What’s holding shared ownership back from reaching its full potential?

Breaking down barriers

We commissioned a YouGov survey of more than 200 shared ownership buyers from across the UK to help us better understand the experiences of people who have purchased homes through the scheme. 

Shared ownership is designed to be a blend of traditional ownership and rent, helping people to get on the housing ladder without the sizeable deposits needed for a traditional mortgage and freeing tenants from expensive private rental agreements. 

recommend 0 %

would likely recommend shared ownership to a friend or family member

volume 0 %

said there should be more shared ownership homes available in their local area

mortgage 0 %

found it difficult to find a mortgage for their property.

More than 62 per cent of the people we spoke to said they would likely recommend shared ownership to a friend or family member, suggesting that most experiences are positive. This was reflected by the fact that 59 per cent said there should be more shared ownership homes available in their local area.   

Also positively, a very small number of respondents (20 per cent) said they found it difficult to find a mortgage for their property. 

But the results also uncovered several issues with the complexity of how shared ownership works or financial barriers to building up equity that still need to be addressed. 

Staircasing 0 %

had not staircased in their current property

Affordability 0 %

said they couldn’t afford to save the money needed to staircase

Awareness 0 %

were unaware that they could move from their existing shared ownership home to another shared ownership property

Nearly 90 per cent of the respondents to our survey hadn’t staircased at all in their current property, despite most (73 per cent) saying they fully understood what staircasing was.

Delving into the reasons for this, it’s clear that the key issue is affordability. More than 60 per cent said they couldn’t afford to save the money needed to staircase.  When asked what would make increasing equity easier, the most commonly cited suggestions were all related to making the process more financially manageable.  

Of those respondents who had staircased (20 out of our sample of 205), some 40 per cent said lowering or removing stamp duty on higher equity thresholds would have made the process easier. More than a third wanted to be able to increase their share in smaller increments and another third would like to see discounts on equity based on how long they had lived in the home. 

Our research also discovered areas where the housing sector could be doing a better job of communicating. In our last shared ownership report, we found widespread misunderstanding from the general public towards the scheme. This year, we found that even people who have bought a shared ownership property aren’t always clear on the process. 

More than half (52%) were unaware that they could move from their existing shared ownership home to another shared ownership property. A further 49 per cent of those who would be unlikely to recommend shared ownership to a family or friend discovered that there were unexpected fees involved in buying and living in a home purchased through the scheme. 

Whether it’s the government introducing policies that make shared ownership more affordable or the housing sector streamlining the processes that currently complicate building equity, it’s clear that there are still some issues with how shared ownership works that create potential road blocks for buyers.