UK expands shared home ownership scheme

The UK government is to make it easier for young couple to get in the housing ladder by expanding the right to shared ownership.

Prime Minister David Cameron said that tens of thousands of young couples will be helped by reforms to existing part buy, part rent schemes. The policy should see 175,000 more aspiring home owners being able to buy a stake in their own home.

Current rules that favour so called key workers such as nurses and fire fighters will be scrapped which means any households with an income of less than £80,000, or £90,000 in London, will be able to sign up to the schemes.

Also, for the first time, those already in a shared ownership property will be able to move to another, allowing them to use the capital they have gained to move to a bigger property, as their families grow.

‘For years, we’ve had shared ownership, where you part buy, part rent a property. So many people are attracted to this idea, especially those who thought they’d never have a chance of owning a home,’ Cameron said.

‘But, because it’s been heavily restricted, many of those people have missed out. We’ve had local councils dictating who is eligible, based on everything from salary to profession to where the buyer comes from,’ he added.

The changes will take effect from April next year and it means some people will be able to buy a house, for example in places like Yorkshire, with a deposit of just £1,400.

Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) welcomed the news. ‘By relaxing some of the existing restrictions, a potential 175,000 aspiring homeowners will be given the opportunity to own their own home, as well as allowing existing shared ownership homeowners the opportunity to step up the ladder,’ he said.

‘However, as with all housing promises, they can’t come quick, or big enough. There is still a huge issue with supply and available land upon which to build, not to mention the physical bricks, mortar and labour to do so,’ he pointed out.

‘The house building industry is desperately short of human resource and if we are to get Britain building the number of new houses required, we need to address this problem to create actual homes and not aspirational targets,’ he added.