Housing association Aster Group has revealed that it plans to build 2,800 new shared ownership homes over the next five years.
The move would boost its shared ownership portfolio to over 5,000 by 2024.
The announcement, made during Shared Ownership Week 2019 (19th-25th September), reflects the rising popularity of the product. Aster is building homes across the south of England with demand for shared ownership properties nationally expected to increase by 150 per cent by 2023, according to Savills.
Aster, which offers homes across a range of tenures, built 453 shared ownership properties in the year to the end of March 2019 – its highest single-year total for homes of this tenure.
Research by Aster for its Another Way report has revealed that six in 10 shared ownership customers (62 per cent) would recommend the product to friends and family.
Amy Nettleton, Assistant Development Director – Sales and Marketing at Aster Group, said: “First-time buyers face huge challenges when it comes to taking that first step onto the property ladder. I have always been a passionate advocate of a tenure that provides high-quality, affordable and secure housing to people in every corner of the country and we know that shared ownership is a viable solution to the UK’s housing crisis.”
A lack of education – among both the general public and shared ownership home owners – was identified by Aster as a key challenge facing the sector in the Another Way report. It found that 60 per cent of those surveyed did not know they could move from their existing shared ownership property to another one, and while 73 per cent understood the concept of staircasing – the process of gradually growing an equity stake in the property – only one in 10 had attempted it.
Amy added: “We currently have more than 2,500 shared ownership properties in our portfolio and we will continue to place a strong focus on this type of tenure. But if shared ownership is to reach its potential then more needs to done to bring people on this journey with us. Communication is key and we must work together to build the shared ownership brand, simplifying the language we use when talking about the product. Only in doing so will we be able to dispel some of the myths that surround this type of tenure and really demonstrate the opportunities it can provide.”