Zoe Bonnington, our Asst Director of New Business, Sales and Marketing, discusses how this affordable home ownership option helps those returning to the housing market following a divorce or separation.
In my last blog, I touched on the perceptions around Shared Ownership and that some think it’s only available to key workers and first-time buyers. As the criteria changed several years ago, anyone - regardless of age - can now apply for the scheme as long as they meet the eligibility criteria and their household income is less than £80,000 or £90,000 in London.
At Radian, we are seeing many more people using Shared Ownership and market rent housing, especially those later in life who maybe returning to the housing market following a divorce or separation. The financial complications that often come with a separation or divorce can leave some people in desperate situations; recent reports show a relationship breakdown is responsible for one in every six cases of homelessness in England, according to government figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
These people need support to get back on the housing ladder and while there isn’t a specific product for divorcees or singletons, Shared Ownership is perfect for those people who have owned a house previously. Second-steppers are increasingly missing out on this opportunity, mainly because the media portrays Shared Ownership as an option for first time buyers, leaving them thinking there is nothing out there to help them but Radian has all the tools to help those on their own start again.
It’s for this reason that we are working to raise the profile of Shared Ownership and its availability to a wider pool of people as for some, it can mean the difference between living on the streets or in a safe and secure home. Following our spring series of Help to Buy events, our report indicated that 27 per cent of attendees wanted to find out more about Shared Ownership.
With over 200 new properties planned over the next year – a 140 per cent increase on the volume of Shared Ownership homes we delivered last year – our commitment to helping more people into home ownership is steadfast. Of course, there is so much more that could be done to address the housing crisis in this country and we look forward to working constructively with the new Government and with MPs of all parties to help tackle the UK’s housing shortage.