As revealed by Property Week last week, Thames Valley Housing is changing the way it communicates its shared ownership offer and re-branding its shared ownership homes ‘SO Resi by Thames Valley Housing’.
Shared ownership is a brilliant way to buy a home. This flexible scheme helps people in many different situations, whether it is buyers struggling to raise a deposit, seeking a home in an area that might otherwise be unaffordable or perhaps trying to get back on the property ladder after a divorce.
So many people can be helped by shared ownership, but too often they don’t understand how it works or think it’s too complex. Such misconceptions and lack of understanding often deter them from using the scheme.
We believe it doesn’t have to be this way. SO Resi is the result of extensive research, as well as brainstorming and workshops with potential customers.
It will make shared ownership more readily understandable by explaining it in simple, straightforward language that is unambiguous and transparent. Complex ideas will be broken down into simple statements to communicate at different points in the customer journey.
Most approaches to shared ownership focus on helping people into a home. What happens next - and how shared ownership can change over the years - is often an afterthought. We will therefore equip our customers with all the information and help they need from the start to make the right decisions long term. This will include offering our unique Shared Ownership PLUS scheme as a simpler and more cost-effective way of buying more shares in a home over time.
The chilling fact is that the affordability crisis is unlikely to go away. A survey by Which? Mortgage Advisers found that first-time buyers take, on average, 10 years to save a deposit to buy a home. When Help to Buy ends in 2020, shared ownership could become the only way for most people to afford to buy their own homes.
Our challenge will be to help ensure that the scheme is easy to understand, continues to evolve and shifts its eligibility criteria to suit homebuyers’ budgets. As our strapline says, it ‘makes home ownership possible’.