Government focus on shared ownership

The new Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has reaffirmed government commitment to increasing home ownership, but is focusing most attention on expanding the shared ownership model.

In a press statement issued soon after taking office, The Housing Secretary suggests that a new national model for shared ownership will provide a significant boost to younger people trying to get onto the housing ladder.

Under the scheme, people buy a percentage of their home – at least 25%. They pay rent on the remainder, but can gradually increase their equity holding over time.  At present, they can only buy more equity in 10% chunks – which could represent an immediate cost of £45,000.  Under the new proposals it would be possible to buy as little as 1% at a time, making the whole process less daunting and more feasible.

Other proposals include an immediate change to close a loophole that prevented people taking out a mortgage with a term longer than 25 years and enabling buyers using the Help to Buy scheme to access 35-year mortgages.  The stated intention of these initiatives is to reduce monthly mortgage repayments.

The initial statement also included an outline plan to enable local first time buyers to purchase new houses at a reduced cost – a move that could simultaneously help community cohesion and reduce local opposition to new developments.

In press interviews, Mr Jenrick went on to indicate that there will be further measures to unlock brownfield land, increase housing in town centres and reform the planning system to increase housing delivery.