys were sharing a room with a triple bunk bed and we were never going to be able to afford a deposit.  

"Now we have a four-bedroom house and because the insulation is so good, our energy bills are half what they were.

"We know people paying £1,400 in rent for three bed homes nearby and we have this for just over £1,000.

"Any increase in rent goes into our bond which we can take back if we decided to leave.  

"We pay the rent for 20 years, then we can either leave or take out a five-year contract after which we get the house for a pound."

Rachel was also full of praise for the speed with which the builders have fixed glitches.

She added: "The kids like it here. There is a real community spirit and it is safe for them to play outside."

Dan and Kim Macefield, who both work for Jaguar Land Rover and have two children aged nine and four, had struggled for years to save for a deposit.  

Now they are thanking their lucky stars that they didn’t manage it.

"We have friends who have seen their mortgages go from £400 to £970," said Kim, 32.

"Our rent did go up by two per cent this year but what we have got is a really good deal.  

"We were paying £850 to rent somewhere nowhere near as nice as this but the landlord died and his children decided to sell so we had to go."

The couple now pay £1,050 for their three-bed, three-storey home.

While Dan, 30, said: "When we heard about it, it seemed too good to be true.

"The best part is that some of the money we pay goes into a deposit bond so if we couldn’t afford it anymore we could still take some money away as a deposit for somewhere else."


The scheme arrived just in time for civil servant Sean Dubberley, 51, and his social worker wife as their private landlord was threatening to increase their rent by 15 per cent.

He said: "Suddenly I saw an email about this scheme saying it was aimed at key workers which we both are.  

"There was no hope of being able to buy. We have both been married twice and getting back on the property ladder at our age seemed impossible. This was a great alternative.

"We now pay a bit more than we did but the home is so heat efficient that we have saved ourselves a fortune.

"And as we both work from home with computers running all day, this is very important. Our previous place was old and cost an awful lot to heat.

"I just hope that more of these schemes come along. They are a brilliant way to help people on average incomes."

Under the scheme, there is no traditional deposit and just a £1,000 application fee.

Unlike strict rent contracts, residents are allowed to decorate and maintain their houses as a homeowner would – and pets are allowed.

Plus there are no penalties for leaving the scheme provided three months’ notice is given.

University worker Adrian Dawtrey, 42, came across the scheme by accident.

He was living near Leicester at the time with his fiancé and two dogs.

"I did think it was too good to be true but it is for real.

"I honestly cannot compliment them enough. I had a problem with the garden flooding and they came out and installed a whole drainage system to sort it out.

Another satisfied new home owner is teacher Charnah Saunders, 30, who moved in with her daughter while she was pregnant last year.  

"Where I lived all the three bedroom houses were £300,000 so I would not have been able to get a place like this.  

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"The shops are only a 10 minute walk away and we feel properly settled which is not something you ever truly feel when you are renting.  

"You are always at the mercy of a landlord whose circumstances might change. It is a really good scheme and this country needs a lot more like it."

How does the scheme work?

The £1 scheme has proven hugely attractive for those seeking a home.

  • Under the scheme, a portion of tenants' monthly rent payments goes towards a Loyalty Premium
  • This allows them to buy their homes for £1 after 25 years.
  • If they leave within 20 years, their Loyalty Premium gets paid out in cash
  • My Generation Group Ltd launched the Help to Own scheme, where 100 properties could go under the hammer for a pound.
  • More than 250 homes are also available under a help-to-buy scheme.
  • The scheme was established specifically for people and families struggling to save a deposit to fulfil their dream of owning their own home.
  • It is also aimed at helping key workers get on the ladder with around four in 10 homes available specifically for key workers.

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