What is shared ownership?
Shared ownership is part of Help to Buy, a government initiative designed to assist eligible individuals and families find housing they can afford.
Shared ownership enables you to:
- buy a 25%-75% share in your home
- rent the remaining share
- only need a deposit on the share you buy
- an alternative to renting or buying
- you can increase the share you own in stages
Affordable homes for Oxford
Oxford City Council is committed to ensuring everyone can live in an affordable home. Housing in Oxford is among the most expensive in the country. Shared ownership is a way of helping middle and low-middle earners to live in the city without experiencing financial hardship.
We also want people to live in high-quality homes. A property in poor condition may well be affordable but unfit to live in. Our shared-ownership properties are built to exceptionally high-standards.
Affordability and quality aren’t just major considerations at the point of purchase, we want our community to live happy, sustainable and healthy lives in the long term. Financial stability and avoiding the poverty trap is integral to people’s wellbeing. As is living in well-maintained, high-quality and sustainable accommodation. The security of a safe and affordable home has a positive impact on the physical and mental health of successive generations. This is integral to the continued growth and development of our vibrant and inclusive city.
Eligibility in Oxford
Oxford City Council’s shared ownership properties are not suitable for households who would spend more than 35% of their net income on housing. This percentage has been determined in line with our commitment to providing more affordable homes in Oxford and in accordance with the principles of our Local Plan.
Oxford is a beautiful, historic city. A centre of learning, research and innovation on a global scale. It is also a city where inequality is stark, where decent and affordable housing is out of reach for many residents.
The Local Plan prioritises the provision of affordable new homes, and high quality jobs, so that young people can afford to live and work in their home city. Accepting applicants who would be required to spend in excess of 35% of net income on mortgage, rent and service charges would conflict with the plan and render shared ownership properties unaffordable and unsustainable.
In 2018, the Affordable Housing Commission published a report detailing research looking at what level of income spent on housing is likely to cause hardship and stress. It found that when rents or purchase costs exceed a third of household income it can lead to financial difficulties, arrears, debts and consequent personal problems. This position gets much worse if that percentage of income is a lot higher. The commission concluded that spending 40% of income on housing signalled a very serious affordability issue.
Shared ownership homes in Oxford will always be affordable and sustainable allocated to those who will benefit most from the scheme. They will always carry cheaper housing costs than like-for-like quality privately rented accommodation.
Both the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Shelter both advocate the 35% upper limit to household expenditure for accommodation.
What does this look like?
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2019 the median house price was £395,000 – 12.55 times median gross earnings (£31,472) in the city. For England as a whole, the median house price is 7.83 times median earnings. The cost of housing in Oxford puts home ownership out of the reach of people in occupations like teaching, nursing, transport and retail.
Half (49.3%) of homes in Oxford are now in the private rented sector, where the ONS reports a median private rent of £1,500 a month for a three-bedroom home. The equivalent amount for England as a whole is £795. Meanwhile, there are currently 2,355 households on our housing waiting list.
Shared ownership is a more affordable option for eligible applicants.
Eligibility and indicative costs
These examples illustrate eilgibility and indicative estimated costs of a 25% share in a shared ownership home. These are examples only and should not be taken as financial or mortgage advice.
|Household||Single person or couple||Couple or family|
|Bedrooms||One bedroom||Two bedrooms|
|Net household income||£23,590||£35,004|
|Gross household income||£29,930||£46,989|