FAQs: Buying a home through Shared Ownership
What size share can I purchase in a Shared Ownership property?
Generally speaking, the minimum share is available to purchase in a new build Shared Ownership property is 25%, and the maximum share is 75%. However, this may vary depending on the housing association. Your income and savings will be assessed by an independent financial advisor to determine what size share is affordable for you. So, the minimum share available may be set to 30% by the housing association, but if it is affordable you could purchase a 40%/50% etc share.
With resale properties, however, the minimum share will be whatever the seller has purchased previously. So, if the seller had a 70% share in their Shared Ownership property, the minimum share you can purchase will be 70%.
How long does it take to get a property via Shared Ownership?
The process of purchasing a new-build property depends on a number of factors, such as the length of time required to arrange mortgage financing and the speed at which the solicitors involved can process the sale. Usually it takes around two months from start to finish, however it can take as little as 28 days if everything proceeds quickly. Although, if building work has yet to be completed on the development this may lengthen the process.
What is a Shared Ownership lease?
The Shared Ownership lease sets out the rights and obligations of both the landlord (i.e. the housing association) and tenant (i.e. the shared owner). The housing association has a contractual right to ensure that the shared owner complies with the terms of the lease. A Shared Ownership lease is where the leaseholder has purchased a share in the equity and pays rent on that share retained by the landlord.
Typically a Shared Ownership leaseholder will own 25%, 50% or 75% of the property and pay rent on that part of the property owned by the landlord. The actual proportion owned by the leaseholder and the landlord can vary from the examples above.
Can I increase my share of my Shared Ownership property to 100%?
Yes, this is called staircasing. However, the staircasing process will vary depending on which version of the Shared Ownership scheme you bought with as some changes were introduced as part of the new Shared Ownership model in 2021/2022.
You can usually staircase to the point that you own the property outright, with the price of the additional share being purchased based on the value of your home at the time you want to staircase.
You should check with your housing provider as to the specific terms of staircasing arrangements for the home you intend to buy. In most cases you will be able to staircase all the way to 100%, but you should check your lease before purchasing, as some agreements cap the share at which you can staircase to.