I am often asked about the Shared Ownership scheme and I tend to find that a lot of buyers are unsure how the process works, or have several misconceptions and unanswered questions.
The Shared Ownership scheme is a fantastic alternative that allows people the chance to get on the property ladder and affordably purchase their first home – but not everyone will qualify for it.
Read below to learn more on how the scheme works and to see if you are eligible.
Please be aware that these guidelines are only applicable in England.
What is Shared Ownership?
Shared Ownership is a scheme aimed predominantly at first time buyers, allowing them an affordable way of starting out on the property ladder. The scheme is also available to those who are no longer in a position to buy a property through conventional means.
Unlike a standard sale, with Shared Ownership, you purchase between 25% and 75% of the property and pay rent on the amount that you don’t own at a reduced rate.
A common misconception I have heard from prospective buyers is the belief that you will jointly own the property with another person – this is not true! The portion you don’t own yourself will be owned by the local council or housing association.
Shared Ownership Mortgages
You will still be required to put down a deposit and it’s worth noting that not every lender will provide a mortgage for a Shared Ownership property. As always, I highly encourage you to shop around and ensure you’re getting the best possible mortgage deal that suits your individual circumstances.
As the scheme is designed to make purchasing affordable, you are normally able to buy a Shared Ownership property with just a 5% deposit.
The bank will still undertake strict affordability checks to ensure you are able to pay your portion of the rent and other household bills and expenses too.
Leasehold & associated charges
The properties included in the scheme tend to be new builds but some may be older residential properties now owned by the housing association. As all Shared Ownership properties are currently sold on a leasehold basis only, you will have to check that you are aware of the lease length, service charge and maintenance costs associated with this.
Despite owning just a portion of the property, you are liable to pay these costs in full, though you should be permitted to pay in instalments.These
As these charges can differ substantially between each individual property, it is incredibly important to know this information before making an offer. These charges need to be factored into your affordability otherwise the mortgage lender may be inclined to reject your application.
Will I qualify?
There are strict guidelines in place and in order to be eligible for the scheme –
• You have to be a first time buyer or someone who is no longer in a position to buy a property with a standard mortgage product
• Your combined household income cannot exceed £80,000 (£90,000 if you live in London)
• You are eligible if you currently rent a council or housing association property and also meet the above criteria
• You will not be allowed to purchase the property if you intend to use it for investment purposes
• Preference is not given to those who are key workers (I.E – police officers or nurses) but preference will be exercised with military personnel
Obtaining full ownership
Once you are the proud owner of your new home, you are able to increase the portion in the property that you own over time. This process is known as “staircasing”.
For example, each time your remortgage is due, and if your affordability allows it, you can offer to increase your ownership of the property and enter negotiations with the housing association. You can continue to do this until you ultimately own 100%.
Do you own a shared ownership property or are you considering buying one?
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section and don’t forget to share this guide with your friends and family!
To your successful move,
Don’t miss out! Make sure you subscribe to The Property Network and receive regular updates about all things property!