The government has announced that it is to review a new national model for shared ownership, with the aim of making it easier for people to buy more of their own home.
Included is a way for people in Shared Ownership to buy in 1% increments. At present, they have to buy an increased share in 10% chunks. This process is known as ‘staircasing’.
Through shared ownership people can buy a proportion of their home – as little as 25% – paying a subsidised rent on the remainder.
Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “Building the houses this country needs is a central priority of this government. We know that most people still want to own their own home, but for many the dream seems a remote one. My mission is to increase the number of homes that are being delivered and to get more young people and families onto the housing ladder, particularly those on lower incomes.
“That’s why I am announcing radical changes to shared ownership so we can make it simpler and easier for tens of thousands trying to buy their own home.”
The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has welcomed the Government’s announcement but believes it raises a number of questions about administrative costs. Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the NFB, said: “The Government must ensure that improvements to shared ownership are not a fee trap. Saving £1,500 but paying £1,800 in fees will not help homeowners. Shared ownership must be affordable from start to finish.”
Amy Nettleton, of housing association Aster Group, which has 2,489 shared ownership homes in its portfolio, said: “Even those of us who believe passionately in shared ownership understand it’s not perfect and we should explore ways of improving it, such as simplifying the staircasing process. We know from our own research that a lack of awareness and misunderstanding are also holding it back, so focusing attention on how shared ownership works and who can benefit will be just as important as adjustments to the model itself. It’s heartening to see the government recognise shared ownership’s place in the national housing debate. We stand ready to do what we can to support the consultation.”
The Housing Secretary also announced he will look to reform the planning system to increase housing delivery and make home ownership more affordable for people looking to buy their first property, particularly in areas which are least affordable.