OLDER PERSONS SHARED OWNERSHIP (OPSO) WITH SHARE TO BUY
For older people who are looking for the independence and security that comes with homeownership, Older Persons Shared Ownership offers them the opportunity to purchase a part buy/part rent home. Share to Buy have covered some of the common questions we’re asked about the scheme!
What is Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO)?
Older Persons Shared Ownership works in a similar way to standard Shared Ownership with the buyer purchasing a share (25% minimum) of a purpose-built home through a mortgage or savings; they would then pay a below-market-value rent to a housing association on the remainder. This means that monthly costs are often much smaller than a full mortgage or renting a home privately.
Who can buy a home through the scheme?
Older Persons Shared Ownership is available to eligible buyers aged 55 and over. OPSO buyers are often looking to downsize from their existing family home or have found that their current abode simply doesn’t suit their needs anymore.
Am I eligible?
The general eligibility criteria for the OPSO scheme is as follows:
- You must be aged 55 years or older. However, some developments will allow a couple to buy where the main applicant is 55 but a second applicant is 50 or older.
- If buying in London, your maximum household income must not exceed £90,000. If buying anywhere else in the country, your household income must not exceed £80,000.
- You should not already own a home. If you do, you will need to be in the process of selling your other property before purchasing through the scheme.
- You should be unable to buy a home that’s suitable for your needs without assistance.
- You will need to be able to secure a mortgage or if retired, should have sufficient savings to pay for your share in full.
- You must not have any outstanding credit issues such as county court judgements or unsatisfied defaults.
How is OPSO different to Shared Ownership?
Unlike Shared Ownership, OPSO is only available for buyers who are aged 55 and over. Another key difference is that the maximum share you can buy in an OPSO home is normally 75%, rather than the usually 100%.
Can I buy more shares?
If and when you can afford to buy more shares in your home, you can do so through a process known as ‘staircasing’. If you decide to staircase to the maximum 75% share of an OPSO home, you will continue to pay your mortgage (if applicable) but will no longer pay any rent on the remaining 25%.
I need additional care – do OPSO homes provide this?
Some developments will offer an Extra Care scheme which is designed to provide residents with the ability to live independently while still having access to tailored care and support.
Extra Care is not available at every development and would need to be discussed with the relevant housing provider. If applying for an Extra Care development, you will usually need to have a minimum number of hours care requirement per week and a connection to the location area.
Where can I look for OPSO homes?
To find homes available through Older Persons Shared Ownership, you can start your search on sharetobuy.com!
When using the property search tool, you can look for homes in your area based on your own requirements and needs. This includes the scheme type where you can choose ‘Over 55s Shared Ownership’, as well as the property type, number of bedrooms and search radius.