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The new Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has announced changes to the way Shared Ownership works, in an attempt to get more young people onto the property ladder. We take a look at these changes and what they mean for homebuyers.

How does Shared Ownership currently work?

The Government provides a range of schemes designed to help first time buyers onto the property ladder. The Shared Ownership scheme is designed for first time buyers who can’t afford the mortgage on 100% of their home.

Instead, they can buy a share of your property – between 25% to 75% – and pay rent on the rest. When the first time buyer is in a position to pay more, they can buy a bigger share of the property.

What are the changes to Shared Ownership?

Before today’s announcement was made, homeowners within the Shared Ownership scheme could only increase their share of a property in 10% chunks.

However, in today’s announcement, the Housing Secretary has unveiled plans to allow buyers to increase their share on the property – otherwise known as ‘staircasing’ – by just 1% at a time.

An example of how this works is detailed on the GOV.UK website as follows:

A family in a £200,000 shared ownership 3-bedroom property could buy an initial 25% stake with a mortgage for £50,000 while paying subsidised rent on the remainder.

They would then have to save up £15,000 at a time to increase their stake and decrease their rent. However, under the new proposals, shared owners would be able to save up 1% at a time – or £2,000.

When will these changes come into effect?

These changes to Shared Ownership as outlined today are expected to come into effect early next year, although this hasn’t been confirmed. Only time will tell how these changes will impact the property market.

However, the Housing Secretary has also announced a change that has been actioned with ‘immediate effect’ today. A loophole has been closed that banned homeowners from taking out a mortgage with a term of more than 25 years, meaning that they can reduce their monthly mortgage repayments by spreading their borrowing over a longer period. The aim of this is to make it easier for people using Help to Buy to get a 35-year mortgage.

Help for first time buyers

Ayers & Cruiks are here to help you find your dream home and can advise you on the best ways of getting on property ladder within your budget.

For more tips on how to buy your first home, make sure you download our FREE first time buyers guide, which we’ve designed to support you throughout the process.

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