Shared Ownership could be your perfect first step on the housing ladder.
If you’re struggling to get into the housing market, seeing your ever-increasing rent disappear into the ether as you try to save for a deposit, there is another way. Shared Ownership is a government-backed scheme that helps those without a property to buy a percentage of a home. Here’s what you need to know, from deposits to rent and how to find out if you’re eligible for schemes like Points Cross in Leeds.
What is Shared Ownership?
When you usually buy a house, you put down a deposit – typically 10% of the purchase cost for a first-time buyer – and arrange a mortgage for 90% of the rest of the cost. With Shared Ownership – by contrast – you buy a percentage of your new home, paying rent on the rest, which is owned by your housing partner. In the case of Points Cross in Leeds, that’s Guinness Homes. One of the key things to remember about Shared Ownership is that you don’t actually have to live with anyone else, this isn’t joint ownership. You can then buy further shares in the property if you can afford it – speak to your housing provider first to find out more.
Will you need a deposit?
One of the main obstacles for people trying to buy their first house is the deposit. Take a £250,000 house in Leeds – you’ll most likely have to save £25,000 for a deposit on that. At the same time, you’ll be paying rent and bills. With Shared Ownership, you still have to pay a deposit, but it’s only on the share you own. So if you’re taking a 25% stake in the home you’re buying, a 10% deposit is just 2.5% of the total cost. Instead of £25,000, you’d only have to save £6,250, meaning you can get moving much sooner. Heck, in some cases the deposit needed is only 5%.
What are the benefits?
Aside from the smaller deposit, there are several other benefits to Shared Ownership. Equity is one of them. Renting a house is no kind of investment, but if your Shared Ownership home increases in value, you’ll earn equity on your share, meaning that you may have more to play with if you come to sell. You’re also likely to save money. You’ll have mortgage repayments and rent on the remainder, with service charges and sometimes ground rent added on top, to maintain communal areas.
What can I do with my home?
While you’ll still be paying rent on the share of the home you don’t own, you’re free to redecorate, so you can put your personal stamp on your place, something that’s very important to most homeowners. Want a new carpet? Pick one out. Want to go with a new colour scheme? Let your inner Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen free. You can also arrange your own utilities and, when you want to move on, your housing provider will be on hand to help you sell.
How do shares work and can you buy more?
Your initial share will be based on what you can afford, and can be a minimum of 25% and a maximum of 75%. The larger the share you take on, the smaller your rent will be. If you want to buy a larger share later on, you can – it’s called ‘staircasing’. You’ll buy it based on the market value of the home when you purchase the shares, but once you’ve done so, your rent will be recalculated and reduced too. It also means you’ll own more when you come to sell the property.
Will you be surrounded by buy-to-let properties?
One of the great things about Shared Ownership is that there are restrictions on who can participate. Those people with multiple homes looking for a buy-to-let investment? They can’t buy one. People buying as an investment they’re going to leave empty? No, they’re not welcome either. In other words, you’ll be living next door to people who want to live here and have a vested interest in the area being a pleasure to live in. It really helps to build a friendly, cohesive community.
How do you know if you’re eligible?
Like buying any home, you’ll need to be 18 or over. You’ll also need to be resident in the UK. Whether you’re buying solo or with a partner, your household income, outside of London, will need to be less than £80,000 and you mustn’t be able to afford a home on the open market. If you already own a home, you’ll have to have a buyer for it to be able to use the Shared Ownership scheme – you can’t own another property at the same time.
What else do you need to know?
If you want to know more about the pros and cons of Shared Ownership, you can arrange to get a look at Leeds’ landmark Points Cross development. They’ll talk you through the process and will put you in touch with one of their panel of mortgage brokers to explore your options and affordability. Whether you’re just starting a family or looking for somewhere to put your mark on, Points Cross has a range of options available, and they’re all part of the Shared Ownership scheme.
The first phase of homes at Points Cross has now been released. Find out more and see if you could be in a brand-new shared ownership home by May 2023.