Shared Ownership Staircasing Guide

Buying more shares in your Shared Ownership home (staircasing)

Usually once you have lived in your home for a certain period of time as the shared owner (depending on the terms of your lease), you can buy further shares in your property. This process is known as staircasing, enabling you to own a greater proportion of your home. If you bought a resale property you can buy further shares too (depending on the terms of your lease).

The greater the share you buy in your home the less rent you will pay to your Housing Association. If you staircase to 100% you become an outright owner, and you will no longer need to pay rent.

You may acquire additional shares in your property at a price equal to the relevant proportion of the current full open market value of the property. For example: if your property is valued at £200,000 and you want to buy an additional 25% share, the purchase price will be £200,000 x 25% = £50,000.

There are no restrictions in the majority of cases however we would recommend in the first instance that you refer to your lease. This may require assistance from your legal representative.

Interested in buying more shares? Try our Staircasing Calculator

If you already own a Shared Ownership home and want to buy more shares – possibly right up to 100% outright ownership – we can help. Our Staircasing Calculator can help you work out if you have enough equity in your property to get a mortgage to buy more shares. It’s quick and easy to use – why not give it a go here.

At Share to Buy, we have huge experience of helping people like you to buy more shares and have assisted many clients in the journey from owning a smaller share to becoming a full owner.

What happens if I staircase to 100%?

You will not have to pay any rent, although any service charges will still have to be paid. You will effectively own your property.

If you wish to sell the property, you no longer have to give the housing association the opportunity of marketing the property. If the property is a house you may be able to buy the freehold from the housing association.

Can Share to Buy help me buy more shares?

Yes, Share to Buy has a great deal of experience in helping existing owners to staircase. Share to Buy has an online calculator so that you can what share you could purchase based on your equity and any savings.

It will also work out what the mortgage repayments and revised rent payments are likely to be.

What are the benefits of staircasing?

The main benefit of staircasing is that you will own more of the property and pay less in rent. You will therefore obtain greater benefit from any increase in the value of the property.

Do I have to staircase?

No, its entirely your decision, there is no obligation to buy more shares.

How many times can I staircase?

If there are restrictions on the number of times that you can staircase then it will be stipulated in your lease. Quite often it is three times and it is sensible from a financial point of view to staircase in the largest steps that you can manage.

How does staircasing effect my mortgage?

Unless you can afford to pay for the further shares from savings, staircasing will normally involve either taking a further advance from your current mortgage lender or a new mortgage for both your existing mortgage and the new shares from another lender.

As your property is unlikely to be classified as a new build and that the level of  your deposit/equity may be a different percentage of your new borrowing, a better deal is often obtained with a re-mortgage.

Do I need to speak to my solicitor?

There will be a need for legal work, so some costs will be involved. Where you are re-mortgaging several lenders will offer “free legals” as part of their offer or £250 towards your legal expenses. As it is more complex than a straight re-mortgage, a supplement is usually charged where the “free legals” option is chosen.

Can I sell my home?

Yes you can, if you own less than 100% you will usually be required to give the housing association a period of time to find a buyer, often 6 to 8 weeks, details will be found in your lease.

Should the housing association not be able to find a buyer then you are free to market yourself. Indeed you can list your property on the Share to Buy property site for only £59. If you own 100% then you can sell without reference to the housing association.

More information about selling your Shared Ownership home is available in our Selling your home guide

Is there any reason why I wouldn't be able to staircase?

If your property is subject to lease that has restricted staircasing, then the amount of the property that you can own will normally be limited to 80%.

This restriction is more often found in rural areas and is a result of the planning permission to ensure that the property is retained for local people and does not become available as a second home.