Housing association says shared ownership market needs more government support

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A housing association has criticised the government’s shared ownership scheme as not having enough support.

Aster Group commissioned a poll of 200 people in shared ownership schemes and found only 14% had received information about shared ownership from the government, and half relied on housing associations.

Some 52% of those polled didn’t know they could move into another shared ownership property, while 27% were aware but did not know how.

Shared ownership properties are bought on the basis that the occupier owns a percentage of the home, while the housing association owns the rest.

A study by Social Housing magazine found that sales of shared ownership properties rose in the regions last year, but fell in London, where house prices are typically higher. 

The data showed that low-cost home ownership sales, primarily made up of shared ownership properties, rose to just over 10,000 in England for the first time in some years. 


'Lack of understanding'

They can increase their equity stake, known as staircasing, but only 10% of those polled had managed to do that, with 63% saying they couldn’t afford to.

Aster claims that a “widespread lack of understanding” is holding back the shared ownership market, and leading occupiers to believe growing their equity stake is the only option.

Bjorn Howard, Group CEO of Aster, said: “There is an outdated view of shared ownership that it is simply a stepping stone to buying a house outright. While that is a route many will take, and one that still needs more backing, it is wrong to simply view shared ownership as a kind of housing limbo land. It offers people long-term security, a meaningful equity stake in the property market and the flexibility to make housing choices to suit their lifestyles.

“Those in shared ownership properties can improve them, to add value, or move to different ones – upsizing, downsizing or relocating just as any homeowner would. The fact that more than half of those in shared ownership today didn’t know this underlines the demand for more education from the housing industry, government and housing associations.”