Brits show ignorance of 'shared equity'

31 March 2006
Over half of potential first time buyers know nothing of the government's shared equity scheme to help more people make the first step onto the property ladder, according to new research.

With record house prices forcing many people to continue renting when they might prefer to buy, the recent Budget announced an investment of almost £1 billion into the schemes.

Shared equity schemes are designed to allow consumers to pay a portion of the cost of a new home, with the remainder met by the government, mortgage lenders or registered landlords. Although people will only then have a share in a property, they have the opportunity to increase their stake and eventually achieve full ownership.

However, website FindaProperty.com found that 57 per cent of people hadn't even heard of the idea, while 47 per cent thought it referred to joint owning a property with a friend or family member.

And only 20 per cent of potential first time buyers said they would be comfortable borrowing from the government in such a way.

FindaProperty editor, Michael O'Flynn, also said the latest incarnation of the shared equity concept, OpenMarket HomeBuy, had clear limitations.

He said that the projected 35,000 to benefit was just a "drop in the ocean", while some first time buyers were likely to be ineligible.

"This means that the vast majority of first time buyers will have to resort to other means," he added.

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