Shared ownership in London: how easy is it to sell a home bought under the scheme and can you get full market value?

When the time comes to move on, shared owners can’t just call in an estate agent to value and market their home.

Buyers who haven’t staircased to full ownership must start the sale process by contacting their housing association, which will get the property independently valued and then market it to people on its waiting list on a shared-ownership basis.

This is to make sure that as many homes as possible remain available to those who need affordable housing. You will usually have to pay for this valuation.

If you are selling to another shared owner, the sale price is fixed, so in a booming market there is no chance to cash in on bidding wars between rival would-be buyers. In today’s stagnant market this is barely an issue.

Most housing associations reserve the right to try to sell a shared-ownership home for between eight and 12 weeks but if there are no takers, you will be allowed to put it on the open market with an estate agent of your choice.

“This opens you up to a wider audience because you have 100 per cent of the property and can sell it in one go,” says industry expert Martin Fillery.

L&Q housing association last year sold 66 per cent of resale homes on to other shared owners within its eight-week exclusivity period. The average resale took just 36 days.

It sold another 18 per cent after the eight weeks were up. The rest were sold privately.

Jacqui Buckley’s story offers both encouragement and a warning note. Her two-bedroom, two-bathroom Barnsbury flat has more doubled in value since she bought it from Guinness Homes, so when she sells she will be able to achieve her dream of moving to the coast.

The mental health nurse, 53, paid £100,000 in 2006 for 40 per cent of a £250,000 flat. 

King’s Cross, a 10-minute walk away, has since changed beyond recognition. This, plus local price rises, means Jacqui’s home is now valued at £625,000.

She let Guinness market the flat on a shared-ownership basis. A 40 per cent share of the flat, which has its own patio garden, is priced at £250,000, requiring a minimum five per cent £12,500 deposit. 

But Jacqui is trying to sell at a difficult time in London’s housing market. In two months she has had enquiries but no offers. 

She is now free to put the flat on sale with an estate agent. However, she will be liable for agent fees. 

At a typical two per cent, this will cost her up to £12,500.

She supports the shared-ownership concept and would like to see her flat remain within the affordable sector rather than being sold “to a banker”.

She adds: “It is an expensive product, but it is sad that key workers can’t afford these places.”

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