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Shared property ownership soars in popularity

Notting Hill Home Ownership, the first housing association to introduce shared ownership, supports this claim having seen a 80% increase in the number of viewings and reservations at its housing schemes since the recession struck.

Prior to the credit crunch many Londoners would have never considered shared ownership as a housing option. Now though, even with the current fall in property values, the gap between house prices and the amount people can borrow continues to grow. This, along with the hefty mortage arrangement fees involved and the need for far larger deposits, has left little hope for buyers. Even people who are in permanent employment, earning a reasonable income, find it impossible to get a mortgage.

Previously shared ownership supported key workers, low income first time buyers and social tenants, enabling them to live and work in areas which had seen house prices rocket well beyond what they could afford to pay on the open market. But now, as the country is gripped by recession, more and more middle income buyers are turning  their sights to shared ownership to solve their housing needs.

As a result Notting Hill Home Ownership has had a busy start to 2009. Already it has launched eight schemes and 213 homes this year to keep up with the growing demand, of which 167 have sold. As the trend for shared ownership continues to get stronger the company is expected to launch a further five developments and 209 homes in the coming five months.

Mark Vaughan, Director of Home Ownership for Notting Hill Housing said: "In a difficult economic climate, affordable routes to home ownership are proving more attractive than ever. We are seeing a sharp rise in demand for shared ownership across our schemes, as it is a good, effective way to get onto the property ladder for buyers unable to secure a mortgage on the high street."

The initiative is the most affordable and flexible form of low cost home ownership on the market. The scheme offers eligible people the chance to buy between 25%-75% of a property from a housing association and pay an affordable rent on the remaining share. The beauty of shared ownership is that people can increase the share they own over time, known as staircasing, and ultimately own the property outright.

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