Could shared ownership be the answer for first-time buyers?

With the news this week that rents hit another record high of £713 per month in August, renting is evidently becoming increasingly unaffordable for many, particularly in London, where average rents have now hit £1,025 per month.

Several recent surveys have shown that mortgage payments are actually cheaper than rent in many parts of the country, but most would-be first-time buyers are either struggling to raise a deposit or have given up on the idea of home ownership as they believe they will be turned away for a mortgage.

Against this backdrop, shared ownership is perhaps one option for struggling would-be first-time buyers that is not given enough consideration.

And it is good to see one brokerage taking a proactive attitude towards increasing the number of options available for consumers in this sector.

That Mortgage Place is organising a meet and greet event next week in association with the Metro which aims to bring together housing associations and mortgage lenders.

Through a series of round table sessions, That Mortgage Place hopes the event will foster interaction between housing associations and lenders, thereby helping to iron out any communication issues between the two and raising ideas for new lending initiatives.

Lenders attending the event on Wednesday include Santander, Halifax, Leeds Building Society, Woolwich and Nationwide.

“As a specialist affordable housing brokerage, we witness first hand the miscommunications that can arise between housing associations and lenders,” says Ellie Manns, business development manager at That Mortgage Place.

“Often, these issues come about because lenders do not always understand the different processes required for shared ownership mortgages compared to standard mortgages.

“We hope the event will help to clear up any existing issues in the shared ownership application process, as well as encourage discussion about lenders’ appetites for further lending.”

While the event is certainly a step in the right direction and will hopefully get lenders and housing associations talking about new ways to help first-time buyers, it would also be good to see a similar event organised for consumers.

Shared ownership could be a viable option for many would-be first-time buyers and although it is not without problems, it will at least save them from a never ending cycle of extortionate rental payments.

However, many consumers will not even know shared ownership schemes are available unless more is done to raise awareness of the sector.