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Brokers are not taking advantage of shared equity opportunities

Brokers may be missing out on the opportunity to capitalise on shared equity schemes.

Shared equity and shared ownership schemes are available in partnership with the government, housing associations and developers. But some lenders claim there is a dearth of information to help brokers and consumers get to grips with the huge number of products.

Steve Carruthers, head of corporate accounts at Royal Bank of Scotland Intermediary Partners, says there is broker appetite to offer shared equity schemes.

But he adds: “It is clear that the awareness and understanding of how these initiatives work still requires a considerable amount of support.

“There are misconceptions about the types of individuals who might benefit from participating in these schemes as well as the perceived complexity of writing such business. If these issues are not addressed it could lead to brokers missing out on an income stream.”

The government launched its HomeBuy initiative in May 2008, which includes shared equity and shared ownership products.

One product available, MyChoiceHomeBuy, is offered in partnership with eight housing associations and provides an equity loan of between 15% and 50% of a property’s purchase price.

The boost to buying power these schemes provide is intended to help thousands of aspiring first-time buyers and key workers get on the property ladder.

Jack Saxton, managing director of Halifax Intermediaries, says: “Navigating the maze of products available can be difficult for first-time buyers and getting to grips with the details of the initiatives isn’t always easy.

“Many consumers would value the clarity brokers could bring when it comes to explaining the LTV implications of schemes.”

He adds: “Brokers who understand how these initiatives work can broaden their propositions and appeal to a significant number of buyers.”

But Nationwide says brokers are already making use of the schemes.

Ian Andrew, head of prime intermediary sales at Nationwide, says brokers regularly enquire about shared equity schemes.

He adds: “It pays for brokers to keep up-to-date with all developments in the housing market because the better informed they are, the better they will be able to advise their clients.”

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