There’s no denying that getting on the property ladder isn’t as simple as it once was. Whether you’re saving for a large deposit or struggling to get your mortgage application accepted, it’s a challenging situation, particularly for first-time buyers.

That’s why shared ownership - an affordable property purchasing solution - is so popular. If you can’t afford the deposit and mortgage payments for the home of your dreams, maybe Shared Ownership is the option for you.

What is Shared Ownership?

Shared Ownership is a relatively simple concept. You buy a share of your home and pay rent on the remaining amount. You can typically buy between 25% and 75% of the property’s full market value.

This offers much more flexibility and accessibility for buyers in two different ways. Firstly, it lowers the amount you need for a deposit - most deposits on a shared ownership scheme are between 5% and 10% of your share, not the full amount.

Secondly, a Shared Ownership scheme means you also reduce your mortgage repayments, while paying below-market rent on the other amount.

If you decide you want to buy more shares at any point, you can. Through a process called staircasing, you buy more shares of your home and reduce how much rent you pay on the remaining amount.

This ensures that you’re always in control during the buying process and in most cases, directly leads to full home ownership. With Shared Ownership, you get the home that you want, with a repayment plan that’s realistic for you.

How does Shared Ownership work?

Shared Ownership schemes are generally available through housing associations such as Platform, local councils or private developers. The properties available are leasehold properties and typically you’re able to buy:

  • A new-build property
  • An existing property that is within the shared ownership resale scheme
  • A property that meets specific needs - such as a ground-floor property for a disabled user

You can apply for a mortgage to buy your share or pay using savings, it really depends on what works for you.

You’ll also need a deposit, generally between 5% and 10% of the share amount, not the full market value.

This means a 5% deposit for a 25% share (£62,500) of a £250,000 property may be as little as £3,125 - much more accessible than what you’d pay through traditional purchasing methods.

It’s important to remember that due to Shared Ownership properties being leasehold properties, you’ll likely have to pay ground rent and service charges, which go towards the maintenance of the property or communal areas.

The wider benefit of Shared Ownership, however, is how affordable it makes the initial purchase process. Since you can buy as little as 25% of the property and may only require a deposit on 5% of that amount, it makes getting on the property ladder much more accessible.

In addition to that, you can usually defer any stamp duty until you own an 80% share of the property, which reduces your initial overall costs.

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Step by step, a guide to Shared Ownership

Download our latest Shared Ownership guide to find out whether Shared Ownership is a suitable route for you.

Shared Ownership Guide

Why buy Shared Ownership homes?

Buying Shared Ownership properties is ideal if you can’t afford to buy through traditional methods. The entire process is based on eligibility but if your application is successful, it offers a number of unique benefits:

  • You can buy a share of your home as small or as large as you feel comfortable with
  • Your deposit is based on the share you buy, not the full amount
  • You can defer on paying Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • The rent you pay on the remaining amount to the housing association or landlord is usually below market value, around 2.75% of the entire property value

Developers are also increasingly being encouraged to categorise a percentage of their development as Shared Ownership in return for planning permission. This is creating a larger amount of affordable housing in desirable areas and providing a broader range of choices for buyers.

It also provides a greater level of control over your repayments. If you find that you own a part-share of your home and you’re ready to take on more responsibility, the opportunity is there to increase the size of your share.

Shared Ownership, explained.

Through our shared ownership scheme, we’ve helped thousands of people step onto the property ladder. And we could help you too.

Who is eligible for Shared Ownership?

The Shared Ownership scheme is available if both of the following apply to you:

  • Your household income is below £80,000 a year. The threshold increases to £90,000 if you’re buying in London.
  • You cannot afford the deposit and mortgage payments for your property of choice.

One of the following statements must also be true:

  • You’re a first-time buyer
  • You used to own a home but can’t afford to buy now
  • You’re forming a new household - typically after a relationship breakdown
  • You’re already part of the Shared Ownership scheme but want to move
  • You own a home and want to move but can’t afford the new home that meets your needs

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Find your new Shared Ownership home

If you're ready to take the next steps towards owning your own home, use our property search to see what's available in your area.

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Shared Ownership for current homeowners

The rules change slightly if you already own a home. When you buy a Shared Ownership property you must have:

  • Accepted an offer for the sale of your current home, referred to as a ‘sold subject to contract’ or ‘STC’
  • Written confirmation of the sale - referred to as a ‘memorandum of sale’ which includes the price and intention to sell

Shared Ownership for older people

If you’re buying a Shared Ownership property and you’re 55 or over, you can buy up to a 75% share of the property through the Older People Shared Ownership (OPSO) scheme. Once you own a 75% share in total, you don’t pay rent on the remaining amount.

Shared Ownership for disabled people

If you have a long-term disability that impacts your needs, you may apply to the Home Ownership for People with a Long-Term Disability (HOLD) scheme. This helps you find a property that suits your specific needs, such as a ground-floor home if you have mobility challenges.

Frequently Asked Shared Ownership Questions

Most buyers who can’t afford to buy a home outright can apply to buy through shared ownership.

We may also be able to help if you need to move because of a relationship breakdown or if your work requires you to live in an area outside your price range.

In order to buy through the Shared Ownership scheme, you must be able to demonstrate that you can afford and sustain home ownership. If you proceed with Shared Ownership you will be required to undertake an affordability assessment.

You must meet our adverse credit policy, if you have a history of adverse credit you are unlikely to be accepted depending on individual circumstances.

There's 10 key steps to buying a home with us, and our aim at Platform is to make the buying process run as smoothly as possible for you, we outline the full process when buying through Shared Ownership here.

Our team are here to help you every step of the way.

Shared owners still have to pay many of the usual costs involved in buying a home.

Reservation fee

We will ask you for a £250 deposit to reserve your chosen home. When the sale goes through we put this towards your purchase payments. However, we cannot refund it if the sale does not go through.

Mortgage deposit and fees

Most mortgage lenders will ask for a 5% or 10% deposit towards the price of the share you want to buy. They are also likely to charge a valuation fee and administration fees.

Legal fees

Solicitors’ charges can vary so it is best to get a few estimates. You will also have to pay Land Registry and local search fees, and may have to pay stamp duty depending on the value of the property.

After you've moved in

You also need to budget for the ongoing costs of owning a home.

Mortgage repayments

You will have to make monthly mortgage repayments to your lender. Depending upon the type of mortgage you have, these repayments may vary as interest rates change.

Rent

You pay a subsidised monthly rent to us on the share of your home which we own. The amount is reviewed on the 1st April each year.

Service charges

You will have to pay a small charge if your home has any facilities or communal areas which we maintain, such as shared entrance halls, lighting and grounds. Your service charge will also include your buildings insurance and your management fee.

Household bills

These include your council tax and utility bills for water, gas and electricity.

Repairs

We will arrange for any defects on new-build homes to be repaired during a set time period. After that time has elapsed, you will be responsible for arranging and paying for all repairs to your home.

Home contents insurance

We provide buildings insurance with the cost of your service charge but this does not cover your belongings. We strongly recommend you arrange your own home contents insurance.

On the property listings for some of our shared ownership homes, you will see that we state a local connection to the area is required.

This generally applies in rural areas and small villages where land has been made available specifically for affordable housing to meet the needs of local people, rather than for private development.

These are known as ‘rural exception sites’ or 'protected areas' and are controlled by ‘Section 106 Agreements’. They aim to help local people and families afford homes in the area where they grew up.

The local connection criteria can vary between different developments, but is usually based on the following:

  • applicant was born in the area and has lived there for a number of years
  • applicant has permanently lived in the area for a number of years
  • applicant used to live in the area for a number of years but had to move away because of the lack of affordable housing
  • applicant has been permanently employed in the area for a number of years
  • The number of years is usually between 2 and 5, although this differs by local authority

Usually priority is given to applicants with a local connection to the parish. If there are still properties remaining, allocation will be opened up to surrounding parishes and then to the whole of the local authority area. This ensures that the homes are occupied by residents as local to the area as possible.

If you want to find out more about the local connection criteria for a particular development, or check if you qualify, please email sales@platformhg.com

Much will depend on your other financial commitments and what property/share you want to buy. We don't want you to be overstretched, so we need to be sure that you can afford to pay your mortgage and rent. We look at each application individually and will advise you on your options.

Shared ownership schemes are backed by government funding to help people on smaller incomes. So you will not qualify for most shared ownership schemes if your household income is less than £10,000 or more than £80,000 a year.