New research from My Home Move has found that despite numerous pledges from the Government to increase access to housing for Britain’s aspiring home buyers, shared ownership transactions across England and Wales have decreased throughout the majority of regions.
Having analysed nearly 50,000 mover transactions over the past year (2016 – 2017) My Home Move discovered that shared ownership activity has decreased across 7 out of 9 regions - including London, the Home Counties, North East, South East, Wales, West Midlands and Yorkshire – leaving the UK’s leading provider of mover conveyancing services to question whether more needs to be done to increase the popularity of shared ownership among home buyers, as it currently accounts for less than 1% of housing stock across England and Wales.
Doug Crawford, CEO of My Home Move, had this to say: “Last February the Government pledged to fix Britain’s broken housing market, and yet one of the schemes designed to encourage home ownership is falling in popularity. Our research highlights just how small transactional volumes for shared ownership are, raising questions as to whether the scheme needs to change its image to attract new home buyers.
It’s our belief that home buyers, despite the lack of housing stack, are turned off by phrases like ‘affordable housing’, which is often used to describe ‘shared ownership’. Yes, they want to be able to afford their home, but they want to buy a dream. The idea of buying a home that has been built to fulfil a quota, or is being sold through a housing association and so has the negative connotations of social housing attached to it, is just too much for some. Perhaps we need to ‘rebrand’ the image of shared ownership, to bring it in line with initiatives like the Government’s Help to Buy, to make it more attractive to first time-buyers.”
In a survey of aspiring first-time buyers, only 11% said they were looking to buy a shared ownership home, while nearly 80% were looking to purchase a home outright. However most tellingly, nearly 30% admitted to not understanding what shared ownership is.
Doug concluded: “With these findings in mind, we think there is a missed opportunity for those involved in shared ownership schemes, to educate aspiring first-time buyers better. Shared ownership can offer those trapped as ‘generation renters’ a real possibility of getting onto the property ladder, but it’s all a question of selling them the dream and maybe it’s time to find out what would make aspiring first-time buyers change their mind.”