LPC enjoys off-plan boost in Salford

LPC Living said 14 units, or 25% of the total, at phase two of the Hulton Square development in Ordsall have been sold off plan already this year to owner occupiers.

Construction restarted on site with 54 units of the 260 unit scheme after seeing an improvement in the market. The second and third phases were approved for a £1.86m grant from the Homes & Communities Agency's Kickstart programme in November 2009. However, LPC declined the offer and started on site without the public funding. The developer does still have First Time Buyer Initiative funding available to use to subsidise mortgages for phase 2.

Simon Ashdown, development director at LPC, said: "The first time buyers that are coming through the door are very different to that of 18 months ago and this is having a positive impact on our sales figures. They understand the financial commitment, have made genuine efforts to save deposits and are savvier when it comes to the buying process. Instead of looking for a short term living solution which has been a typical trend of the past five years, they are stretching budgets to buy houses – essentially jumping up the ladder on their first purchase."

Phase one of Hulton Square, 72 units, was complete and fully occupied by December 2009, with 95% sold to owner occupiers. The properties sold on phase two equate to more than £2m of sales with an average sale price of £144,500.

Ashdown said: "Sales momentum is definitely building again and I think there are some strong contributing factors to this, combined with our price led offer. We are one of the only developers in the region to continue to offer the First Time Buyer Initiative, which is based on buyers only having to purchase a 50% equity share and only needing a 5% deposit. In addition as we are in a regeneration area; most of our homes are under the £150,000 exemption threshold making Hulton Square a genuinely affordable proposition."

He added: "Although the recession has officially ended, there are still difficult times ahead and we would urge the banks to ease their stranglehold on first time buyers as these are most in need of support but more often than not are heavily penalized."

First completions of the homes are due in winter 2010 and a new retail centre anchored by a Morrison's supermarket is expected to start on site this summer. Prices start at £44,975 on the FTBI for a one bedroom apartment and £74,975 for a three bedroom townhouse.

LPC Living was appointed by Salford City Council as the lead developer for the regeneration of the whole of Ordsall, an area totalling 180 acres, in 2006.

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