Stephanie Charman takes a look at the upcoming changes on shared ownership, which means good news for first time buyers.

To further bolster the dreams of home ownership in the UK, the government has revealed plans to loosen the rules around shared ownership. As of April 2016, the changes will open the previously limited scheme to 175,000 more households in the UK, with a deposit as small as £1,400 enough to start owning a home.

The restrictions imposed by councils on who is eligible to apply for the shared ownership scheme will be relaxed, opening up the way for many more people. Up to now, only those in certain public sector professions, such as key workers, were able to apply for the shared ownership scheme. But after the changes, the only restriction in place will be a maximum household income of £80,000 (£90,000 in London).

All part of Mr Cameron’s promise to build a “nation of homeowners”, the relaxed shared ownership rules will mean more people will be able to part-rent, part-buy a home. Currently, the rates of home ownership have fallen steadily over more than a decade, from 71% in 2003 to only 63% in 2013-14. Some experts believe that this move may see many social landlords actively developing their tenure, based on the knowledge that demand will increase.

These changes were originally planned to be part of the Help to Buy: Shared Ownership Scheme in 2018, but in the face of increasing house prices Cameron has pushed it forward to encompass existing homes as well as those built under other governmental programmes. In an effort to create a more stable and promising environment in which developers can build, the government continues to spur demand across the housing sector in 2016.

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