Shared Ownership Week has banged the drum for a scheme that forms a vital part of the complex solution needed to solve the housing crisis.
From the stories of young people who have finally found their own home through to examples of stunning new schemes, we have seen how shared ownership has evolved into a genuine alternative to market sale.
Through the hard work of many champions, such as Thames Valley Housing, new innovations and products have also been sparked within the industry such as Shared Ownership Plus.
But despite this significant progress, there remains a feeling that shared ownership is yet to reach its full potential. One of the main reasons is there is still a lack of awareness and understanding about the scheme and its benefits.
Speak to most young people and there is a strong chance that they will believe raising a huge deposit is the only way to get on the housing ladder because they are simply not aware of the shared ownership option and how it works.
As highlighted by research carried out by the Aster Group, just 14% of people surveyed had received information about shared ownership from the government, with half relying on housing associations.
Private developers also have a role to play in helping shared ownership become more widely adopted. In a bid to maximise profits, there is a tendency to limit affordable homes on larger schemes, but more strategic partnerships could help shift this trend.
By working in joint ventures with housing associations from the outset, housing schemes can be designed to meet a broader range of needs, including more shared ownership properties. As well as the benefit of sharing resources and spreading risk, this approach could create developments more targeted to the local area, generating quicker sales and better returns.
However, while there are a number of unknowns in the housing world, from the impact of Brexit through to the sustainability of Help to Buy, shared ownership has stood the test of time. It’s been part of the industry for 40 years and although it has taken a while to push its way up the popularity ladder, it is clear that significant progress has been made.
There remain barriers to it achieving its full potential, but as the government continues to signal more support for housing associations and with initiatives such as Shared Ownership Week, then we hope these will begin to break down.
The growing popularity of shared ownership won’t solve the housing crisis but it will play an important role and crucially, provide the broad mix of housing options we need to build sustainable communities. Long may the growth continue.