Low-cost home ownership

Schemes to help you buy a home

There are a number of schemes available to help you buy or part-buy a home you can afford, including shared ownership, the Help to Buy schemes and Meridian Home Start Ltd.

Shared ownership

Shared ownership allows you to:

  • buy a share of between 25 per cent and 75 per cent of a home
  • and pay a subsidised rent (generally 2.75 per cent or less) on the remaining share.

This arrangement is sometimes described as 'part-buy, part-rent'.

There is usually also a service charge. Over time, it is possible to buy additional shares to increase the portion of your home that you own.

Eligibility for shared ownership

To be eligible for a shared ownership home in Royal Greenwich, you must generally:

  • have an annual household income between £25,355 and £50,709
  • be a first-time buyer, or a homeowner who needs to move because of a change in your family's circumstances.

These criteria are necessary as shared ownership is designed to support those who cannot afford to purchase on the open market to enter into home ownership.

Income bands

The average annual household income in the borough is less than that of those living in central London. For this reason, the income band restrictions on shared ownership homes in Royal Greenwich are lower than many of those in central London (which use the Greater London Authority's income bands).

Registered providers need to allocate shared ownership homes equally between people who fall within three annual household income bands. This is to ensure that new homes are bought by a range of residents from different income groups. The income bands increase each year based on the Retail Price Index (RPI). The figures below were updated in February 2017:

  • £25,355 to £35,215
  • £35,216 to £42,258
  • £42,239 to £50,709

Occasionally, when a scheme has come forward without central government grant funding, the income limit is raised to £56,344. Registered providers should make income restrictions clear when new shared ownership homes are being marketed.

Priority for home ownership properties

People falling under the following categories will be preferred when shared ownership properties come up for sale. Here is the order of preference:

  1. existing Council and housing association tenants
  2. households registered for rehousing with one of the five local authorities and recognised as being in housing need - for example, due to homelessness, overcrowding, medical reasons and harassment
  3. existing home owners whose current housing is unsuitable because of the disability of a member of the household
  4. key workers who provide a service to residents of at least one of the five south east London boroughs
  5. all other households who are resident or employed in one of the five local authorities, and certain existing homeowners.

These priorities have been agreed by Royal Borough of Greenwich and the other four boroughs of south east London: Bexley, Bromley, Lewisham and Southwark.

The 'south east London shared ownership priorities' document provides further information on each priority.

Read the south east London shared ownership priorities document

Accessing shared ownership housing

You must be registered to Share to Buy. This is a free government service for London's first-time buyers looking to buy a home for less than on the open market.

Once you have registered your details on Share to Buy, you will be able to search for available properties.

Register as a first-time buyer on the Share to Buy website

A Home of Your Own (AHOYO) open market shared ownership

Moat housing association and the Great London Authority have recently launched A Home of Your Own, which allows supports eligible purchasers to buy a share of a property of their choice, and pay a rent to Moat on the remaining share. This is an opportunity to access shared ownership while getting the benefit of choosing an existing property from the open market, which can sometimes be cheaper than buying a new-build property. The scheme is open only for social housing tenants for the first six months of the scheme.

Find out more and register your details on the A Home of Your Own website

Royal Borough of Greenwich Intermediate Housing Register

We have set up an intermediate housing register with Share to Buy. The new Priority Service aims to ensure that Royal Borough of Greenwich residents are targeted specifically about new developments available in the borough and are able to benefit from the new homes before anyone else.

If you are a current resident, or work within the Royal Borough, all you have to do is tick the Greenwich priority service box when registering. This will ensure that you are first to find out about all the new homes available within the borough.

Register for shared ownership on the Share to Buy website

Help to Buy schemes

There are two types of Help to Buy schemes: equity loan scheme and mortgage guarantee scheme. The schemes are different but both help to reduce the cash deposit the home buyer will need to pay.

Meridian Home Start

Meridian Home Start is a company set up by The Royal Borough of Greenwich to offer high-quality homes for local working families to rent. These homes are available at discounted rents to help working families who would otherwise find it hard to buy or rent on the open market.

Find out more about Meridian Home Start