15 Mar 2013

Shared Ownership Week, 18 – 24 March

The need for shared ownership has, arguably, never been greater. The last 10 years have seen house prices rise three times faster than real incomes. The last five years have seen mortgage availability for first-time buyers almost dry up. Yet the aspiration to own a home remains strong.

Shared ownership enables people to part-buy and part-rent their own home. It's an ideal option for people who cannot afford to buy a property outright on the open market, because they buy a share in a property and pay a subsidised rent on the remainder. They can gradually buy more shares if they want to, until they own the whole property.

Shared Ownership Week aims to demonstrate the important, and growing, role shared ownership can play in today’s housing market.

The key messages of shared ownership week are:

  • Shared ownership is an antidote to the affordability challenges facing first-time buyers and the insecurity private renters face.
  • It can help boost local communities and economies by encouraging aspiration, offering stability, and allowing people to take up employment opportunities.
  • Shared ownership offers excellent value for money to both the Government and customers. Government investment is recycled into future affordable housing supply. Shared owners need to raise far lower deposits than the average first-time buyer and ongoing housing costs are lower.
  • It continues to experience high levels of demand, as more-and-more people are priced out of traditional home ownership. Increasing numbers of first-time buyers now see shared ownership as the way to help them onto the housing ladder, in an area they want to live.
  • Mortgages remain available for shared ownership, with growing lender confidence in the product.

According to NHF figures, the average house price in the South West is £223,870, which means that to afford an 80% mortgage on this, people would need an income of £51,170. They also say that an average first-time buyer deposit in the South West is £32,209, and an average first-time buyer pays £830 per month in mortgage payments. This compares to the cost of renting privately in the South West of £659 per month. And the average price of a shared ownership home bought in the South West is £151,919.

The National Housing Federation’s Warren Finney, said: “Shared ownership is a desperately-needed affordable option for young people and aspiring home owners who are simply priced out of the open market. It’s a great way on to the housing ladder because you can buy extra shares in your home as time goes on and end up as the outright owner of your home.

GreenSquare Group is a strong supporter of shared ownership schemes. It's worth noting that to be able to buy a house under this scheme, people must be in housing need and unable to afford to buy a home on the open market.

People in Oxfordshire can apply for shared ownership properties by logging on to www.catalysthomebuy.co.uk and completing their online application form. Alternatively they can call Catalyst on 0845 6017729. In Gloucestershire, Swindon, or Wiltshire, people can apply by logging on to www.southwesthomes.org.uk and filling in an online application form. Or they can freephone 0300 100 0021 to ask for a hardcopy.