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.