Property: Can't afford to buy? Why not split the cost

Purchasing a property is an expensive business, but by teaming up with a housing association you could get the house of your dreams at a reasonable price. Mary Wilson explains how

IF YOU want to buy your own home, but just cannot see a way to afford one, shared ownership may be the answer. Shared ownership schemes have been running since 1980, enabling purchasers who do not have the wherewithal to stump up the full price of a home to buy half of the property, with a housing association taking on the other half. The purchaser pays a mortgage on his half and a reduced rent (subsidised by the Government) on the other half.

In general, the costs of shared ownership are around three-quarters of what it would be if you owned all the property. If finances improve, more equity can be purchased, until you finally own it outright - or the status quo can be kept.

James Wood, a 23-year-old franking machine repair engineer, who is disabled and wheelchair-bound, had been living with his family in Galleywood, Essex but wanted to bring his girlfriend over from Ireland so they could live together in a home of their own.

The couple have taken a 50 per cent share in a two-bedroom flat at The Moorings, a Boleyn & Forest Housing Society development in Chelmsford, Essex. "The shared ownership scheme got us a home much more quickly than we could have managed otherwise" says James. "We would have needed to wait another few years to join the housing ladder if it hadn't been for shared ownership."

Another couple, Sharon and Robin White, wanted to move because although they had been happily living in a one-bedroom rented house in Barnet, north London, once their son Robert was born 14 months ago, they needed somewhere bigger.

They have bought a 25 per cent share of a new house, built by Metropolitan Home Ownership (MHO) in New Southgate, N11. This has two bedrooms, a rear garden with shed, patio and rotary drier - necessary with all the baby's washing - front garden and parking space.

"We were previously paying pounds 450 per month in rent and are now paying only a little more," says Sharon. The house was on the market for pounds 105,000 and their mortgage repayments plus rent on the remainder to the MHO costs a total of around pounds 460 a month. "It is like a dream come true. To have a house with a garden and its own parking is absolutely fantastic," she says.

Nearly 300 housing associations offer shared ownership housing and there are more than 104,000 shared ownership homes in England. A survey by the National Housing Federation (NHF) showed that just 25 of these associations took over 81,000 enquiries about shared ownership last year. "Demand could well rise, given the patchy knowledge of the tenure among potential buyers," says a spokesman from the NHF.

It is up to the private owner to look after most of the repairs and maintenance of the property, and if you wanted to make any structural alterations, permission from the housing association would be needed. Should you want to sell up, you just do so in the same way as if you owned the whole thing.

You can sell just your half, so that the new owner becomes the shared owner, or you can sell the whole property. What you do need to do, however, is to agree the value of the property with the housing association before you put it on the market and some associations keep the right to put forward potential purchasers for a short time after you have agreed to sell, which could save estate agency fees.

Many housing associations develop brand new homes specifically for shared ownership buyers, but it is possible to find your own property under the Do It Yourself Shared Ownership scheme (DIYSO). This enables someone to go out on to the open property market and find a sound, affordable home of their own choice. They then apply to a local Housing Association for acceptance on to the scheme.

Robert and Jean Stone had lived in a council flat for 22 years in Stamford Hill, east London, but wanted a better environment for their teenage children, Richard and Joanne. They applied for a DIYSO with the MHO and when accepted, went onto the open market and found the house they wanted in Chigwell, Essex.

"It has three bedrooms, a garden, private parking and a garage nearby, and we have bought a 50 per cent share in the property," says Mr Stone. The house was on the market for pounds 64,000 and the couple are now paying pounds 450 or so a month. "It is more than the pounds 62 a week rent we were paying, but that flat had no central heating, the windows were falling out and it just didn't compare with what we have got now," he says.

The criteria needed to qualify for shared ownership vary from housing association to housing association.

But in general, it is available to people nominated by a local authority on a council housing or housing association list, to people who are registered homeless or disabled, and to people who have connection with a borough, for example a nurse who needs to live near the hospital where she works. They also need to show that they can sustain the requisite mortgage/rent costs.

National Housing Federation, 0171 278 6571; Metropolitan Home Ownership, 0181 881 1234; Boleyn & Forest Housing Society, 0181 472 2233

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Life and Style
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Data Analyst / Marketing Database Analyst

    £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    IT Systems Manager

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

    Science Teacher

    £100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Science Supply Teacher position...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style