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Shared ownership mortgages

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What is a shared ownership mortgage?

It’s any mortgage that can be used to buy a home using the government’s shared ownership scheme. The mortgage doesn’t differ - you can still choose whether to have a fixed or variable rate, for example - but not all lenders offer them.

Despite this, you may see mortgages advertised as ‘shared ownership mortgages’ - or sometimes ‘part rent, part buy mortgages’. This is simply lenders making it clear that they accept applications from users of the shared ownership scheme.

It's easier to qualify for a mortgage when you only buy a share of a home because you'll borrow less and need a smaller deposit. This can be useful to those with a lower income.

How do shared ownership mortgages work?

You still borrow money from a lender to buy a home and provide a deposit of at least 5%, like any mortgage. The difference is that it only has to cover a percentage of the cost of the home - which you choose yourself based on affordability.

You can buy between 10% and 75% of the home to start with.

For example: Of a £200,000 property, you might choose to buy 50% - or £100,000 of it. This is made up of a minimum of a 5% deposit, in this case £10,000 and therefore £90,000 would be borrowed from the mortgage lender.

A housing association owns the other 50% of your property, so you pay rent to them for that share. Rent cannot be charged at more than 3% of the total property value per year. So the maximum rent for 50% of a £200,000 property is £250 per month - but there’s also sometimes a small service charge for communal areas.

You repay the loan over a set term - usually 25-30 years. At the end of this, you own 50% of the property - or whatever percentage you bought. You can increase ownership of your home over time, and most housing associations let you buy 100% of the property, but there are a few exceptions. This process is called staircasing.

What’s the eligibility for shared ownership?

To get a shared ownership mortgage, you must be eligible for the shared ownership scheme. This can vary depending on where in the UK you live and which housing association you're buying from. But usually, you must:

  • Be a first-time buyer or unable to afford to buy a home to meet your needs
  • Have a total household income of £80,000 or less - £90,000 or less in London
  • Have no rental or mortgage arrears (outstanding payments)
  • Have enough income to afford the mortgage and home ownership costs

There may be extra criteria depending on where you want to buy.

How do I apply for the shared ownership scheme?

You need to register with your regional shared ownership contact depending on where you live.

Use the links below to head to your regional shared ownership website.

Once you know you're eligible you need to find a property that belongs to the scheme. These can be found on the individual scheme pages or on local council or property listing sites.

Which lenders offer shared ownership mortgages?

Not all of them, but a good amount of lenders are available across the market, for example:

  • Barclays*
  • Halifax*
  • Virgin Money*
  • Nationwide*
  • Santander*
  • Leeds Building Society*

*Lenders can change their products at any time, so always check each individual site to see if they still offer this type of mortgage. Date last checked: 27 September 2023

What are the advantages and disadvantages of shared ownership?

  • You don't need to borrow as much, so the deposit and affordability criteria are easier to meet
  • It's often cheaper than private rental - even though you’re paying rent and a mortgage
  • You can usually buy the full property in stages when you can afford to
  • If the value of your home increases, the value of your share increases too
  • Not all lenders offer a mortgage for this scheme, so there are fewer options than buying a home the traditional way
  • You can’t buy any property you want and are bound to those available in the scheme
  • Properties are leasehold, and usually include service charges as well as rent
  • Not all housing associations allow you to buy 100% of the property - always check the terms
  • You may need to offer the property back to the housing association first if you want to sell. This can slow down the home-selling process

What are the costs involved in shared ownership?

All of the costs involved with taking out a standard residential mortgage apply, but are less expensive due to the smaller loan size. This includes:

  • Arrangement fees
  • Legal fees
  • Valuation fees
  • Stamp duty - where applicable*

*If you're a first-time buyer, you only pay stamp duty if your home is valued at £425,000 or more. If you're not a first-time buyer, you pay stamp duty on any property worth more than £250,000.

Where stamp duty is due, you can choose to make a one-off payment for the whole value of the property when you buy. You could also make a small payment when you buy and not pay any more until you own 80% or more.

What our expert says

If you're on a low income or struggling to save a large enough deposit to buy a home, shared ownership could be a great option. A broker can help you understand your options and decide whether this is the right path for you.

Claire Flynn, Senior Content Editor at Mojo
Senior Content Editor | Mojo, Mortgages Expert | Confused.com Mojo logo

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Shared-ownership mortgages FAQ

Can I buy a bigger share of my home at a later date?

Yes, usually you can buy as much as you want to - up to 100%. This is known as staircasing and you can increase ownership by as little as 1% at a time.

Some lenders limit the amount you can buy, for example, the over 55’s shared ownership scheme only allows you to buy 75% of the property. Always make sure you understand any ownership limits before you select a home.

Can I get a shared ownership remortgage?

Yes, but only from those lenders that also offer shared ownership mortgages - not all lenders offer remortgages to shared ownership scheme customers.

Can I make home improvements on a shared ownership mortgage?

Yes, you can, but there may be limits to what you can do - which vary from one housing association to the next.

Most allow redecoration and minor changes like a new bathroom suite. If you want to add to or change the property’s structure, you’ll need permission from your housing association.

What happens if the value of my house changes?

If you want to buy more shares in your home and the value has gone up, you’ll need to buy them at the higher cost. Likewise, if the property value falls, it could be a good time to buy a bigger share in your home more cheaply.

Can I sell my shared ownership home?

Yes, but most housing associations have a clause that offers them first refusal. This means you can’t advertise on the open market until they’ve had an opportunity to buy it back.

If you don’t yet own 100% of the property, you can only sell it via the housing association. Also you’ll only be entitled to profit that matches the percentage of your ownership.

So if you own 50% and the sale brings in a profit of £20,000, only £10,000 of that is yours. The other 50% belongs to the housing association.

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Page last reviewed: 27 September 2023

Reviewed by: Claire Flynn


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