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Call for overhaul of shared ownership to double supply of homes

A national report is calling on the housing sector, government and funders to unite to double the supply of shared ownership homes to 30,000 and help address the UK’s growing affordability crisis.

The Shared Ownership 2.0 report, launched today by Orbit Group and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), sets out the potential to expand shared ownership so it becomes a fourth mainstream tenure, alongside home ownership and social and private renting.

The report sets out the key issues that government, housing providers, lenders and regulators will need to address to increase shared ownership from its current 15,000 homes[1] per year to at least 30,000 within the next Parliament – around 13% of the 240,000 new homes England needs each year. 

In order for shared ownership to become a mainstream product, the report explores the barriers, challenges and policy solutions to increase scale. Key recommendations include:

  • agree a consistent way of collecting data, such as staircasing activity, arrears levels, and levels of default, to support increased lender and investor confidence. 
  • reintroduce DIY shared ownership in areas where there is a clear commitment in Local Plans to increasing the number of affordable homes.
  • consider and review the way shared ownership lending is treated by the regulator, in order to level the playing field, as far as possible, between shared ownership mortgages and traditional ones. 
  • support shared ownership to become a mainstream product, to help  develop of a more diverse mortgage market for this type of lending. 
  • keep current levels of grant funding and support the development of an equity loan model to increase scale. 

Evidence shows people increasingly want to own their own home, but due to wages lagging behind rising house prices, home ownership is increasingly out of the reach of many people. In London house prices have grown by more than 20 per cent in the last year alone.  As a result, the private rented sector has doubled since 2000. 

Rob Corless and fiancée Michelle Boyce, from Northampton, were privately renting and didn’t think they would ever be able to afford their own home before coming across the option of shared ownership.

“It was impossible for us to save for a deposit and rent at the same time. We wanted to start a family and thought we would be renting forever. Luckily we were able to start a family and then found the option of shared ownership. It’s an amazing feeling to have somewhere that you can make your own and is your sanctuary to come home to.” 

Initial findings show that current demand for shared ownership homes outstrips supply by as much as 10:1 - and only 0.8 per cent of people live in a shared ownership home.

The report has involved discussions with leading housing, financial and investment organisations (see acknowledgements in Shared Ownership 2.0 report), as well as focus groups with around 40 customers. 

Paul Tennant, chief executive of Orbit Group, said: “The report highlights the need for clear action and a concerted effort from all major stakeholders to create a more streamlined, consistent and simplified product. This will open up the shared ownership market to the people who aspire to own their home but are facing the barriers to home ownership. 

“If we are going to address the affordability crisis and housing shortage, we need to work together as a sector to take on board the report’s recommendations to simplify the product and drive scale and investment. Given the significant support for shared ownership from Government to date, we urge that these recommendations are considered and progressed.” 

CIH deputy chief executive Gavin Smart said: “We need real ambition if we are going to solve our national housing crisis within a generation. Doubling the supply of shared ownership homes would make a big contribution, helping thousands of people who have been priced out of a decent place to call their own.

“To achieve that increase, we also need to make shared ownership simpler and more flexible, so it works better for consumers, housing associations and mortgage lenders.  We want to work with the government, the wider housing industry and investors to make that happen – so we hope these recommendations will be seriously considered and swiftly progressed.”

To read the report published by Orbit and CIH visit 

[1] The Lyons Housing Review (2014) Mobilising across the nation to build the homes our children need