‘Shared ownership can help people to get a home – we must promote it.’
Mark Tranter, development director at whg, one of more than 20 organisations to sign up to our shared ownership charter, explains why it matters.
In a world where more people are looking for easier ways to buy their dream home, shared ownership is providing that opportunity.
At whg, our shared ownership programme is about to enter a period of rapid growth. So when we found out that the shared ownership charter, a flexible framework that enables organisations like our own to develop a better customer experience, had been launched, we were more than happy to sign up.
Our development programme is rapidly expanding and whg now has a presence in 15 local authorities in the Midlands. In January this year, we received an indicative £22.1 million grant from the government’s Shared Ownership and Affordable Housing Programme (SOAHP) 2017-2021. This will enable us to build up to 751 new homes across a number of tenures, including rent to buy, shared ownership homes and older person homes for sale and rent.
When it comes to shared ownership, our priority is to ensure our customers are getting the right home that suits them and is tailored to their affordability requirements. We work with a range of high quality developers and housebuilders to get people into brand new, shared ownership properties in good locations across the region. Our experienced sales team works with customers through their journey of buying a home, from suggesting potential financial advisors all the way to putting them in touch with carpet fitters and they are also there to hand over the keys on sales completion. These personal touches help the team maintain a one-to-one relationship with each of our customers, making the process simpler.
We have also ensured that we are flexible in our approach. We are tailoring our product based on local demand, so for our first tranch of homes, sales have varied from between 25 to 50 per cent shared ownership. Alongside this, we are currently developing services that will be provided to our shared ownership customers, which are aligned to their affordability level. This will include home maintenance packages and wellbeing services, ensuring that we constantly seek the very best for our customers.
Shared ownership is important because it provides a home ownership product in a variety of areas. It can be used alongside other tenure products such as outright sale and right to buy to provide balanced mixed tenure schemes. We have around 100 shared ownership handovers planned for this financial year across a broad range of geographical areas. We have recently commenced on site starts for 121 shared ownership homes which will receive Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) grant via the Shared Ownership and Affordability Programme. This includes a 65-home development of high quality one and two-bedroom apartments for people aged over 55 which is funded by the HCA Older Person Shared Ownership programme which is expected to be complete in October 2018.
Signing the shared ownership charter has opened up many opportunities for us. We will achieve a greater understanding of marketing intelligence and customer profiling around the tenure. However, we will also be able to champion and raise awareness of this offer. We are proud to be a part of this charter and to contribute towards the government’s commitment to build up to 135,000 new shared ownership homes.
Mark Tranter is director of development at whg
• Find out more about the shared ownership charter and how you can sign up now
• Read Shared Ownership 2.1- our original research with Orbit
• Read the final report from CIH and Orbit - recommendations about how government, regulators, providers, lenders and investors could all work to deliver more affordable homes