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What is shared/low-cost ownership?

This content applies to England & Wales

Shared and low-cost home ownership schemes, and how they work.


Shared ownership and low-cost home ownership schemes have been set up to help people who cannot afford to buy a home outright, either because they do not have enough money for a deposit or because they are unable to afford full mortgage repayments. Most shared ownership schemes are set up and managed by private registered providers of social housing (PRPSHs). Some schemes cater for the needs of first-time buyers, with priority for an offer of a shared ownership or low-cost home-ownership scheme often being given to PRPSH or local authority tenants.

Shared ownership

Shared ownership schemes involve an applicant buying a share in a property, with a PRPSH owning the remainder. The applicant usually pays rent on the part of the property owned by the PRPSH. See the page Conventional shared ownership for details of how shared ownership works.

Low-cost home ownership

Low-cost home ownership schemes usually involve applicants being offered a loan to help them buy a property on the open market, or some form of guarantee for the lender to enable them to offer high loan to value mortgages. Examples of both are the Help to Buy equity loan scheme and the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme.

Availability of schemes

Some schemes are only available on a local or regional basis, and some may prioritise a particular group of people such as key workers (see the Key Worker Living programme page for more information about who is a key worker), or members of the armed forces (see Other shared ownership schemes for information about schemes that target particular groups of applicant).

The government website Own your home provides a useful on-line tool to assist potential home buyers to find an appropriate shared ownership or low cost home in England, with links to sources of information on home ownership in the rest of the UK.

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