FIRST STEPS to home ownership

Through our FIRST STEPS programme we are helping many more Londoners onto the housing ladder.

The Mayor’s FIRST STEPS programme helps low and modest income Londoners to buy or rent their own home in the capital. FIRST STEPS housing gives Londoners a chance to get a step on the housing ladder at a lower cost than renting privately or buying a property on the open market.

You can find out more information on the programme, check if you are eligible and search for a property that is affordable and meets your needs through the FIRST STEPS website (external website).

The Mayor of London has chosen Share to buy as the new provider of the FIRST STEPS property portal from 1 April 2013. Share to buy currently provides a website dedicated to shared ownership (external website). This includes a property portal specifically focused on listing shared ownership properties (i.e. homes available to buy on a ‘part buy part rent’ basis) and other homes available through FIRST STEPS. Share to buy have a background as mortgage brokers, authorised and regulated by the Financial Services authority, and use this knowledge of shared ownership mortgages to list properties on the site using transparent affordability data, e.g. showing the deposit a customer might need to buy the home.

The Mayor has already delivered almost 21,000 intermediate homes helping an estimated 29,000 Londoners. A further 12,000 intermediate homes will be completed by 2015.

In addition, the Mayor has reaffirmed his commitment to helping working Londoners find a home through his Housing Covenant, Homes for Working Londoners. Alongside additional funding of up to £100m to build even more intermediate homes comes a series of proposals to make the intermediate market work better. These include:

  • Separate the financial product from the property - to enable Londoners to find a suitable intermediate home and then to choose the most appropriate financial package to support themselves into home ownership – be that through shared ownership, equity loans, rent to save or other product.
  • Improve the secondary intermediate market - improve mobility within the market, finding ways to enable households to transfer equity accrued in one property into another. Improve the marketing of homes when the original purchaser decides to move on. Work with local planning authorities to be pragmatic when presented with historic planning obligations.
  • Make properties available on a pan-London basis - ensure that intermediate homes are available to a wide number of Londoners. While being sensitive to local circumstances encourage the limited use of restrictive planning and lease causes on new build intermediate homes.
  • Improve the First Steps service - make the process of accessing intermediate housing more akin to entering home ownership. Re-configuring the First Steps service from April 2013 to enhance the pan-London website to act as a one-stop-shop for Londoners to view properties and access information about their intermediate housing options, as well as provide a useful tool for our partners to market their properties.