Help to Buy: Shared Ownership

This information is about how Shared Ownership works for homes bought via the scheme, in England.

Please be aware that Shared Ownership schemes in London are managed by the Greater London Authority (opens in a new window).  

Separate schemes are also available in Wales (opens in a new window) and Scotland (opens in a new window).  

What is a Help to Buy: Shared Ownership?

Help to Buy: Shared Ownership gives those who can’t afford to buy a home outright the opportunity to buy a share of it. This can be between 25%-75% of the home’s value.

You will pay rent on the percentage of the property that you do not own. The amount of rent paid is agreed and fixed at the outset, and there is a maximum amount by which it can increase each year.

The more of the property you own, the lower your rental payments will be.

Over time you can purchase more shares in your property – this is known as ‘staircasing’. This can be done at any time after initial purchase and it will reduce the amount of rent you pay as the share of the home that you do not own will have got smaller.

You can buy a shared ownership home by taking out a mortgage and using your savings. Any deposit you pay will be smaller than if buying outright as you will not be purchasing the whole of the home.

Please remember, your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or any loan secured against it.

Shared ownership products designed for specific groups of people

Some shared ownership products are designed for specific groups of people.

  • Home ownership for people with long-term disabilities (HOLD)

  • Older peoples shared ownership (OPSO)

  • Rent to Buy

Which homes are available through Help to Buy: Shared Ownership?

Through Help to Buy: Shared Ownership you can buy:

  • a newly built home, through a shared ownership landlord registered to provide the scheme
  • an existing home, through a resale programme managed by shared ownership providers.

Property locations

In most cases, you can apply for a home in any location you desire. You do not have to live or work in the area that you are interested in buying a home in.

However, there are a few exceptions. Some shared ownership homes in rural areas will be limited to people with a local connection to the area (either through work, family or an existing home). These are known as rural exception sites.

Such sites are defined by the government or the local authority. These restrictions are intended to make sure that local people in rural areas can access affordable housing, in order to remain in the area.

In these cases, you may only be able to purchase up to 80% of the property. This restriction is to make sure that affordable homes developed in rural areas remain as affordable housing for future buyers.

Properties where these restrictions apply will be identified when you search for properties.

Increasing your share of ownership – ‘staircasing’

You may be able to buy additional shares in your home through shared ownership. This is known as ‘staircasing’ and, in many cases, will enable you to own your home outright one day.

Buying additional shares is optional depending on your situation. This can be done at any time after you purchase your home. You may not want to buy more shares, or you may not be able to afford to do so. You can still remain in your shared ownership home for as long as you want to, without buying additional shares in it.

Who owns the rest of a shared ownership home?

The remainder of your home will be owned by what is called a Registered Provider. In most cases this will be a housing association.

Housing associations are organisations set up to own and manage affordable housing for those in need. In some cases, your landlord could be either a local authority or other an alternative organisation which has received funding from Homes England to help build your home.

The landlord owns the rest of your home. You will:

  • pay rent on the percentage that you do not own
  • agree and sign a lease.

Although you will own a share of your home, you will remain as a leaseholder. This means that you sign a lease (a contract) with your landlord that sets out the rights and responsibilities of each party and details what you can and can’t do.

More information

For more information on shared ownership, please visit:

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