Southern Housing Group pioneers a new mobility service for shared owners
Southern Housing Group has become the first housing association in the country to deliver a new service specifically for shared owners called Second Steps.
The Group has worked with the Greater London Authority (GLA) to offer its existing shared ownership customers who would like to move home, but currently can’t afford to buy a property outright, the opportunity to find a home on the open market and then receive support to purchase it on a shared ownership basis.
Sandy Macmillan, Head of Sales and Marketing at Southern Housing Group said, “We’ve designed this new offer to help our shared owners buy a more suitable home that still remains affordable.”
“At Southern we think that shared ownership can no longer be considered a purely transitional tenure or ‘stepping stone’ to full ownership. Second Steps will provide much needed support for existing shared owners wishing to move on.”
“The GLA has given us some funding to help us purchase 50 properties as part of this pilot, which we launched in May.”
“We are aware of similar products being developed by other providers, which is fantastic as we’d love to see mobility improved for all shared owners, and for shared ownership to become a more mainstream option.”
“With the gap between incomes and house prices growing, we think shared ownership has an important role in helping low to middle income households.”
Research* shows that a low proportion of shared owners move onto full ownership, as their incomes don’t grow sufficiently enough for them to increase shares or afford a home on the open market. The evidence suggests that shared ownership needs to be more of a long term option than it was originally intended to be, and shared owners need to be able to move more easily within the sector.
Southern Housing Group has received finance from the GLA to help with the pilot of Second Steps. 50 transactions are expected to take place during 2015/16.
During the pilot, Second Steps will only be available to existing shared ownership customers in London and they will be able to buy between 30% and 75% of their new property.
For more information on Second Steps, visit www.mysecondsteps.co.uk