Home Buying Affordable Home Ownership Schemes: As Demand Soars, The Rules Are About To...

Affordable Home Ownership Schemes: As Demand Soars, The Rules Are About To Change

Help To Buy

Help To Buy and Shared Ownership, two of the UK’s most popular alternative home ownership schemes are proving increasingly popular with first-time buyers but in April, the way each scheme works is going to change.

According to research from reallymoving.com, 17.2% of first-time buyers used one of the two affordability schemes in 2020, up from 15.4% in 2019, and 13.1% in 2018.

Indeed, Shared Ownership’s increased popularity meant that, in 2020, 10.1% of all first-time buyer transactions made use of the scheme, while 7.1% using a Help To Buy loan.

On 1st April,  however, the rules for both schemes are going to change.

Read all about how Shared Ownership and Help To Buy work in their current forms.


The updated Help To Buy scheme will run until 2023 and is available exclusively to first-time buyers. Furthermore, the scheme will operate with regional price caps in order to make sure it helps in those parts of the country where help is needed most.

Any developers who wish to offer Help To Buy homes under these new rules will be required to sign up to the new ‘Property Ombudsman’. It is hoped that this will provide a greater guarantee of high building standards executed with sustainability in mind, areas in which Help To Buy homes have not always been successful. 

As for Shared Ownership, the updated scheme will enable buyers to purchase a minimum share of just 10% of a home instead of the previous minimum of 25%. This makes the scheme far more accessible to a wider demographic of potential buyers. 

The updated scheme will also allow staircasing installments (buying back the portion of the property you don’t yet own) of 1%, instead of insisting on at least 5% or 10% as the rules currently state. 

Another vital upgrade of the Shared Ownership in the introduction of a 10-year grace period where the Housing Association will be required to pay for maintenance and repairs, rather than burdening the homeowner and making it even more difficult for them to staircase. 

Currently, Shared Ownership homeowners can own as little as 25% of the property yet be responsible for 100% of maintenance and repairs costs. A system which is blatantly unfair. 

If you have any questions about Shared Ownership or Help To Buy, our in-house property expert, Russell Quirk, is happy to help.  Drop us a message in the comments section below and he’ll get back to you right away.


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