Apr 30, 2024

Help to Buy, Shared Ownership Schemes, and Staircasing

For many young individuals striving to enter the property market, the soaring prices in metropolitan areas like London...

For many young individuals striving to enter the property market, the soaring prices in metropolitan areas like London have presented significant barriers. However, since their inception in 2013, initiatives such as Help to Buy and Shared Ownership schemes have gained traction, offering viable pathways to homeownership.

Understanding Help to Buy

The Help to Buy scheme facilitates property purchases with a mere 5% deposit, supplemented by a 55% mortgage and a 40% (or 20% outside London) government loan. Eligible properties must be new builds, priced at £600,000 or less, intended as primary residences, and not designated for investment purposes. The scheme's appeal lies in its minimal deposit requirement and the absence of interest on the government loan for the initial five years. Subsequently, a fee of 1.75% applies annually, increasing in tandem with the Retail Prices Index (RPI) plus 1%, incentivizing loan repayment.

Shared Ownership

Shared Ownership permits buyers to acquire between 25% to 75% of a property, with the remaining share owned by a housing association or registered provider. This arrangement establishes a 'part own, part rent' dynamic, enabling individuals to access their desired property sooner with a smaller deposit. Eligibility criteria include a household income below £80,000, first-time buyer status, inability to afford a new home, or existing shared ownership. Notably, tenants under this scheme are subject to rent payments and bear responsibilities akin to traditional tenants, including maintenance and service charges. Despite these considerations, Shared Ownership offers security of tenure and an opportunity for older individuals through the 'Older People's Shared Ownership' scheme.


'Staircasing' forms an integral part of these schemes, allowing tenants to gradually increase their ownership share by purchasing additional portions from the housing association or provider. This process entails a Red Book Valuation conducted by an RICS Registered Valuer to ascertain the market value of the property. The valuation encompasses meticulous inspections of both internal and external features, including structural integrity, amenities, and environmental factors. Furthermore, comparables sourced from local estate agents and databases aid in refining the valuation process, accounting for variations in size, condition, and location.

Path to Homeownership

Help to Buy, Shared Ownership, and Staircasing offer promising avenues for aspiring homeowners to realize their dreams of property ownership, circumventing traditional financial barriers. While each scheme presents unique advantages and considerations, engaging professional guidance from experienced surveyors and solicitors can streamline the process and ensure informed decision-making. With careful navigation and informed choices, the journey towards homeownership becomes an achievable reality for individuals navigating the complexities of the property market.