Is Help to Buy: Shared Ownership right for you?

Published: June 2019

Help to Buy: Shared Ownership is a government-backed scheme that allows you to buy a share of the property and rent the remaining share from a Housing Association at a low-cost rate. You could own anywhere between 25% – 75%, meaning the deposit you put down will be much lower than if you were to buy on the open market, as you only need a deposit for the share you are purchasing. The scheme is designed to offer a helping hand onto the property ladder to those struggling to save or those with lower incomes.

The scheme is available to first time and next time buyers, looking to move onto or up the property ladder. To be eligible for the scheme, you will need to be registered with Help to Buy South and want to live in Hampshire & Isle of Wight, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Mendip, Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset or North Somerset. You can find the eligibility criteria here. You can also take a look at our guide on registering with Help to Buy South for Shared Ownership here.

The great thing about Help to Buy: Shared Ownership is that you will own part of your home which means you will be able to decorate as you please! If you do want to make any big changes, such as knocking down a wall or adding on an extension you would need to seek the Housing Association’s permission first. This is because it could increase the value of your home.

Like any other homeowner, you will have full responsibility for the repairs and maintenance in your home, including annual gas boiler servicing. However, if you buy a new build home, the developer may have a period of time during which they will be liable for any defects identified in the property. Flat owners will have to carry out repairs inside their flats but are not usually responsible for external and communal areas, as your service charge will contribute towards this.

You can also buy more shares and own more of your home in the future! Depending on the terms of your lease, you may be able to buy more shares when you can afford to. This is known as Staircasing. You do not have to if you do not want to and can stay a Shared Owner forever, owning the same share as you did when you moved in. However, if you do buy more shares, the rent you pay on the share you do not own will be less. A surveyor will normally assess the value of your home based on the market value at that time, so that the value of further shares can be calculated.

Selling your Help to Buy: Shared Ownership home is possible and you will need to speak to the Housing Association that dealt with the original purchase. The terms of your lease will specify a period of time when your property will be marketed for sale by the Housing Association you originally purchased through. This ensures that other people are able to benefit from affordable home ownership. The Housing Association will charge to do this, but it is likely to be cheaper than if you were to sell through an estate agent. The property is then sold at the market value at the time of resale. If your Housing Association is unable to find a buyer for your share, it may be possible to sell your home on the open market. So if you’re ready to start climbing the property ladder, take a look at our website and start your home ownership journey today!