Shared ownership activity drops

Recent research has revealed a fall in shared ownership transactions across most of England and Wales.

According to My Home Move, shared ownership activity has dropped in 7 out of 9 regions, despite a number of Government attempts to increase access to the property ladder for house hunters.

The research, based on around 50,000 transactions from the past year, London, the South East, the North East, Wales, The West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Home Counties have all seen a drop in shared ownership transactions.

A recent survey revealed that just over 1 in 10 (11%) aspiring home buyers were looking to purchase a shared ownership home, whilst 30% claimed they were unsure what shared ownership was. In contrast, almost 80% stated that they hoped to purchase a home outright.

In light of these statistics, My Home Move have questioned whether there needs to be an increased effort to build awareness in shared ownership and encourage more aspiring buyers to enter the scheme.

Commenting on this was Doug Crawford. The CEO of My Home Move highlighted how an image change could be what the scheme needs in order to attract new home buyers.

“Last February the Government pledged to fix Britain’s broken housing market, and yet one of the schemes designed to encourage home ownership is falling in popularity. Our research highlights just how small transactional volumes for shared ownership are, raising questions as to whether the scheme needs to change its image to attract new home buyers.

“It’s our belief that home buyers, despite the lack of housing stock, are turned off by phrases like ‘affordable housing’, which is often used to describe ‘shared ownership’. Yes, they want to be able to afford their home, but they want to buy a dream. The idea of buying a home that has been built to fulfil a quota, or is being sold through a housing association and so has the negative connotations of social housing attached to it, is just too much for some. Perhaps we need to ‘rebrand’ the image of shared ownership, to bring it in line with initiatives like the Government’s Help to Buy, to make it more attractive to first-time buyers.

“With these findings in mind, we think there is a missed opportunity for those involved in shared ownership schemes, to educate aspiring first-time buyers better.  Shared ownership can offer those trapped as ‘generation renters’ a real possibility of getting onto the property ladder, but it’s all a question of selling them the dream and maybe it’s time to find out what would make aspiring first-time buyers change their mind.”

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