More households in England will be eligible to buy part of their home from April, as the Government is expanding its ‘shared ownership’ scheme.
The initiative, which is provided through local housing associations, enables first-time buyers and people who used to own a home but can’t afford to buy one now, to buy a 25% to 75% share of their home.
They fund this via their own savings or by getting a mortgage, and then pay rent on the remaining share they don’t own.
Once you’ve become a homeowner you can then increase your share, although the cost of the new share will depend on how much your home is worth at the time of buying.
So what’s changing?
Currently, you’re only eligible for the scheme if your household earns £60,000 a year or less outside of London, or £71,000 a year or less in London for a one or two bedroom property, or £85,000 a year or less in London for a three or more bedroom property.
But from April – the Government has yet to release an exact date – these income caps will be raised.
So households earning up to £80,000 outside of London will be eligible, while households earning up to £90,000 in London will also be eligible – regardless of the number of bedrooms the property has.
Under the new measures the scheme will also be opened up to people of any occupation.
At present, those who rent a council or housing association home, as well as military personnel are given priority for buying a home through shared ownership.
According to the Government, local councils also dictate who should be a priority based on a wide of range of factors from salary to profession to where the buyer comes from.
But from April, only military personnel will be given be priority over other groups from April.
The Government says these changes mean 175,000 more people will be eligible for homeownership.
Should I buy a home using shared ownership?
As outlined above, you can only buy a home through shared ownership if you meet certain criteria. But even if you do meet these, check first if a different home ownership scheme is better for you.
The Government’s ‘Help to Buy mortgage guarantee’ helps you to buy a home with just a 5% deposit.
The ‘Help to Buy equity loans’ scheme sees the Government offering loans of up to 20% of the property price, which are interest free for five years. See ownyourhome.gov.uk/schemes-all/ website for more schemes.
How do I buy a home through shared ownership?
To buy a home under shared ownership, you need to contact the ‘Help to Buy’ agent in the area you want to buy. See a full list of contact details on helptobuy.gov.uk/equity-loan/find-helptobuy-agent.