The Adult Bible

The affordable housing ladder: Shared Ownership Vs. Help to Buy

Both Shared Ownership and Help to Buy are government initiatives to help people get on the property ladder.


The definitions –

Shared ownership is a part-buy part-rent scheme where you purchase a share of a home (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the other part. You can ‘staircase’ in this instance, which means you can buy a bigger share of the home when you can afford to in stages up until you own 100% of the property.

Help to buy (Help to Buy: Equity Loan) is when the government helps you out with 20% of the cost of a home and you pay 5% cash deposit and then find a mortgage for the remaining 75%. In Greater London they have a London Help to Buy scheme where the government loans from 20% to 40% (to reflect the cost of house prices in London).


The details –

Help to Buy

  • You must purchase a newly built property
  • The value of the house must be less than £600,000
  • It must be the only home you own, you must not own any other property
  • Buyers only need to put down 5% of the property as a deposit
  • You cannot sublet your home
  • The property must be in England (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own schemes)
  • The government loan is interest free for the first five years
  • The scheme is run by Government-appointed Help to Buy agents

Shared Ownership

  • Your household income must be equal to or less than £80,000 in order to qualify (£90,000 in London)
  • You can purchase a newly built property or a property through the resale programme
  • You’ll need to secure a mortgage for your share of the property, or have the money available
  • Staircasing is the process whereby you buy additional shares of the property as and when you can afford, if you choose to
  • Shared ownership homes are always leasehold
  • You can find shared ownership properties through housing associations
  • There are legal costs when you staircase
  • There are different schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

All information is sourced from Help to Buy, for further information on either Shared Ownership or Help to Buy visit their website here

For a basic step by step guide to buying a house click here, or for any property Q’s click here.