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Shared Vs Fractional Ownership UK

Shared Vs Fractional Ownership UK

Shared ownership in the UK is an affordable housing scheme for first-time home buyers who are not able to afford buying from the open market, designed by the British government which allows purchasing a portion of a property (minimum 25% if buying from one of the older schemes and 10% if buying from an updated scheme) and paying rent on the remainder held by a housing organisation or developer. The remaining portion of the property remains with the housing provider who is not able to sell that remaining share on the market. The buyers then have the ability to gradually raise their share by "staircasing", i.e., putting in more money to buy additional share.

Conversely, fractional ownership is an investment proposition that enables several buyers / investors to jointly own a property and enjoy allocated usage rights or proportionate financial returns according to proportion of the property owned by them. Each owner typically has the right to use the property for a set period of time each year when this structure is used for vacation properties. This structure is also being used in real estate investments by companies like Novyy who provide financial returns in the proportion of the ownership held to individuals.

Let us take a closer look at shared vs fractional ownership. For a detailed understanding of fractional ownership, refer to the blog “Fractional real estate investment in the UK: A deep dive.”

If soaring costs of homeownership seem daunting, shared ownership might just offer the solution you’ve been searching for if you meet certain eligibility criteria. This arrangement, enabled by housing associations across England, allows prospective homeowners to buy a portion varying from 25% to 75% of a property's market value while paying rent to the housing provider on the remainder (reduced to 10% in the updated scheme).

Shared ownership follows simple rules: you buy a share of the property and rent the rest. The rent is capped at 3% of the property value, which is relatively lower than the market rent in most parts of the country. This enables you to buy a home with less money down than you would require for an outright purchase and mortgage payments. Furthermore, as your financial situation changes, you have the option to purchase additional share over time through a process known as "staircasing," which provides you greater ownership. This means that as their financial situation improves, they can buy additional share in the property, ultimately leading to full ownership if desired. However, staircasing is not mandatory, and individuals can choose to remain with their initial share if it suits their needs.

In April 2021, the government introduced enhancements to the shared ownership model, making it even more accessible and flexible. Notable changes include reducing the minimum share required for purchase from 25% to 10% of the property’s market value and introducing a new staircasing feature that allows for the purchase of an extra 1% of the home annually. This arrangement allows individuals to secure homeownership without having to raise a large deposit, which can be particularly challenging for first-time buyers facing high rents and living costs.

Housing associations or local councils frequently administer shared ownership houses, giving continuing assistance and management to buyers. These organisations are responsible for setting rent levels, maintaining communal areas, and ensuring that the property meets certain standards.

While shared ownership offers a pathway to homeownership, it's essential to consider some drawbacks. Buyers are responsible for all repairs and maintenance costs, regardless of the share they own. Additionally, service charges for communal areas can be significant, adding to the overall cost of ownership.

Difference between shared ownership from fractional ownership 

While both concepts involve multiple parties owning a property, they operate differently.

Ownership Structure: In a shared ownership situation, one individual purchase a portion of a property and pays rent on the remaining portion. In contrast, fractional ownership often involves multiple individuals collectively owning a property, with each party owning a specific fraction, such as one-fourth or one-eighth.

Shared ownership's primary purpose is to provide affordable homeownership options, particularly for first-time buyers. On the other hand, fractional ownership is frequently linked to investment properties, opulent mansions or holiday retreats, where a number of owners split the expenses and advantages/incomes derived from the ownership.

Ownership Flexibility: Shared ownership provides a flexible approach to total homeownership. You can use a technique called “staircasing” to raise your ownership stake in the home as your financial condition improves over time. This means you can gradually buy more shares of your home until you eventually own it outright. This flexibility allows you to tailor your homeownership journey according to your changing needs and financial capacity, offering a pathway to complete homeownership independence. While fixed ownership percentages are common in fractional ownership, transferring or selling ownership shares may involve additional complexity.

Management: Shared-ownership properties are often managed by housing associations or local councils, providing ongoing support and management. Fractional ownership properties may be managed by a homeowners’ association or a property management business, with the owners acting as a group to make decisions.

Key Considerations for Shared-Ownership Homebuyers

Understanding the Lease: Shared ownership properties are typically leasehold, so you’ll have a lease agreement with the housing association. It’s crucial to thoroughly understand the terms of this lease, including any restrictions or obligations it imposes. This could include rules about making alterations to the property, subletting, or other conditions that may affect your enjoyment of the home.

Maintenance and Service Fees: You will be liable for service fees as a shared owner for the care of common areas and structures. It is imperative to budget for these expenses in addition to your rent and mortgage payments because they can fluctuate and potentially rise in the future.

Restrictions on Resale: If you choose to sell your shared ownership home, you can run into some limitations. Some housing associations, for example, can assist you in finding a buyer before you put your property up for sale on the open market since they have the right of first refusal. Planning for the future requires an understanding of these limitations as well as any related expenses.

Affordability Considerations: While shared ownership can make homeownership more accessible, it's essential to consider long-term affordability. As your circumstances change, such as interest rate fluctuations or changes in household income, ensure you can still comfortably afford mortgage payments, rent, and other associated costs.

Legal Advice: Given the complexities involved in shared ownership, it's advisable to seek legal advice before entering into any agreements. A solicitor can review the terms of the lease, explain your rights and responsibilities, and ensure you fully understand the implications of shared ownership.

Exit Strategy: When considering shared ownership, having an exit strategy is critical. Whether you plan to attain full ownership, sell the property, or move to another home, having a clear plan in mind will help you navigate the process effectively.

Financial Planning: Shared ownership involves financial commitments beyond mortgage payments, including rent, service charges, and potential staircasing costs. It's essential to budget carefully and consider how these expenses fit into your overall financial plan.

Consider the future marketability of a shared ownership property before purchasing it. Factors such as location, property type, and demand for shared ownership homes in the area can affect their resale value and ease of selling when the time comes to move on.

Ongoing Support: Many housing associations provide assistance and guidance to shared owners throughout their homeownership journey. This can include advice on managing finances, understanding lease agreements, and accessing additional services or schemes.

Eligibility: Eligibility for shared ownership is contingent upon your household income, with a ceiling of £80,000 per year outside of London or £90,000 per year within the capital. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, a previous homeowner struggling to afford a new property, or an existing shared owner looking to relocate, you may qualify for this opportunity.

Shared ownership properties are available for purchase through both new-build developments and resale programmes offered by housing associations. However, it’s crucial to determine whether you’re applying for a new model or an old model of shared ownership home, as they may differ in terms of available features and benefits.

Before diving into the shared ownership journey, it’s essential to understand the financial commitment involved. While this scheme provides an accessible entry into homeownership, failure to meet rent obligations could result in the loss of your home and the funds invested. Therefore, a thorough comprehension of the scheme’s conditions is advised.

To embark on your shared ownership journey or gather more information about eligibility and application procedures, visit the official government website.

Shared ownership mortgages in the UK

Shared ownership mortgages offer a compelling avenue for individuals in the UK to step onto the property ladder with reduced upfront costs. But what exactly do they entail, and how can one navigate the process?

Eligibility Requirements:

To qualify for a shared ownership mortgage, individuals must meet specific criteria:

  • Household income is capped at £80,000 (£90,000 in London).
  • Inability to afford the full deposit and mortgage payments for a suitable home.
  • Qualification as a first-time buyer, previous homeowner facing affordability challenges, or other specified conditions.

Application Process:

To start the shared ownership journey, contact nearby housing associations that offer such schemes. Applicants undergo assessments covering income, savings, credit history, and location preferences. Mortgage approval hinges on factors like income, mortgage cost, rent, service charges, and ground rent.

Navigating Mortgages:

Securing a shared ownership mortgage typically entails a deposit of 5% to 10%. While not all lenders offer shared ownership mortgages, many institutions provide tailored solutions. Utilising mortgage brokers with expertise in shared ownership can streamline the process by identifying suitable lenders and ensuring optimal terms.

Pros and cons Shared Ownership vs. Fractional Ownership: A Comparative Analysis

Shared Ownership Benefits Vs Drawbacks:


Shared Vs Fractional Ownership UK



Reasonable prices: Shared ownership provides an affordable option for people who do not have the capital to buy a property outright. It makes it possible for prospective homeowners to climb the housing ladder without going over their budgets thanks to smaller deposits and manageable monthly payments.

Flexible Staircasing: The option to gradually increase ownership through staircasing offers long-term flexibility. As financial situations improve, buyers can purchase additional shares of their home, eventually leading to full ownership and eliminating the need for rent payments.

Long-term Stability: Shared ownership offers the security of homeownership, allowing individuals to establish roots and build equity over time. With a lease typically lasting 99 or 125 years, occupants can enjoy stability and security in their housing situation.

Reduced Stamp Duty: Initial purchases under shared ownership are often exempt from stamp duty land tax, providing additional savings for buyers.


Ownership Restrictions: Shared ownership properties are typically leasehold, subjecting occupants to certain restrictions and obligations. For instance, there may be limitations on making structural alterations without prior approval.

Service Charges: Occupants are responsible for 100% of ground rent and service charges, regardless of their share in the property. This additional cost can impact affordability.

Stamp Duty Liability: Buyers may be liable for stamp duty on the entire property value once their share exceeds 80%, potentially increasing the overall cost of ownership.

Fractional Ownership Benefits vs Drawbacks:


Shared Vs Fractional Ownership UK



Cost Sharing: Fractional ownership enables individuals to share the financial burden of property ownership, making it more affordable and manageable. By dividing expenses among co-owners, it reduces the upfront costs and ongoing expenses associated with property ownership.

Variety and Flexibility: Co-owners have access to multiple properties in different locations, offering greater variety and flexibility in vacation experiences. This allows individuals to explore diverse destinations without the commitment of owning a single property.

Shared Maintenance: Co-owners share maintenance tasks and costs to ensure the property stays well-maintained without putting the entire burden on any one owner.

Diversification and access to high-end properties: Investing in fractional ownership properties diversifies portfolios beyond traditional assets, spreading risk and grants access to luxury properties without the high upfront costs of full ownership.

Rental Income: Fractional ownership properties can generate rental income when not in use, offsetting ownership costs.

Potential for Capital Appreciation: Real estate has historically appreciated, generating potential returns when selling ownership stakes.


Limited Usage: Each co-owner has limited occupancy rights, which may not suit individuals seeking more flexibility in their use of the property. Scheduling conflicts and limited availability of preferred dates can arise.

Design Limitations: Because central management may not reflect personal tastes, decisions about the property's design and aesthetics may not align with individual preferences.

Inability to Personalise: Co-owners cannot personalise the property with their belongings, as it is shared among multiple owners. This limits the ability to create a truly personalised living space.

Is shared ownership a better option than renting?

The decision between renting and shared ownership becomes crucial in an environment where budgets are being stretched thin because of growing rental prices. Shared ownership gives a tempting chance to get on the property ladder with affordable monthly payments and future ownership potential, while renting offers flexibility and little upfront fees. It's all about finding the right balance between immediate gratification and saving for the future.


To sum up, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages to both shared ownership and fractional ownership, two distinct approaches to property ownership. Even in expensive cities like London, more people may afford to own a home because of shared ownership, which lets them build up their share over time. However, for individuals who value diversity and adaptability in their housing alternatives, fractional ownership is a great fit because it permits cost-sharing and access to a wide range of properties. In the end, personal tastes, budget, and way of life are the deciding factors between the two.


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