What Is Shared Ownership?

Binta Darboe

Shared ownership is a part of the government affordable homeownership scheme. When you buy a home through the scheme, you usually own between 25% - 75% of the total value of the home. However, through some schemes, you can own as little as 10%. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own rules on shared ownership.

Shared ownership properties are always leasehold properties.


To be eligible for the shared ownership scheme, the following need to apply:

  • A household income of £80,000 or below (£90,000 or below if you live in London)
  • You cannot afford all of the deposit and mortgage payments for a home that meets your needs.

One of the following must also apply:

  • You are a first-time buyer
  • You owned a home previously, but cannot afford to buy one now
  • You currently own a home, but want to move, however, cannot afford a home that suits your needs
  • You are forming a new household – for example, after a relationship breakdown
  • You are already a shared owner of a property, but want to move

Some shared ownership homes are in “designated protected areas” which are only available for purchase if you have a connection to the area.

If you purchase one of these homes, you:

  • May only be able to buy a share of up to 80%.
  • Must sell it back to the landlord or a buyer who is nominated by the landlord and therefore, you cannot sell your home on the open market.

If you already own a home, you must have completed the sale of your home on or before the date you complete your shred ownership purchase.

When you apply for shared ownership, you must have:

  • Accepted an offer for the sale of your current home (sold subject to contract or ‘STC’)
  • Written confirmation of the sale agreed (memorandum of sale) including the price and intention to sell.

How It Works

Once you become a shared owner, you can buy more shares of your property which is known as ‘staircasing’.

You can buy shares of 5% or more at any time. If you bought your house in 2021, you may be able to buy a 1% share each year for the first 15 years, however, you may need to ask your landlord if this applies to you.

The cost of your new share depends on how much your home is worth when you want to buy the share. It may cost more if property prices in your area increase or cost less if property prices in your area decrease.

If you want to buy a share of 5% or more, you will need to pay for a valuation surveyor who is registered with the Royal Institution of Charted Surveyors (RICS). Your landlord will let you know if they will arrange it for you or if you need to arrange it yourself. Your landlord will tell you the price of the share after the valuation.

If you want to buy a 1% share, the price will be based on the original price of the property, increased or decreased in line with the House Price Index (HPI). Your landlord will give you an HPI valuation at least once a year and whenever you ask to buy a 1% share.

If you wish to sell your share or a portion of your share, the landlord has the right to buy it first (known as ‘first option to buy' or ‘pre-emption’) or find a buyer for your home. If the landlord does not want to purchase the share and does not find a buyer, you can sell the share yourself.

Apply For Shared Ownership

To apply, you need to register with the Help to Buy agent in the area your want to purchase a property. Find more information here.

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