Confusion About Shared Ownership Hampering North West Buyers

Posted 1 October 2020 by Keith Osborne

A survey by Clarion Housing Group shows that more details of Shared Ownership need to be provided to house-hunters...

A new report by Clarion Housing Group about perceptions of Shared Ownership in the North West has shown that thousands could be being held back from getting on the property ladder, due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the tenure.

The Group is the UK’s largest housing association and provider of Shared Ownership homes and it polled 1,000 North West residents. Its results found that while 85% of respondents have heard of Shared Ownership, less than two-thirds fully understand what it involves or what it is.

Most worryingly, nearly a quarter (24%) believe it means sharing a house with someone else and nearly one in ten (8%) think it’s only for those under 40. Furthermore, two-thirds of respondents don’t know you can sell a Shared Ownership house or increase your equity over time.

Richard Cook, group director of development, at Clarion Housing Group, said: “Shared Ownership has been previously believed to be only suitable for London buyers, but that is seriously underestimating its potential. It can help such a wide variety of people get onto the property ladder, without them having to wait and save up the huge deposits needed to buy in many areas across the North West.”

The biggest benefit of Shared Ownership is that it allows you to get a foothold on the property ladder using a smaller deposit. Buyers can purchase an initial portion of a property, and pay rent on the rest, usually to a housing association or local authority, and can increase their share over time.

While it is a common tenure in the South, Shared Ownership has been slow to make headway in the North, with less than 500 homes available across the North West.

Unaffordability is reflected in general attitudes towards the housing market, with nearly half those surveyed (44%) saying they believe the North West property market is unaffordable for first-time buyers.

More than half (53%) wanted more emphasis and education about alternative, affordable routes to homeownership, including on schemes like the government’s Help To Buy, with nearly 50% of respondents claiming they didn’t understand how it works either.

Tim Seward, director of sales and marketing at Clarion Housing Group, remarked: “The sheer number of people Shared Ownership can help is why we need to increase awareness. While people may believe it is only for a certain type of buyer, this couldn’t be further from the truth and actually, it is a viable option for most people looking to buy their first home, or even downsize alone.

Lingley FieldsLingley Fields interior

“This summer’s lockdown has encouraged many to look at ways they can leave Generation Rent and buy the home of their dreams, and we’ve seen a spike in people enquiring about Shared Ownership who don’t fully understand how it works. Our research shows buyers are crying out for more education and this is why we’ve created this report - to help people across the North West feeling priced out of the private sale homes they want.”

The inequality of the North West housing market was most recently highlighted in the BBC documentary “Manctopia: Billion Pound Property Boom”, which shone the spotlight on Manchester’s thriving luxury residential markets, juxtaposed with its urgent need for more affordable housing.

Cook continued: “If the North West is going to thrive, we need to make sure we’re providing diversity when it comes to housing provision. This means building a healthy supply of affordable homes – for both sale and rent – alongside new private sale schemes.

“Increasing supply of Shared Ownership homes in the region is a key focus for our development team at Clarion and a number of exciting new developments - in locations people actually want to live in - are already in the pipeline.”

Clarion is currently set to build more than 400 new affordable homes in the North West over the next three years, with current developments in progress at Amplify Apartments in Salford Quays, Broadmeadow Park in Sandbach, as well as a new development being planned for Store Street in Manchester, which will consist entirely of Shared Ownership homes.

Find out more at [email protected]


Case study: Steph Hall

Steph HallOne buyer who has benefited from Shared Ownership is Steph Hall, 32, who bought a 35% share (£61,250) of a two-bedroom home worth £175,000 at Clarion’s Lingley Fields development in Cheshire this year, after finding herself priced out of buying, or even renting, alone, via traditional methods.

Steph said: “I was getting so frustrated with the lack of options available to me as a lone buyer – all the houses I wanted were just far out of my price range, and despite saving carefully for my deposit, as it was just me, I would never be able to get a mortgage high enough to buy them.”

When Steph stumbled across Shared Ownership she was initially sceptical as she knew little about it, but soon realised it could help her get the house she wanted, quickly and on her own.

Steph continued: “Being able to live in a new build house was such an incentive for me to buy via Shared Ownership. For the same amount I pay per month, I’d only be able to afford a small, old flat if I was traditionally renting. Instead, I now own part of a house I love and crucially, I’ve been able to buy it on my own. Without the scheme, I would have had to fork out over £15,000 on a deposit.”


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