Shared ownership is a vital product for young people who want to own their own home and the housing sector should work hard to protect it
GROWTH & REGENERATION
Director of Residential Investment, Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing
The prospect of becoming a homeowner can seem out of reach for many young people, with staggering house price growth, increasingly high deposits and a general lack of lower loan-to-value mortgage options – even before the pandemic. Despite the government implementing new schemes, it is our belief at MTVH that we should instead focus our efforts on shared ownership – an existing product that has stood the test of time for decades.
Our dedicated shared ownership brand, SO Resi, recently published a research report in conjunction with Cambridge University that looked at the shared ownership market in 2020. So what are its key conclusions and next steps?
Among other data sets, our research shows that, since 2015/16, the number of shared ownership completions per year has more than quadrupled from just 4,084 to 17,021. As demand for the product booms like never before, it is vital that the government and housing sector work cohesively to protect shared ownership, which we know is vital for so many buyers.
It is young people who benefit most from shared ownership and our research reveals that most shared ownership purchasers are aged between 20 and 40 (72%), with the late 20s being the most common time to purchase.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the largest group of shared ownership purchasers are single adults without children (50%), followed by childless couples (35%). This initial demographic would otherwise be excluded from homeownership due to being unable to access a mortgage on the open market with a single income.
Shared ownership: key statistics
Shared ownership completions per year
of shared ownership purchasers are aged between 20-40 (late 20s is the most common time to purchase)
of shared ownership purchasers are single adults without children
of shared ownership purchasers are couples without children
Shared ownership often comes under fire. We know that the product isn’t perfect, but it is incredibly important and has supported hundreds of thousands of people onto and indeed up the property ladder since its introduction more than 40 years ago.
Despite misconceptions that those in shared ownership homes will never staircase, our research shows that on average 2-3% of shared owners staircase to 100% ownership each year. We know that staircasing simply isn’t possible for all shared owners, but that is the beauty of shared ownership: it is flexible and individuals can make the scheme work to suit them.
Of course, there is always room for improvement, and at MTVH we are working hard alongside other industry leaders and the government to ensure that our shared ownership offering remains fit for purpose.
“Despite misconceptions that those in shared ownership homes will never staircase, our research shows that on average 2-3% of shared owners staircase to 100% ownership each year.”
The new Affordable Homes Programme comes into effect this year, and is a step in the right direction, working to tackle some of the criticisms aimed at shared ownership. Amongst other changes, homes delivered under the new scheme will be available to buyers on a minimum 10% purchase share, which will further widen the doors to homeownership and afford more buyers the chance to take a step onto the property ladder.
What’s more, shared owners will now be able to staircase in 1% increments. At SO Resi, we have offered this to our buyers since 2017 via our SO Resi Plus scheme, which allows our customers to increase their shares by 1% each year for 15 years at an agreed, fixed price. Our model is a proven success, and we are pleased that the wider shared ownership market will benefit from 1% staircasing.
At MTVH, we passionately believe in the delivery of quality, affordable homes for all, whether this is through affordable rent or shared ownership. It is part of our DNA to ensure our customers have access to this, and we firmly support the upcoming changes to shared ownership that will help deliver the right affordable homes that this country so desperately needs.
There is no one solution to fix the wider issues behind our current housing crisis, but shared ownership is an essential component of our housing market, working to bridge the gap between renting and full ownership. Shared ownership must be protected, or we risk excluding a huge proportion of would-be buyers from the opportunity to own their own home.