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Types of scheme

This content applies to England

There are three principal types of low-cost home ownership scheme: shared ownership, shared equity, and mortgage guarantee.

Shared ownership schemes

These are schemes where occupiers part-buy and part-rent their home from the housing provider. The part-owner becomes the leaseholder to the part of the property s/he owns, with the housing provider retaining the freehold. The part-owner can buy additional shares over time (known as 'staircasing'). Information on the main shared ownership schemes can be found on the following pages:

Shared equity schemes

These schemes enable people to buy a property on the open market by providing an equity loan, which supplements a standard mortgage loan that they have obtained from a qualifying lender (eg bank or building society). The main shared equity scheme is the Help to Buy equity loan scheme.

Mortgage guarantee schemes

These schemes enable people with a smaller deposit than is normally required to purchase a property by providing the lender with a government-backed guarantee of up to 15 per cent of the purchase price. This enables lenders to offer high loan to value mortgages. The main mortgage guarantee scheme is the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme

Other schemes

There are other shared and low-cost home ownership schemes aimed at certain specific groups of people such as armed forces personnel and older people.

For more information see the pages Other shared ownership schemes for information about specialist shared ownership, Starter Home Initiative for information about a scheme where younger first-time buyers can buy a new build home at a discounted price, and Cash incentive scheme for information about how social housing tenants may qualify for a grant or loan to help the buy a property on the open market.


Apart from the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme which applies throughout the UK, the information on this page applies only to England. Go to Shelter Cymru for information relating to Wales.

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