1st-time buyers confused about how shared ownership works

Too few young people understand how shared ownership works and so this way of buying a home is underused by first-time buyers.

The Leeds Building Society commissioned YouGov to carry out research across the UK into the attitudes and knowledge of 18-24-year-olds to shared ownership.

The results show that only 40 percent of first-time buyers in that age group have heard of shared ownership, even though this type of tenure has been available to home buyers across the country for almost 40 years.

In shared ownership, a buyer buys up to 70 percent of a property, usually through a housing association. They pay rent on the share they don’t own but can buy further shares, known as staircasing, until they own their property outright.

In the YouGov research, three-quarters of people quizzed across the UK said they were aware of shared ownership. When broken down into age groups, 83 percent of those aged 55 and over said they knew of it, as did 79 percent of 45-54-year-olds, 78 percent of 35-44-year-olds and 70 percent of 25-34-year-olds.

However, those figures fell to 40 percent in the youngest age group. And of those who said they had heard of shared ownership, only one in five (20 percent) said they understood how the scheme actually works with most thinking it meant buying with family or a friend.

Jaedon Green, director of product and distribution at Leeds Building Society, said: “Shared ownership as a method of purchasing has been around since the 1970s and offers a realistic way of getting on to the property ladder.

“It’s a proven formula that helps people a home, even where a traditional mortgage is not affordable, and its longevity is testament to its success.

“The method is becoming increasingly popular for first-time buyers as it reduces the need for a significant deposit, which can be difficult for some to manage.

“However, awareness still needs to be raised about the benefits of shard ownership, as it continues to be misunderstood and underused by many of the people the scheme was designed to help, particularly those aged 18 to 24.