Government announces changes to shared ownership

Yesterday the government made a pretty significant announcement regarding the future of shared ownership schemes, though you’d be forgiven for missing it given how quickly it was overshadowed by other events.

The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick introduced a package of measures aiming to improve home ownership for low earners, the most significant being a review on a new national model for shared ownership, which would allow shared owners to buy their homes in 1% increments, as opposed to the current standard of 10%.

To use an example handily provided by the MHCLG, currently a family in a £150,000 shared ownership two bedroom property could buy an initial 25% stake, then have to pay up to £15,000 to increase it. Under government plans, this could fall to £1,500 to increase their stake.

In the press release Robert Jenrick stated, “My mission is to increase the number of homes that are being delivered and to get more young people and families onto the housing ladder, particularly those on lower incomes. That’s why I am announcing radical changes to shared ownership so we can make it simpler and easier for tens of thousands trying to buy their own home.”

Labour, perhaps unsurprisingly, are less convinced. Shadow housing minister Sarah Jones said, “Tinkering with the details of shared ownership is meaningless when lack of investment from government means low-cost homes for ownership simply aren’t getting built. The Tories have failed to deliver the low-cost homes we need to get people on the housing ladder.”

Fancy letting the government know your opinions on this matter? They’ve launched a consultation on it which can be viewed here.

Also announced was the closing of a loophole in the Help to Buy scheme that prevented people from taking out a mortgage with a term of more than 25 years, which the government hopes will reduce monthly mortgage payments for first time buyers.

This could be just the tip of the iceberg, with perhaps more announcements in next week’s brought-forward Spending Review. Stay tuned for more exciting housing news…which may or may not get overshadowed again.