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Getting onto the property ladder and purchasing that first home is an increasingly difficult task. We’re all aware of the rising house prices all over the country which is pricing many first time buyers out of the market. First time buyers also have to deal with the high, often unachievable, deposits that comes with these prices along with cautious mortgage lenders.

Just this week it has been revealed that the cost of a first-time buyer home is up almost 10% – an extra £16,000 – in a year across the UK. I think it is fair to say that wages haven’t increased by this level – so what are first time buyers to do to buy their dream home?

The government has introduced a number of schemes, such as Help-to-Buy and Right-to-Buy, to try and kick-start this suffering sector. They’ve also introduced another scheme called Shared Ownership which offers potential buyers an alternative route to home-ownership.

Shared Ownership

Shared Ownership is a scheme sometimes known as ‘Part Buy Part Rent’ and refers to all low-cost home ownership schemes available to prospective buyers in England. It is meant as a stepping stone to outright ownership via staircasing. The scheme initially works like this: you put down a deposit of at least 5% and use a mortgage to typically pay between 25-75% of the property value. You then pay rent on the remaining share until you can afford to buy a bigger chunk from the housing association.

Staircasing is a key aspect to the scheme giving part owners the opportunity and ability to increase their share of the property until they own 100%, where you can then sell your property yourself if you wish. If you do decide to sell when you are a full owner, the housing association has ‘first refusal’ to buy the property back for the next 21 years. It’s important to note that you can sell your share at any time and will benefit from any increase in value since your purchase.

Eligibility

You have to be able to tick these three eligibility criteria to buy a home through shared ownership:

  • You’re a first time buyer
  • Your household earns less than £60,000 a year (more in London)
  • You rent a council or housing association property

There are also a few separate strands to the shared ownership scheme aimed at people over the age of 55 and those with disabilities.

Is it a valid option?

Answering this question depends on your own individual circumstances. First and foremost you have to make sure you are in a viable financial situation to commit to your purchase. There are the usual fees associated with buying a house, such as solicitor conveyancing charges, stamp duty, insurance, maintenance and general moving costs. Be aware that you will be paying your mortgage back plus a rent for the remaining share – make sure this all adds up with your finances.

Undoubtedly it is a way to get half a foot onto the property ladder which can then be transferred into a firm two footed stance. As mentioned, there are other first time buyer schemes that might be more relevant to you, so it’s best to assess all options before you make your final decision.

If you are buying or selling, the residential property conveyancing team at Gorvins will be able to assist you with the legal transfer of the property. Give us a call today on 0343 507 5151 or email us at enquiries@gorvins.com and we will be able to give you a fixed fee quote.