Shared ownership: three properties to give you an affordable foot on the ladder
House prices do fluctuate, but for decades now the direction of travel has only been one way: up.
That means it has become far more of a challenge for first-time buyers to get a foot on the housing ladder.
As reported in these pages last week, the average price paid by a first-time buyer in the UK last year was £256,057, up by £22,939 or 10 per cent from a year earlier, according to Halifax
The average deposit paid by a first-time buyer in the UK increased to £57,278 in 2020. This was compared to £46,449 the previous year.
Cheap it is not, so it makes sense to look at cheaper options. One that is growing in popularity is shared ownership. These highly popular schemes allow eligible buyers to secure a mortgage to buy a stake in a property – usually between 25 and 75 per cent – while paying rent at discount rates on the remaining share to the developer or housing association that owns the building.
Such properties are leasehold, which means a monthly service charge is often also payable, as well as a contribution to major maintenance works.
It’s possible to buy more of the home, usually in 10 per cent increments – an arrangement known as “staircasing” – which reduces the rental payments.
You can buy a home through shared ownership if your household earns £80,000 a year or less and you’re a first-time buyer, or you used to own a home but cannot afford to buy one now, or you’re an existing shared owner.
There are also two specialised schemes. The Home Ownership for People with Long-term Disabilities scheme (HOLD), allows people to buy a 25 per cent share, and the Older People’s Shared Ownership scheme, or OPSO, allows over-55s to buy up to 75 per cent of a property; after that point, rent is not payable on the rest.
There are a growing number of shared ownership schemes in our area, and the following three properties are broadly representative. There are many other properties available, though, so further research is highly advisable.
At Langthorpe, near Boroughbridge, 6 Pasture Close is a two-bedroom semi-detached house built in 2019 by Harron Homes on the Hockley Croft development. An 80 per cent share is available, but eligibility conditions apply, not least the requirement that the buyer have a local connection to Boroughbridge or the surrounding area.
In Harrogate, 29 St Luke’s Court is a studio flat in a stunning converted Victorian gothic church a short walk from the town centre, just off King’s Road. The price listed is for a 75 per cent share, implying a total value of £125,000.
Finally, in Nidderdale, a 25 per cent share of a three-bed semi-detached house at Church View in Dacre Banks is available for £75,000, implying a total value of £300,000. Again a local connection is required. Further shares may be bought at a later date, but the maximum is capped at 80 per cent as the property is subject to a Rural Restriction to ensure the availability of affordable housing in the local area.