When their five-bedroom family home in Stockbridge Village, Merseyside, was no longer fit for purpose, the Ball family found their perfect home just three miles away. Their new build bungalow at Livv Homes’ (part of Livv Housing Group) The Watchfactory phase two was bought through the government’s Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) scheme.

Retired couple, Carolyn and Denis, live with their daughter, Leanne, and French bulldog in a two-bedroom bungalow at The Watchfactory phase two in Prescot, Merseyside. The family were the first customers to move into their new home at Livv’s eagerly anticipated development in August 2022.

Carolyn said: “We lived in our home in Stockbridge Village for 42 years and we absolutely loved it there, so it was hard for us to leave. But with it just being the three of us now, the time was right for us move into a home that was more accessible for Leanne as she’s in a wheelchair.

“My son lives in Rainhill, which is just up the road from Prescot, and every time we drove past, we were intrigued by what they were building here. We enquired with Livv and when we saw the gorgeous homes, we thought we would apply. However, the price of the bungalow, compared to what we would get for our existing home meant that we wouldn’t have been able to afford it, until we were introduced to the OPSO scheme.”

The government’s OPSO scheme is available for people aged 55 and over. It works in the same way as the general shared ownership scheme, enabling buyers to part buy/part rent a purpose-built home, but you can only buy up to 75% of the home. Once you own 75%, you won’t have to pay rent on the remaining share.

Carolyn continued: “As we couldn’t afford the market price of the bungalow, we jumped on to the OPSO scheme. We currently own a 65% share of the property and we pay rent on the rest. There are so many different home ownership options nowadays and I think it’s great that there’s a scheme that helps older people too. The long-term plan is that the house will eventually go to Leanne.”

Those that are eligible for the OPSO scheme include first-time buyers, if you used to own a home but can’t afford to buy one now, or if you’re an existing shared owner looking to move.

Carolyn continued: “We know the area well. My husband was born just over the road and he grew up here so it’s a full circle. He’s always telling us stories from the past and he used to play with his friends around the back of the factory, which is where the name of the development ‘The Watchfactory’ comes from.”

Located near the original Grade II listed Watchfactory building, The Watchfactory phase two is situated in the thriving town of Prescot, boasting a host of traders, boutiques and places to eat. It’s only a few minutes away from the Shakespeare North Playhouse and is also conveniently located close to major road networks and Prescot railway station.

Carolyn concluded: “I just love living here. The house fits all our needs being on one level but it’s also so beautiful, spacious and quiet. We’re only a short distance to the shops and everything that we need is on our doorstep which is ideal for us all.”

Leigh Morrisey, Head of Sales & Home Ownership at Livv Housing Group, said: “We believe that everybody should have the chance to own their dream home. We know that buying a property on the open market is out of reach for so many people, that’s why it’s important we’re offering initiatives like Shared Ownership, Inspired Living (Shared Ownership for people aged 55 and over) and Rent to Buy. It gives people an amazing opportunity to buy their own home, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to.”