The National Association of Estate Agents has given a cautious welcome to new government plans to expand shared ownership.
David Cameron has outlined plans to - in his words - “re-invent the shared ownership scheme, opening the door to an extra 175,000 aspiring homeowners and helping to deliver commitment to create a million more homeowners over the next five years.”
The most significant change is the ending of restrictions that stop people using the scheme more than once. This means that for the first time, those already in a shared ownership property will be able to move to another, allowing them to use the capital they have gained to move to a bigger property, as their families grow or circumstances change.
The government will also be scrapping rules that dictate only those in certain professions such as key workers or those that live in certain areas could own a shared ownership property.
Instead, from April 2016 anyone earning below £80,000 in England and £90,000 in London will be able to buy a stake in a property - meaning around 175,000 more people could get a roof of their own over their head.
Commenting on the pledges, Mark Hayward, managing director, National Association of Estate Agents says: “As with all housing promises, they can’t come quick, or big enough. There is still a huge issue with supply and available land upon which to build, not to mention the physical bricks, mortar and labour to do so. The house building industry is desperately short of human resource and if we are to get Britain building the number of new houses required, we need to address this problem to create actual homes and not aspirational targets.”
Cameron himself, when announcing the moves, said: “For years we’ve had Shared Ownership where you part-buy, part-rent a property. So many people are attracted to this idea, especially those who thought they’d never have a chance of owning a home. But because it’s been heavily restricted, many of those people have missed out.”
“We’ve had local councils dictating who is eligible, based on everything from salary to profession to where the buyer comes from. From April next year, that will make 175,000 more people eligible for home ownership. It means some people will be able to buy a house, for example, in Yorkshire, with a deposit of just £1,400. It will be opened up to people of any occupation, the only restriction being that you have to earn under £80,000, and £90,000 in London” he continued.
The Prime Minister also says there will be a speeding up delivery of discounted Starter Homes for first time buyers.
He claims an £8m fund for councils “will get shovels in the ground on 27 starter homes sites across the country – opening up the new style homes to first time buyers as soon as possible.”