skip to main content

Affordable home ownership schemes

You may be able to get financial help from the government to buy a home. Please visit Affordable home ownership schemes for further information.

Shared ownership

Shared ownership is a part-buy, part-rent scheme that allows you to buy a share of your home and pay a reduced rent for the remaining part. Some new shared ownership homes are available as they are built by housing associations and some become available when occupants want to sell their share and move on.

Most housing associations offer shares between 25% and 75% of the property, depending on how much the buyer can afford. The rent on the remaining share goes down as the percentage bought goes up. The buyer usually needs to be able to raise a mortgage to buy a shared ownership home.

The shared ownership scheme can be a great start for people who cannot afford to buy a home on the open market. They usually have the option of buying more shares until they own their home outright

Home ownership for people with long-term disabilities (HOLD) 

If you have a long-term illness or disability, and if the properties you are searching for through other schemes are not suitable to your needs, you can use Help to Buy: Shared Ownership to buy a suitable property on the open market.

For example, you may have a long-term physical disability that means you need access to a single storey, ground floor property, close to those who help support you.

Older people's shared ownership (OPSO)

If you are over the age of 55 and meet the criteria for shared ownership, you may be able to access the OPSO scheme.

These types of homes may be smaller, yet they are designed for older people who are looking to downsize. They may have special design features including communal and recreational areas. In some cases, specialist support, such as an on-site warden, may be available.

OPSO allows you to buy a share of between 25% and 75% of your home. You will pay rent on the share of the property that you do not own.

The amount of share that you can purchase is limited to 75%, to ensure that such properties remain available for older people in the future.

Once you own 75% of your home, you will not pay any rent on the share that you don't own.

In addition to any mortgage and rent paid to the landlord, there may also be a service charge for the maintenance of any communal areas.

Rent to buy

Rent to buy properties are new build homes that are available to rent initially. The rent you pay is approximately 20% cheaper than the market rent paid on similar properties in the area.

The discounted rent aims to help you save for a deposit over a minimum of five years. You can then buy the property outright after five years if you can afford to.

Alternatively, you can apply to buy the property through shared ownership before the five-year period has ended, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria for shared ownership.

It may be possible to remain in the property as a tenant if you are not able to afford to buy it either outright or through shared ownership at the end of the five-year period. The options available to you after this time will be discussed with your landlord.

To qualify for rent to buy you must either be a:

  • working household intending to buy your own home at the start of the letting period or

  • first-time buyer or returning to the market following a relationship breakdown.