Equity sharing, also known as shared ownership or in the US as housing equity partnership (HEP), allows a person to purchase a share in their home even if they cannot afford a mortgage on the whole of the current value. It is generally used in affordable housing, providing a "third way" of land tenure between home ownership and renting.

There are various detailed methods to implement equity sharing, and it is implemented in over a hundred community land trusts in the United States. The remaining equity share may be held by the housebuilder or by a landlord such as a housing association. In some models the resident pays rent on that share.

Equity sharing in the United KingdomEdit

The government facilitates shared equity in England chiefly through the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), currently under the banner of HomeBuy. This covers a range of low cost home ownership options; all aim to help households earning up to £60,000 p.a. to buy a home that they could not otherwise afford.[1] Some are targeted at first-time buyers and key workers.[2]

The current types of Homebuy are:

  • New Build HomeBuy, under which purchasers buy at least 25% of a newly-built home, and pay rent on the remainder. The HCA generally subsidises housing associations or other providers to hold the remaining share. The rent is capped at 3% of the value of the unsold share, but typically set at 2.75%. Purchasers may buy additional shares whenever they can afford to do so; this is known as "staircasing".[3]
  • Rent to HomeBuy is a variation launched in July 2008. It allows applicants to rent their new home for less than market rent (intermediate rent) to enable them to save for a deposit. Within five years, the tenant has a right to purchase a share in the home.[3]
  • HomeBuy Direct is a new form of shared ownership introduced in 2009, under which the government and a housing developer jointly fund an equity loan of 30% of the valuation, so that the purchaser only needs to pay a mortgage on 70% of the value. If the purchaser buys an additional share, all three parties participate in any increase in value. The HCA allocated £300 million to the scheme for 2009—2011, and 10,000 homes are available under the initiative.[1]
  • Open Market Homebuy allowed purchasers to buy at least 25% of a property on the open market, with a conventional mortgage on that part, and a low-interest loan on the remainder. This is not currently available as the funding for 2009-10 has already been fully committed. Over 6,000 households used the scheme in 2008/09.[4]
  • Social Homebuy allows tenants of participating Councils and housing associations to buy their rented home on shared ownership terms, with a proportion of the usual Right to Acquire discount.[5]

The First Time Buyers Initiative is an older scheme aimed at first time buyers who can arrange a mortgage for at least 50% of a home. The Government provides an equity loan for the remainder which is interest-free for the first three years, rising to 3% after 5 years.[6] Ownhome, operated by Places for People and the Co-Operative Bank, and MyChoiceHomeBuy are similar schemes which are currently oversubscribed.

In 2009 the Government also announced Mortgage Rescue, a package of measures over the two years 2009—2011 to help 6,000 families who are vulnerable to repossession. Homeowners may change their tenure either to shared equity or Government Mortgage to Rent.[7]

To apply for all Homebuy schemes, applicants must contact their local Homebuy Agent.[8] Mortgage Rescue is administered by local authorities.

In 2009 the National Housing Federation, a trade association for housing associations, complained that banks are refusing to lend to people wanting to buy properties on shared ownership terms, erroneously viewing them as sub-prime borrowers.[9]

Equity sharing in the United StatesEdit

Equity sharing has been around for some time now[when?] and has been put on the shelf in recent years[when?] given the loose financing programs. These partnerships were championed by economists Andrew Caplin, Sewin Chan, Joseph Tracy and Charles Freedman in the late 1990s and are very similar to shared-equity plans that have existed for decades in the UK, Europe and the U.S. They are also similar to an earlier proposal produced by Geltner, Miller and Snavely (1995) to develop Home Equity Investment Trusts (HEITs). There have been various spins on this concept from sharing on existing properties, alternatives to reverse mortgage, new purchases and now even investment properties. Originally, in a mutually beneficial way this type of strategy was used for buyers to acquire a property that they could either, not otherwise afford, lacked capital for a down payment, insufficient income to support loan payment, etc. These types of situations have commonly been factors that would lead to a beneficial equity sharing relationship. In summary, the traditional example of equity share for the purchase of a home provides the buyer with a 20% down-payment; they will have much lower payments, no PMI, better terms/rate and will save a great deal just in payments versus what it will cost them in equity at the eventual sale or refinancing of the property at some point in the future.

Particularly, in the case of investment properties there are some other factors to be taken into consideration, like cash flow from the property. If the total of the mortgage payments, taxes, insurance/association dues, and all other expenses must be less than the rent that the tenant pays on the property. If not, the investors will run into a negative cash flow situation, whereby they are paying more than they are getting from the property. This was very common in the era of high LTV (loan to value) loans on investment properties where in most cases they were viewed as risky by banks and therefore had high interest rates and even PMI (private mortgage insurance) in some cases. That being said, how does equity share help an investor and how does it work?

If the investor puts up the 20% for the down payment to purchase the property, then after the close enters into an agreement with the fund they give you[who?] up to 20% of the purchase price in consideration for a share of the future equity in the property, with no interest and no payments, ever. Now you have a situation where the investor has an 80% LTV loan with lower payments then they would otherwise have, which means greater cash flow potential and less capital expenditure’s. The additional benefit of the money (20% initially used for the purchase) that would other wise is tied up in the property, illiquid, and inaccessible without the Fund, will instead be in your pocket. This will also allow individual investors to purchase multiple properties by using their initial capital for a down payment then entering into an Equity share agreement; get cash from the fund and use that cash to purchase more properties and get more cash from the fund.


  1. 1.0 1.1 HomeBuy Direct on DCLG website
  2. HomeBuy at HCA website
  3. 3.0 3.1 New Build HomeBuy on DCLG website
  4. Open Market HomeBuy on CLG website
  5. Social HomeBuy at HCA website
  6. First Time Buyers' Initiative at, website maintained by Moat Homes on behalf of all the HomeBuy Agents
  7. Mortgage Rescue Scheme, CLG, 2009
  8. HomeBuy Agents list on HCA website
  9. Banks turn away £1bn of business because of “prejudice” against low cost housing, National Housing Federation, 21 May 2009

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Geltner, David M., Norman G. Miller and Jean Snavely. 1995. We Need a Fourth Asset Class: HEITs. Real Estate Finance: 71-81.
  • Caplin, Andrew (1997). Housing Partnerships: A New Approach to a Market at a Crossroads. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-03243-0.fa:ملک مشاع

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