BSA to launch shared ownership site

The move comes after Housing Minister Grant Shapps called on the industry to debate how to open homeownership up to more people.

Following Shapps’ first time buyer summit held earlier this week, the housing minister established two discussion groups to consider how shared ownership can help more people onto the housing ladder and whether mortgage indemnity insurance has a role to play.

Details and members of the two working streams are still to be confirmed by Shapps but the BSA said it was already working hard to show the government it is trying to help promote shared ownership schemes.

The BSA website will aim to be an information hub for lenders wishing to do more shared ownership and shared equity lending as well as housing associations and registered social landlords planning developments.

Vicky Barnard, policy adviser at the BSA, said: “There’s currently no easy way for lenders to find out about shared ownership developments and providers to find out what lender appetite is for this sort of lending regionally.

“But this site will mean lenders can post their criteria and housing associations can post all the details of their developments including property types, price restrictions and tenant restrictions etc. In theory they can match the two so providers and lenders can work together more efficiently.”

The BSA began the project after the Coalition government said it wanted to promote diversity in the mutual sector and it has developed the site in partnership with its members and various housing associations.

Barnard added: “We’ve had a really positive reaction from both sides and particularly from housing associations so we are quite confident it’ll work. This information should help to fill a gap about shared ownership on a regional basis and we hope it will help local customers onto the property ladder by alternative means.”

The BSA said the site, which should be at prototype stage in time for the BSA annual conference at the start of May, was an effort to show government that the lending sector was being proactive on homeownership.

Barnard said: “Current regulation treats shared ownership as 100% loan to value making the capital requirements very hefty for lenders. We don’t think it is 100% LTV in reality but rather than saying we can’t do shared ownership lending at all, this website is intended to say we could do more if the government and regulator can help us.”