What is Shared Ownership?

Shared Ownership is a government-supported scheme built to give first time buyers a helping hand on the housing ladder. Home buyers pay for part of the home while renting the remaining ‘share’ with a housing association. This makes it an ideal opportunity for people who want a home but can’t yet afford to buy one on the open market. 

If you are a first time buyer and do not currently own your home, shared ownership gives you the opportunity to purchase a share in a new build or resale property.


How does Shared Ownership work?

You as the purchaser would pay a mortgage on the share that you own and then pay rent on the remaining share, to the housing association that sold you the property. The deposit required for shared ownership is much lower and therefore more accessible for so many people. You only need a mortgage for the share you are purchasing and not the full property value.  To learn how it all works, look at our 6-step guide to home ownership through Shared Ownership.

  1. Register with your local registered provider (RP) and local homebuy agent
  2. Gain an independent financial assessment from an Independent Financial Advisor
  3. Once you have your application in place and an understanding of affordability, apply for a property that you want to buy
  4. Reserve your property
  5. Await your final mortgage offer
  6. Exchange and complete!

There is often a misconception that Shared Ownership means you share with other people, whereas the term ‘share’ refers to the ‘share’ in a property. Shared ownership properties can be bought either as an individual or as a couple, and you can find more details below.

How can I apply for Shared Ownership?

It's simple!

  1. Find a property you like that offers shared ownership – see our ‘find a home’ page for the most conclusive list of properties
  2. Apply through the local homebuy agent or housing association offering this property
  3. They will guide you through the rest of the process

It really is that simple! For even more answers, please see our Frequently Asked Questions section below.

Key facts

  • You will need to take out a mortgage to pay for your share of the home’s purchase price
  • Shared Ownership requires a smaller deposit, as you only need to find the deposit for the share you buy
  • You will need a smaller mortgage, as you are only buying the percentage you can afford
  • There will also be a service charge on the property, so it is important to check what it is likely to be
  • Shared ownership homes are always leasehold
  • You can sell your home at any time. The housing provider will have eight weeks to find you a buyer and during this time you cannot sell your home privately or through an estate agent. If it finds a buyer, it will usually charge you an administration fee, so you should ask whether this is a fixed price. If it cannot find a buyer after eight weeks, you will be able to sell your home privately or through an estate agent
  • Housing associations offer resale properties, which have already been bought through shared ownership in the past, and the owners are looking to sell their share and move on. You buy the share they are selling and pay a subsidised rent on the remainder. It is unlikely that you can buy fewer shares than the current owner has, but it may be possible to buy more. Remember that these homes will obviously be older

Download Myth Busting PDF

Explainer video

Watch our Shared Ownership explainer video for a quick visual break-down on how Shared Ownership works and how it can help you get on the property ladder.

Why buy a Shared Ownership Home?

Buying a home in the current market is far from easy, but Shared Ownership gives you more breathing room to buy a property that would otherwise not be affordable.  

If you want to buy a home but are worried about money, Shared Ownership is the way to go. As you only need a smaller mortgage, the initial deposit that you pay is smaller. Though you will have to keep up with rent and mortgage repayments, the smaller deposit will help speed up the process. 

Is Shared Ownership good for first-time buyers?

Shared Ownership is perfect for anyone looking to get their housing journey started. Buying a house for the first time is a tough task, particularly if you are still learning the ins and outs of house-buying.

Shared Ownership helps to take the weight off your shoulders by dramatically reducing the deposit you pay and giving you a fast-track ticket to your new home. 

As well as being affordable, Shared Ownership properties are often private developments. This means that it is easier than ever to get a swanky home in a sought-after area, without breaking the bank.   

Shared Ownership frequently asked questions

Click on the questions below to reveal answers to some of the most common queries about shared ownership. 

What properties are for sale within Shared Ownership?

Shared Ownership provides some of the very best in new build properties in the market today.

You have a choice to either buy a new build house or apartment or you can buy what is called a ‘resales’ unit from an existing homeowner, who is looking to sell their home through the housing association that they originally bought it from.

For the largest list of available properties available through shared ownership, click here to our find a home page

How do I buy more shares in my property?

You can buy more shares in your property through what is called staircasing. You can buy in 10% increments with the theory that one day you can have 100% ownership of your home.

What is staircasing?

Staircasing is the term used to buy more shares in your Shared Ownership property.

You can buy an additional percentage of your property at any point. Normally the minimum extra percentage you can buy is 10% at a time. Most people try to buy them in larger chunks as there are fees that you have to pay each time, so it can become quite expensive if you just buy 10% at a time. When you have staircased to 100% you will no longer have to pay any rent to the housing association.

For more detailed information read our ‘what is staircasing‘ page.

Can I sell my Shared Ownership property?

Yes you can sell you share if you decide you want to move on.

If you want to move on and sell your home then you have the right to sell the percentage you own. The housing association has the option to sell this to another shared owner but if it doesn’t find a buyer in eight weeks you can then sell it on the open market.

When you decide to sell your property, you should contact your housing provider and you will be asked to choose a surveyor to value your home. The housing association should be able to give you a list of surveyors. You will have to pay a fee for the valuation, which will set the price of your home. From this the housing association will then be able to work out the value of your share.

How much do I need to earn to be eligible for Shared Ownership?

Your household income must be less than £90,000 in London and £80,000 outside of London.

This can be either a single or joint income depending on whether you are buying on your own or with someone else.

Where do I need to live to be eligible for Shared Ownership?

You need to live or work in the borough that you are buying your Shared Ownership property in.

How much deposit do I need?

This depends entirely on the value of the Shared Ownership property that you are buying. For example:

  • Based on wanting to purchase a 25% share
  • Property value of £450,000
  • Minimum share value will be £450,000 x 0.25 (25%) = £112,500
  • Mortgage available 90% – Mortgage available value is £112,500 x 0.9 (90%) = £101,250
  • Deposit needed is, then: £112,500 – £101,250 = £11,250
  • You should also keep / budget approximately £1,500 – £2,500 for your legal and purchasing costs

Download Deposit Guide PDF

How much of a property can I buy?

With Shared Ownership, you can initially purchase between 25% – 75% of a home, or from as little as 10% if buying through the updated Shared Ownership model.

Later, you can staircase all the way up to 100% ownership dependant on the housing association you have purchased with.

What questions should I ask a Shared Ownership provider?
  • Can you staircase up to 100% if you wish?
  • Can you start staircasing immediately?
  • What is the maximum number of times you can staircase?
  • What is the minimum share you can buy at any one time?
  • How well does the housing association maintain the property?
  • Ask to see an estimate of the service charges
  • Look at your finances to ensure you will keep on top of your mortgage, rent and service charge
  • Think about what you really want. Is it location or property size that is more important to you?
  • Your rent and service charges are likely to increase with inflation so you should ask yourself if this fits into your budget

If you don’t understand anything about the lease, just ask!