What do people think of Shared Ownership?

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It’s the government-backed scheme which everyone has heard of. But how much do you know about it, and what do people really think of shared ownership?
Well, a virtual industry roundtable was held recently to report on research done into shared ownership. We look more closely at some of the feedback, and what the findings means for the scheme moving forward.

The Industry Roundtable
Joining forces to deliver the first ever annual report into the status of shared ownership in England were SO Resi, the shared ownership brand of the housing association Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, and Cambridge University. It was Dr Gemma Burgess, Acting Director of the Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research and a Professor at the University who compiled the research findings from the report.
Then, at a roundtable event back at the start of February, a panel of experts from the property industry came together to discover the research findings, and discuss them with Dr Burgess. The event itself was chaired by property writer and editor Stacey Meadwell who led the presentation of the research results.

Who took part in the research?
A cross-section of people who are actively involved with shared ownership were interviewed. These included providers of shared ownership, lenders, and wider industry stakeholders. A total of 24 housing providers were asked to take part in the survey, with industry and user groups also being interviewed to give greater insight into the facts, figures, and thoughts behind the shared ownership scheme.
The initial feedback coming from Dr Burgess’s report was, of all those who were interviewed, all were very positive about what shared ownership offers to customers.

Some statistics for shared ownership
The report from Dr Burgess went on to say: “In many parts of the country, interviewees felt that shared ownership is the only realistic route into homeownership for households with relatively low deposits. The product offers flexibility as it opens homeownership at a range of possible price points to households with modest deposits.”
Some of the important details about the average shared ownership transaction revealed in the report included:
· Most shared ownership purchasers are aged between 20 and 40 (72%), with the late 20s being the most common time to purchase. Only 5% are over 65.
· The largest group of shared ownership purchasers are single adults without children (50%) followed by childless couples (35%).
· 94% are in employment.
· The average value of shared ownership properties purchased in 2018/19 was £265,000, with the average initial share being 42% and a deposit of £24,600.

Shared ownership is gaining popularity
It’s fair to say that interest in shared ownership is thriving right now. And interestingly, the pandemic has added to the popularity of the scheme with an increase in demand for both shared ownership lending, and in the number of enquiries for buying a shared ownership home. This is down to a couple of factors occurring throughout the pandemic: the surge in property price increases, and lenders being stricter with their criteria. In both cases, shared ownership allows those who wouldn’t be able to buy on the open market, the chance to part-buy and part-rent.
The report revealed, “Since 2015/16, the number of shared ownership completions per year has increased from 4,084 to 17,021.” In fact, such is the interest in shared ownership, that there’s not enough homes available for sale to meet demand. And when you see the figures from the report, it’s clear that regions with eye watering property prices are those where shared ownership is enjoying most success. In the last five years, nearly half of the shared ownership homes which completed were located in London (27%) and the South East (22%).

Where and how can shared ownership be improved?
A significant point of concern emanating from the research was around the government’s plans to alter the standard shared ownership scheme. Currently, the minimum share people can purchase is 25%, with purchasers being responsible for the property’s repairs and maintenance. The government is looking to change this to a 10% minimum share with housing providers being responsible for repairs for 10 years. It is felt the new model of shared ownership will be desirable to buyers, thus increasing demand. However, it’s felt this will impact supply, especially with providers needing to factor in repairs.
The other issue is one around the fact there is still significant scepticism around shared ownership. This predominantly comes down to a lack of understanding about how the scheme works, and the legal arrangement of it, especially with regards to leasehold.
Ultimately, the report has shone further light on the need for affordable housing, and that shared ownership has an important role to play in delivering new build shared ownership homes. At the same time, there needs to be greater use of simple, clear language around shared ownership, helping people feel confident to take the first steps towards using the scheme.

On our website, you’ll find a huge selection of new build homes for sale with housing developers large and small across the country. Whether you are looking for properties that are available under the Shared Ownership scheme, or Help to Buy, you will find an option to suit. Start your search in your preferred town or city to see what’s available here.

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