New build shared ownership, open market shared ownership, shared ownership resales, equity loans and intermediate renting
These schemes are designed to help people who live or work in Merton who would otherwise be unable to purchase homes in Merton. Housing association tenants are given priority over other applicants.
Shared ownership is a part buy, part rent scheme designed for people who cannot afford to buy a home outright. You buy a share of your home (usually between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remainder. You will need to take out a mortgage to pay for your share.
As with any house purchase, you will need to have adequate funds to cover certain initial costs as well as the monthly costs. We recommend:
Savings of at least £4000 to cover costs such as your reservation fee, solicitor's fee, lender's fee, valuation fee, Stamp Duty Land Tax and removal costs
Mortgage Deposit (the money you need to pay upfront towards purchasing your initial share)
Mortgage (to your lender)
Rent (to the housing association)
Service Charge (for the upkeep and maintenance of communal areas)
You can buy a shared ownership property if:
- You are a first time buyer (or you used to own your own home but cannot afford to buy one now)
- Your household earns £71,000 a year or less (for a one or two bedroom property) or £85,000 a year or less (for a three or more bedroom property). The household can be a single person, a couple or a number of single people buying jointly. You are unlikely to be able to purchase a shared ownership property unless you have household income of at least £31,000. A higher income will be required in expensive areas.
- It is best to start by searching for available Shared Ownership properties on the First Steps and Home Match websites. When you find a property you like, contact the housing association to confirm your eligibility and book a viewing.
It can take around two months from start to finish to purchase a shared ownership property. If you are purchasing a new build home this can take longer as the building works complete.
You will usually be able to buy additional shares in the property. This is called staircasing. The minimum share you can purchase is specified in the lease. It is usually 10% or 20%. In most cases you will be able to staircase all the way to 100%. You should check the lease before purchasing, as some agreements cap the share to which you can staircase.
If you are a housing association tenant your housing officer will be able to give you advice about applying for shared ownership.
join Merton Council's housing register to be eligible for any of the shared ownership or intermediate renting schemes. Join the Housing Register now so that you are registered when you view new developments. This will help you to establish your eligibility at an early stage.
Rent Deposit Scheme
First Steps and Homematch
First Steps and Homematch are free to use services for first time buyers. They provide detailed information about eligibility for intermediate housing schemes. You can also find out about the availability of intermediate renting, new build shared ownership, shared ownership resales and equity loan schemes.
They also organise homeownership shows where you can
- Get details of schemes which are being marketed across London
- Talk to representatives from a wide range of housing associations and other housing developers
- Talk to solicitors and independent financial advisers
- Attend seminars which explain shared ownership and equity loan opportunities
Homematch also provide a telephone helpline on 0845 230 8099.
Wheelchair accessible housing
Having a disability need not be a barrier to owning your own home. There are a range of fabulous wheelchair accessible homes in London, including in Croydon, which can be purchased through First Steps. If you cannot work you may be able to buy one of these homes with your benefits through a scheme called Home Ownership for People with Long Term Disabilities (HOLD).
To qualify for HOLD applicants must be over 18, have a housing need and:
- Be in receipt of high or medium Disability Living Allowance (care component)
- Have a good credit history
- Be unable to work
You can get detailed advice about HOLD by contacting My Safe Home on 08000 121 333
My Safe Home Website
With Intermediate Renting, you rent a property owned and managed by a housing association. You will pay 80% of the rent you would expect to pay for an equivalent property from a private landlord in the same area.
Intermediate renting is intended for the short to medium term (up to five years). It should enable you to save a deposit for a shared ownership property. Applicants should be able to demonstrate how the discounted rent will enable them to save a deposit.
First Steps Rent website - find out more, search and apply for affordable homes to rent
New build shared ownership
If you cannot afford to buy on the open market, this scheme allows you to buy a minimum share of 25% of the value of a property and pay rent on the remainder. You can increase the share you own over time until you own the property outright.
New build shared ownership schemes offer a selection of one, two and three bedroom properties. You must be on Merton Council's
Housing Register to be eligible for any of these schemes. Some properties are ready to move into now. For others you can find out details prior to completion.
The First Steps and Homematch websites include affordability calculators. They give you an indication of the earnings and deposit you will need to purchase any particular property. If you have concerns about affordability, you should contact the housing association for further advice.
Open market shared ownership
Open Market Shared Ownership helps Merton residents to buy an open market home through an estate agent or developer. The property can be brand new or a resale. It must be in Merton, Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Lewisham or Southwark. Priority is given to social housing tenants. Open Market Shared Ownership is administered by Moat.
Moat: Shared Ownership
Shared ownership resales
Shared ownership resale properties are usually individual second hand shared ownership homes which are being sold on a part-buy, part-rent basis by their current owner. They vary in the share available, location, age and design.
They can provide an opportunity to buy an older property in an established community. They may also be available in a wider range of locations in Merton than new build shared ownership properties.
Shared ownership resales usually work in the same way for purchasers as new build shared ownership. You buy a share and pay rent to the housing association which built the home on the outstanding share.
Resales may be more expensive than new build as you may be buying a larger share of the property. While new build shares start from 25%, if the current owner has staircased (bought additional shares) you will be buying a larger share.
There may be opportunities for households who are not eligible for new build shared ownership because of their income to buy shared ownership resales.
The following housing associations have shared ownership properties in Merton.
Equity loan and discounted open market schemes
Equity loan schemes give you the opportunity to buy a new home with help with up to 20% of the purchase price. Equity Loan schemes include FirstBuy as well as developer's own schemes.
Discounted open market schemes are similar to equity loan schemes. However, you may not have the option to staircase to owning the full value of the property.
Purchasing through an equity loan or discounted open market purchase scheme is likely to be more expensive than new build shared ownership or shared ownership resales but less expensive than outright house purchase. You are likely however to be buying a larger share. It will be less expensive than outright house purchase.
FirstBuy may be available on some new housing sites in Merton. Ask the sales staff.
First Steps Equity Loans website - find out more, search and apply
Housing Development Team
Community & Housing
3rd Floor Civic Centre
Tel: 020 8545 4151