Co-Ownership, a provider of shared ownership products in Northern Ireland, has refreshed its offering.
The not for profit organisation will move to an online application process which can be completed directly by the consumer or by a mortgage adviser on their behalf.
It will also launch a brand image and a solicitors’ portal which enables solicitors to receive their Co-Ownership instructions electronically and guides them through the homebuying process.
It’s also changing how homebuyers can apply, as people can apply and get an offer in principle before they find a property. Previously homebuyers had to identify a property and agree their purchase before they could apply to Co-Ownership.
Mark Graham, chief executive of Co-Ownership, said: “We have taken on board feedback from customers and industry partners and are investing significantly to improve our services for them. We are delighted to announce these positive changes as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations.
“The outcome of the enhancements will be a much faster process for homebuyers, which will put them in a better position when bidding on a property, as they will be pre-approved and should be able to complete a purchase as quickly as any other kind of buyer.
“Co-Ownership has been an important part of Northern Ireland’s housing market for 40 years and the changes that we are making will ensure that it continues to be an important part of the market for many years to come.”
The announcements were made at a celebratory conference for industry and government partners last week to mark 40 years since Co-Ownership was founded. It took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast.
Co-Ownership is regulated and part-funded by the Department for Communities. Addressing the conference, Deborah Brown, the department’s housing director, congratulated Co-Ownership on its success over the last 40 years.
She said: “With the support of government, 27,000 people have been supported toward owning their own home through Co-ownership.
“This is a magnificent achievement. Housing is an essential enabler for such a wide range of economic and social outcomes.
“The department looks forward to its continued partnership working with Co-Ownership to help many more households fulfil their aspirations of homeownership.”