‘Reverse' shared equity could help landlords into growing market
One Housing Group is examining how shared ownership can help housing associations expand into the fast growing extra-care market.
The scheme is being developed as part of an innovation and good practice project, funded with a £75,000 Housing Corporation grant.
As part of the project the group will develop a 'reverse shared ownership' scheme. This will enable older people to sell shares in their homes back to their landlord, in exchange for improvements and repairs. It is also examining how older people can use equity in their home to pay for extra care.The equity sell-back idea is expected to feature in the government's forthcoming housing strategy for an ageing society, due to be released next year.
The project will also look at how extra-care schemes could be subsidised with the proceeds from the sale of homes or shared ownership equity stakes.
Kevin Beirne, group director for One Support, One Housing Group's care and support arm, said shared ownership for older people needed to be made more attractive. 'With the [existing] older person's model, they staircase up to 75 per cent and no longer have to pay rent. So a quarter of the landlord's income is gone.'
A new model could make it easier for housing associations to use sale proceeds, he added. 'The issue for extra-care housing is it's very expensive and needs big sites. We can afford to subsidise general housing. If we can do the same with extra care, it should work. The early indication is that there's a large market for this.'
James Berrington, the corporation's national policy manager for supported housing, said there was scope for developing reverse shared ownership schemes. 'This is looking at the issues of people who are equity rich, but cash poor, an issue identified by [the Communities and Local Government department].'
Jeremy Porteus, chair of the Care Services Improvement Partnership's housing group, said 40 per cent of the Department of Health's funding for extra care over the past three years had been allocated to mixed-tenure schemes.
'We're starting to see opportunities to look at shared ownership, not just for older people, but also for people with mental health difficulties,' he said.
Housing minister Yvette Cooper told an English Partnerships conference last week that the housing market should look at ways of housing older people, in addition to young people and families.