GOVERNMENT-BACKED affordable home ownership schemes like Shared Ownership are more in demand than ever before, as high house prices and the hefty deposits required to buy outright on the open market continue to obstruct would-be buyers.

According to research by Lloyds TSB, one in six first-time buyers who would have previously not considered Government-backed schemes have changed their views in light of the economic downturn.

The report states that Shared Ownership is the most widely understood scheme among first-time buyers – 81 per cent say they have a good grasp of what is involved.

New shared equity schemes like FirstBuy are less well-known, despite its popularity, with only 64 per cent able confidently to say they understood what was involved.

Plumlife, the affordable homes specialist and government-appointed HomeBuy Agency for Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Yorkshire, delivers all low-cost home ownership (HomeBuy) schemes funded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Commenting on this latest report, Plumlife HomeBuy Initiatives manager, Edyta Majewska, said: “It’s true that schemes such as shared ownership are in massive demand at the moment.

“We’re seeing a steady increase in applications, and the range and diversity of those applicants is very wide.

“FirstBuy is still a relatively new scheme, and arguably, a little more complex, however demand for it in our operating areas is very strong. “For many working people, traditional home ownership is unachievable, but the good news is that is that if you’re a first-time buyer earning a household income of under £60,000, you may be eligible for significant government help.

“We offer a free information and registration service for first-time buyers in Greater Manchester who are interested in getting help to step on the property ladder via one of the Government’s HomeBuy schemes.

“Many people still don’t realise that help is out there, or that the income threshold is so high.” Shared Ownership and First Buy are available on a wide range of new-build homes across the north west.

From urban apartments to family homes in the suburbs, the choice is impressive.

Many of the homes are built by the UK’s top house builders, including Barratt, Redrow, Persimmon Homes and Morris Homes.

Plumlife is working with Santander to offer its Shared Ownership customers a highly competitive 95 per cent Loan To Value mortgage – requiring just a 5% deposit.

For information on low cost home ownership, contact Plumlife on 0161 447 5050 or visit

l Shared Ownership – Shared Ownership is a popular part-buy, part-rent scheme, which allows you to buy a share of selected new homes (usually from 35 per cent to 75 per cent) and pay a small rent on the remainder you don’t own.

It helps reduce both the initial deposit needed, as well as cutting down on monthly payments.

You can buy more shares in the future if you want to. l FirstBuy FirstBuy enables first time buyers to buy a new home with the help of a 20 per cent equity loan – interest-free for five years. Crucially, it means only having to find a five per cent deposit, which is the main barrier to home ownership for most people.