Increase in shared ownership will help alleviate housing problems

Increase in shared ownership will help alleviate housing problems

A new report by housebuilder and landlord Aster Group advocates greater emphasis on ‘Shared Ownership’ and calls for a ‘Help to Buy’ style campaign to promote its benefits.

Shared ownership has the potential to help millions more people on to the housing ladder if a set of bold recommendations are implemented, a new report argues.

The proposals, contained in a report by housebuilder and landlord Aster Group, include housing associations working more closely to improve the public’s understanding of shared ownership and agreeing that it supports their social ethos. It also calls for a Government publicity campaign to boost awareness and demand.

The report, Another way: How shared ownership can improve the UK housing market, also commissioned a national survey which lays bare the public’s lack of understanding of shared ownership.

Shared Ownership allows people to buy and build a stake in a property and pay rent on the remainder. It is designed to be flexible while providing more security than renting by giving people a home for life. Typically, deposits are smaller than with traditional mortgages.

The survey, conducted by YouGov, reveals that 81% of people think the UK housing market is unaffordable for first-time buyers. Yet only 60% of people say they understand shared ownership, and half (51%) didn’t know that banks and building societies offer mortgages for it.

Some 44% of people believe the Government should do more to raise the profile and understanding of buying a house through shared ownership. Currently, one in ten (9%) confuse it with Help to Buy, the state-backed scheme that offers interest-free loans for first-time buyers.

Bjorn Howard, Group CEO of Aster, said: “Everyone agrees the UK is facing a housing crisis which is getting worse as more and more people are priced out of buying or renting a home. Owner occupation is held up as an aspiration that millions are struggling to achieve. However, there is another choice that many renters and potential housebuyers should consider. Shared ownership blends ownership and renting and can be a great option for many locked out of the renting and ownership markets. It provides life-long security without the huge upfront costs for a deposit that homebuyers face when they use traditional ownership routes.”

Aster, which owns and manages almost 30,000 homes across the south of England, is investing £1.5bn in new houses between now and 2024. It currently has 1,980 shared ownership properties in its portfolio.

The full Another way: How shared ownership can improve the UK housing market report can be accessed here.

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