20 May 2021

As housing associations continue to progress their post-coronavirus development plans and advance submissions for the new Affordable Homes Programme (AHP), what might recent announcements on the new Shared Ownership model and First Homes mean for affordable home ownership?

In my dream policy world, we’d move seamlessly from policy announcement to implementation to bidding for funding, perhaps with time to pause and reflect once in a (while. A global pandemic and the implications for our customers, colleagues and contingencies certainly wouldn’t be part of the mix.

In reality, we find ourselves with the announcement of three substantial policy changes relating to affordable home ownership at the same time that development teams are working incredibly hard to pull together bids for the new round of AHP funding.

The biggest policy shift comes in the shared ownership market, with new 990-year leases, reduced staircasing and initial purchase levels plus new maintenance obligations for landlords all to get on top of. Work to give existing shared owners an extension to bring their leases in line with new ones will also need to take place.

Details on the government’s new First Homes policy were published at the same time. The new home ownership product will be sold for a minimum 30% discount on market sale prices and will be delivered as the first 25% of affordable provision through s.106.

Add to this a new right to shared ownership for homes built with funding from the AHP and it’s clear that the sector is grappling with a huge amount of change all at the same time.

Our Affordable Home Ownership (AHO) conference is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the policy landscape and its potential impact on development for the future. Lending experts will give their insight into the market, there’s an opportunity to hear the latest about the shared ownership campaign as well as a customer panel to share residents’ experiences.

AHO conference is a unique opportunity to learn best practice and network with colleagues from around the country without having to travel anywhere.

Emerging affordable home ownership policy, and its impact on the sector is moving pretty fast. Can your teams afford not to stop and look around once in a while so they don’t miss it? (With apologies to Ferris Bueller)

Marie Chadwick

Policy Leader (Supply), National Housing Federation

What might recent announcements on the new Shared Ownership model and First Homes mean for affordable home ownership?