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Shared Ownership for Key Workers – How Does it Work?

We get to talk to many first time buyers in London, on the phone, at development launches or shows and exhibitions, and a common question that arises is “is Shared Ownership only for key workers?”

The short answer for this is, no. Shared Ownership is for first time buyers whose total household income is less than £90,000 per annum for homes in London or £80,000 for Essex. You could also be eligible for Shared Ownership if you are a newly formed household, for example, starting again after a relationship break up.

For a comprehensive look at the eligibility criteria for Shared Ownership, visit our Shared Ownership eligibility page.

In the past, key workers have experienced greater prioritisation for affordable housing with local authorities keen to have as many key workers living in their borough as possible.

However the prevailing importance of key workers for local authorities has moderated. Many local authorities now say that anyone who works in, and therefore provides a service to, their particular borough is a key worker. Below you can find key worker schemes that previously existed as well as details of how Family Mosaic now offers prioritisation for key workers.

Home Ownership schemes for key workers

There have been a variety of schemes aimed at Keyworkers wanting to get onto the property ladder in London.

The Starter Homes Initiative (SHI) was introduced in September 2001 as a dedicated affordable home ownership programme directed at key workers. This was aimed at public service workers who, without the assistance of the Starters Homes Initiative, would not have been able to buy a home in London or the South East of England. SHI provided assistance to key workers to buy their first home so that the skills of key workers did not leave the areas in which they were needed. However the Starter Homes Initiative ceased on 31 March 2004 and was replaced by “Key Worker Living” on 1 April 2004.

Key Worker Living (KWL) is also aimed at public service workers in London and the South East where the high cost of home ownership made it very difficult for this employment group to remain living in their working borough. Unlike SHI, KWL is not limited to helping key workers to buy their first home and it extends to rental schemes as well as home ownership.

Who classifies as a key worker under Key Worker Living Eligibility?

Key workers who may qualify for assistance under KWL are -

  • Nurses and other NHS staff
  • Teachers in schools and in further education or sixth from colleges
  • Police officers and some civilian staff in police forces
  • Prison service and probation service staff
  • Social workers, education psychologists, planners and occupational therapists employed by local authorities
  • Whole time junior fire officers and retained fire fighters in some fire and rescue services

For more information on Key Worker Living (KWL) visit the HMRC website for full details.

How do Family Mosaic prioritise key workers?

When applying for a new build Shared Ownership scheme with Family Mosaic, applicants will be prioritised based on certain criteria to determine who is allocated a property first. This is a point’s based system and therefore applications are not done on a first come first served basis.

As part of this prioritisation, one additional point is given to those who are Keyworkers, with a total of 40.5 points available based on a variety of factors.

How does Shared Ownership work?

Shared Ownership helps many first time buyers including Keyworkers get a foot on the housing ladder. Buying a home in the current market is very difficult for many people but Shared Ownership makes it possible to buy a property which otherwise would not have been affordable.

You can usually buy an initial share from 30% to 75% of the value of a property and you'll need to take out a mortgage to pay for your share of the home's purchase price. You will then pay a subsidised rent on the share you don’t buy, and there will also be a monthly service charge payable.

For more information visit our Guide to Shared Ownership page.