STRUGGLING first-time buyers living in a so-called ghost village in Dorset filled with holiday homes have been thrown a lifeline after new houses were built for locals only.

The nine homes have been built in Worth Matravers on the Isle of Purbeck.

Sixty per cent of the 180 houses there belong to second homeowners and lay empty most of the time. The average price of property in the area is about £400,000.

But the new homes have been sold at 75 per cent their market value and offered to people who live or work in the village or surrounding area.

When the homes are eventually sold on in the future there is a covenant stating they must go to local people with the 25 per cent price reduction in place.

Swanage and Wareham Voice: The properties are in Worth Matravers in Purbeck. Picture: LGC/BNPS

The new-build properties have been built by Dorset-based housing association East Boro.

Two end-of-terrace homes that have a kitchen/breakfast room, lounge and two bedrooms were listed for sale for £223,000 each.

That is £252,000 less than the £475,000 asking price for a two bed bungalow for sale in a neighbouring village.

Five of the other new-builds have been rented out at about 65 per cent of the market rate.

Callum Howlett and girlfriend Kirsty Goddard have bought one of the two bed homes.

Swanage and Wareham Voice: Callum Howlett and Kirsty Goddard. Picture: Phil Yeomans/BNPSCallum Howlett and Kirsty Goddard. Picture: Phil Yeomans/BNPS

Mr Howlett is a 23-year-old heating engineer, and Miss Goddard, who works in digital marketing, faced a 30-year wait to save for a deposit to buy a home in the area.

Mr Howlett said that 95 per cent of his customers were in the area and he has no wish to move away.

He said: "I wanted to stay in this area but on our budget we could never have afforded to buy.

"We could get a mortgage of about £150,000 and we would have to buy the rest.

"We would have to save until we were 50 to be able to buy somewhere.

"There are people who have grown up here and want to stay here but are miles off from being able to afford to buy in the area."

Most people who grow up in the village have to move away when they reach their 20s to stand a chance of buying a house.

Over the past 15 years the shop, cafe, Post Office and bus service in Worth Matravers have been lost due to a lack of residents using them.

When four brand new properties went on the market for a whopping £485,000 in 2009, fed-up villagers daubed slogans like 'No More 2nd Homes', 'Greed' and 'Go Away' on the walls.

Swanage and Wareham Voice: The properties are in Worth Matravers in Purbeck. Picture: LGC/BNPS

Jerry Burden, the chairman of Worth Matravers Parish Council, said: "The trouble is most of properties in the village are rented out as holiday homes.

"But if you are going to get £1,200 a month in rent or £1,200 a week as a holiday home then it's a no brainer.

"I am a self-employed builder and I do get a lot of work out of the holiday homes but that doesn't stop me wanting local people living here.

"From the point of view of the village there will be people living in these new houses which is great."

East Boro negotiated a sale price for unused agricultural land on the edge of Worth Matravers.

Because the plot is outside the village development boundary, planning permission was able to be granted for the £1.5m scheme.

Swanage and Wareham Voice: The properties are in Worth Matravers in Purbeck. Picture: LGC/BNPS

Kevin Hodder, chief executive of East Boro, said: "The East Dorset area is second least affordable place for house prices in the south west region.

"The price of the average home is 16 times of average earnings.

"Bringing in a low cost model like ours is a way of getting local first-time buyers on the housing ladder.

"Ninety per cent of the interest we received has been from people living in the two nearest parishes and that is what we want and what the scheme is all about.

"To give these people the opportunity to get on the housing ladder and stay in the area they have a connection with.

"They will be buying a home in the conventional way and the building society requires a five per cent deposit."