According to the latest figures for 2021, the number of housing association shared ownership sales in England fell by 49% compared to the year before.
The Regulator of Social Housing’s Statistical Data Return (SDR) revealed that a total of 12,576 units were sold in the year ending March 2021. This is a significant drop compared to the previous 12 months, which is surprising considering there was a rise of nearly 10% in the year 2019-2020.
Sharp decline in London sales
An interesting finding from the SDR figures was that there was a significant decrease in the number of shared ownership sales took taking place in London.
The data shows that 10,601 of sales (84%) were outside the capital, which is a drop of 53% compared to 2020. Overall, sales in London were down by 16%. Outer London saw a 19% drop in sales, with a 10% decrease in inner London where a downward trajectory (-6%) was recorded in the previous year.
Offering an explanation for why sales of shared ownership units are falling in London in particular is David Jubb, the director of Greater London development at real estate consulting company JLL. Speaking to Social Housing, he said:
“The competition provided by Help to Buy is probably the predominant reason as to why shared ownership sales have seen a decline. Purely because, for a purchaser using Help to Buy, in the first five years alone, their outgoing costs are going to be significantly less than when buying shared ownership.
“We’ve seen that on a practical level in London and further afield, where shared ownership sales have suffered in terms of sales rates against competing Help to Buy schemes in the same area.”
Another potential reason for the decline in sales could be the recent reduction in housing supply.
Clarion tops HA sales list
The SDR 2020-21 figures also included a data on shared ownership sales broken down by Registered Providers. At the top of the list for first tranche sales during the year was Clarion, the largest UK housing association with responsibility for over 125,000 homes.
It recorded sales of 974 for 2021, making up 10% of its total low-cost housing sales. Clarion’s group development director Richard Cook said:
“In 2020-21, we built a record 2,126 new homes, over half of which were for shared ownership. We have delivered year-on-year increases in affordable homes, and specifically shared ownership, since 2017-18 – a core part of our wider strategy to drive up the development of mixed-tenure communities with homes people can afford.
“More schemes coming forward in recent years, including many offering shared ownership, has resulted in more homes available to sell. The increase in our shared ownership sales income last year was also driven partly by market conditions such as the stamp duty holiday and other knock-on effects from the pandemic as the year progressed.”
Following Clarion at the top of the shared ownership sales list for 2021 were Sage Housing, Platform, Optivo and Places for People.
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