Shared ownership has become a popular way for many to get a foot on the property ladder, but there’s a common misconception that it’s exclusively for first-time buyers. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of shared ownership and answer the question: “Is shared ownership only for first-time buyers?” 

Let’s dive into this topic and debunk the myths surrounding shared ownership.

Understanding Shared Ownership

What is Shared Ownership? 

Shared ownership is a government-backed scheme that allows people to part-buy and part-rent a property. It provides an opportunity for those who may not be able to afford a full mortgage to own a share of a home. Typically, you purchase a share of the property, often starting at 25% and going up to 75%, while paying rent on the remaining portion.

How Does Shared Ownership Work?

Shared ownership properties are managed by housing associations. You buy your share, and the housing association owns the rest. Over time, you can increase your share through a process known as “staircasing.” It’s a flexible arrangement that helps you grow your ownership of your home at a pace that suits you.

Shared Ownership Eligibility

While it’s a widely-held belief that shared ownership is exclusively for first-time buyers, the reality is different. Shared ownership is available to a broader range of individuals, including:

  • First-time buyers
  • Those who used to own a home but can’t afford one now
  • Existing shared owners looking to move
  • Those with a disability

The scheme is designed to provide housing solutions for various circumstances, not just limited to first-time buyers.

Debunking the Myths

Myth: Shared Ownership is Only for First-Time Buyers

The notion that shared ownership is only for first-time buyers is a prevalent myth. While it is indeed a fantastic opportunity for first-time buyers to enter the property market, it’s not exclusive to them. Shared ownership is intended to assist a broader spectrum of individuals, including those who may have owned a property before but can’t afford one now.

Myth: Shared Ownership Means You Can’t Own a Full Property

Another myth surrounding shared ownership is that you can never own a full property. This is not accurate. Shared ownership is designed to be flexible, allowing you to increase your ownership percentage over time through staircasing. So, while you may start with a 25% share, you can eventually own the property outright if you wish.

Myth: Shared Ownership is Only for Low-Income Individuals

Shared ownership is often associated with low-income individuals, but it’s not limited to them. The scheme is open to a wide range of income levels. What matters is your ability to afford the initial share you intend to purchase.

The Benefits of Shared Ownership for Different Buyers

  • Benefits for First-Time Buyers:For first-time buyers, shared ownership offers a stepping stone into the property market. It allows them to buy a home without the need for a substantial deposit and first time buyers may rent their property as well!
  • Benefits for Previous Homeowners:Previous homeowners who are now facing financial constraints can also benefit from shared ownership. It provides a chance to re-enter the property market without the full financial commitment of traditional homeownership.
  • Benefits for Existing Shared Owners:Existing shared owners looking to move into a different property can do so with shared ownership. They can sell their current share and purchase a new one, tailoring their homeownership to their changing needs.
  • Benefits for Individuals with Disabilities:Shared ownership can be a lifeline for individuals with disabilities. It offers accessible and adaptable housing options that cater to their specific needs.

Shared Ownership vs. Help to Buy

Shared Ownership vs. Help to Buy

It’s essential to distinguish between shared ownership and the Help to Buy scheme. Shared ownership involves purchasing a share of a property and paying rent, while Help to Buy offers an equity loan to help you buy a property with a more substantial deposit. Both schemes aim to assist individuals in achieving homeownership, but they have different structures.


In conclusion, shared ownership is not limited to first-time buyers. While it is an excellent option for those taking their first steps onto the property ladder, it is equally accessible to previous homeowners, existing shared owners, and individuals with disabilities. The scheme’s flexibility and affordability make it an attractive option for a diverse range of individuals. 

So, if you’ve been wondering, “Is shared ownership only for first-time buyers?” – the answer is a resounding no. It’s a homeownership solution designed to meet the needs of many. Don’t let the myths hold you back from exploring this fantastic opportunity to own a share of your own home.

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