Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO)
Buying a home through Older Persons Shared Ownership
Shared Ownership is a popular scheme amongst first time buyers and growing families, but did you know that the scheme is also open to older people?
Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO), available for those aged 55 or over, enables buyers to part buy/part rent a purpose-built home, whether it be because they’re looking to downsize from their existing family home or their current abode simply isn’t suitable for their needs anymore.
What is Older Persons Shared Ownership?
This scheme works in a similar way to Shared Ownership, meaning that the purchaser buys a share in a property – usually between 25% to 75% – through a mortgage or savings, and then pays a subsidised rent to a housing association on the remainder.
This means that monthly costs are often much smaller than a full mortgage or privately renting a home.
How is Older Persons Shared Ownership different to Shared Ownership?
Other than variances in the age criteria, the key difference with OPSO from Shared Ownership is that the maximum share that you can buy is normally 75%, rather than the usual 100%. However, on the majority of OPSO homes once a purchaser owns 75%, there is no rent payable on the remaining 25% share.
Can I buy more shares?
Through a process known as ‘staircasing’, you can choose to buy more shares in your home as and when you can afford to. As you buy more shares, your mortgage (if applicable) will increase and your rent will decrease.
If you choose to staircase to the maximum 75% share of an OPSO home, you will continue to pay your mortgage (if applicable) but will no longer pay any rent on the remaining 25%.
What is the eligibility criteria for Older Persons Shared Ownership?
If you choose to apply for the Older Persons Shared Ownership scheme, the general eligibility criteria is:
- You must be aged 55 years or older. However, some OPSO developments will allow a couple where the main applicant is 55 but a second applicant is 50 or older.
- Your maximum household income must not exceed £90,000 per annum in London or £80,000 outside of London.
- You should be unable to purchase a home suitable for your needs without assistance.
- You do not already own a home, or you will need to sell any existing property owned before purchasing through the scheme.
- You will need to be able to secure a mortgage or have sufficient savings to pay the share in full if retired.
- You must not have any outstanding credit issues such as unsatisfied defaults or county court judgements.
What if I need additional care in my home?
Some developments offer OPSO alongside a scheme called Extra Care. This is designed to provide residents with the ability to live independently in their own home while still having access to care and support services tailored to their individual needs.
If applying for an Extra Care development, the buyer must have a minimum number of hours care requirement per week and a connection to the location area.
Extra Care is not available within every development and would need to be discussed with the relevant housing provider at the outset.
How do I find a home through Older Persons Shared Ownership?
If you think that Older Persons Shared Ownership is the next step in your home buying journey, why not check out some of the available properties today!
Visit our property search tool where you can look for homes in your area based on your own requirements and needs; this includes tenure where you can choose Older Persons Shared Ownership, as well as the property type, number of bedrooms and search radius. If you’re interested in purchasing a part-buy part-rent home, you can find out more via our article index and Shared Ownership terms and conditions.