New Housing Secretary reveals plans for shared ownership changes

The Government has announced it will shake up the shared ownership housing model, allowing buyers to increase their stakes by just 1% at a time under new proposals.

In his first major policy announcement as Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick revealed plans which would allow people to increase their share of their homes in smaller increments.

Critics dubbed the move the “wrong priority” and urged ministers to instead “get building”.

Under the current model, buyers can only increase their share of a property in 10% chunks.

It is expected that the changes will come into effect early next year.

Robert Jenrick
Robert Jenrick (Jonathan Brady/PA)

In addition to the shared ownership shake-up, the minister said he will look to reform the planning system with the aim of increasing housing delivery.

Homeowners using the Help to Buy incentive could also be given new freedoms which would make it easier to take out a 35-year mortgage.

It was announced on Wednesday that the Government has closed a loophole with immediate effect that had prevented people from taking out a mortgage with a term of more than 25 years.

Mr Jenrick said the proposals were particularly focused on getting lower-income buyers on the property ladder.

“Building the houses this country needs is a central priority of this Government,” he said.

“We know that most people still want to own their own home, but for many the dream seems a remote one.

“My mission is to increase the number of homes that are being delivered and to get more young people and families on to the housing ladder, particularly those on lower incomes.”

He added that reforms need to go “much further” to make the housing market work.

“I will be looking at ensuring young people from Cornwall to Cumbria aren’t priced out of their home areas and how we can build public support for more house building and better planning.

“This Government will help a new generation to own their home.”

His statement echoed one of the stated priorities of Boris Johnson, who said he wanted to give “millions of young people the chance to own their own home” in his first speech as Prime Minister.

Specialist housing charity Shelter, however, called the set of announcements from the new Secretary of State “worrying”.

Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “Pinning his hopes on yet another complicated housing scheme is a worrying start for the new Housing Secretary of State.

“The Government must realise that unworkable schemes, laden down with admin costs, are the wrong priority at any time – and are woefully inadequate when this country is facing the current housing emergency.

“If the new Government is serious about getting to grips with our housing crisis then it must follow through on its commitment to get building. That’s why we’re calling for three million more social homes over the next 20 years, to give more families the sort of step up they actually need in life.”

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