Stonewater gives cautious welcome to shared ownership changes

Responding to the announcement by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Sue Shirt, Executive Director – Customer Experience, said: “As a leading provider of shared ownership housing in communities across England, Stonewater is pleased to see the government focusing on improving shared ownership opportunities."

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“The idea of reducing staircasing requirements is a good one, in principle. However, while we fully support improving access to home ownership, any move to smaller increments will naturally incur additional costs for both customers and housing associations. We need to ensure that these additional costs are understood and minimised for both parties.

“It is important that alterations to the shared ownership model do truly enhance access for customers and ensure housing associations are able to continue building more shared ownership homes.

“In our experience, there is huge demand for affordable housing of all tenures in communities across the country. While young people clearly form a large part of this demand, it is important to remember that the issue of affordability extends to a much wider range of people.

“Our track record demonstrates our commitment to supporting customers into ownership and to date we have helped create 2,500 shared ownership homes with 1,000 more planned over the next three years. We are actively supporting the West Midlands ‘Voluntary Right to Buy’ (VRTB) pilot – again opening up the opportunity for existing customers to buy. To date we have helped more than 50 people buy their home through VRTB, with 60 more in the pipeline.

“Stonewater will also respond in full to the consultation paper. We hope any resulting changes will not only increase the profile of shared ownership as a tenure choice for more families, but deliver a product that has greater flexibility whilst avoiding excessive transaction costs. At the end of the day this is about making it work for customers and also ensuring building shared ownership homes stacks up financially as part of tackling the national housing crisis.”

Stonewater owns and manages 32,500 properties across England, including 2,500 shared ownership homes.