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Entry and exit affordability of shared equity homeownership: an international comparison

Ka Shing Cheung (Department of Property, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Siu Kei Wong (Department of Real Estate and Construction, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis

ISSN: 1753-8270

Article publication date: 19 September 2019

Issue publication date: 18 October 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

Shared equity homeownership is a form of subsidised, resale-restricted housing through which lower-income households can sustain their affordability. This paper aims to distinguish two types of affordability within shared equity homeownership: “entry affordability” indicates how affordable subsidised housing is when a household first becomes a subsidised owner; while “exit affordability” means how affordable private housing is after a household has enjoyed subsidised homeownership for a period of time.

Design/methodology/approach

Using price-to-income ratios, this study compares the entry and exit affordability of shared equity homeownership programs in Australia, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Norway, the UK and the USA. Based on these international comparisons, this study generalises two distinct types of shared equity homeownership models, namely, the models of “share-to-buy” and “share forever”. A new model, “follow-as-you-go”, is further suggested to increase the elasticity of potential affordable housing supply by providing incentives for existing subsidised homeowners to move.

Findings

A key finding of this study is that while shared equity homeownership programs can improve entry affordability, homeowners’ exit affordability is weak when subsidised homeowners have to share their capital gain with the government. While many housing policy discussions around the world that support shared equity homeownership focus only on the improvement of entry affordability, these discussions usually ignore the importance of exit affordability. This study attempts to fill the void in the understanding of these two types of affordability.

Originality/value

Shared equity homeownership policy is not only about offering low-income households but also an affordable housing option. It is also about facilitating well-off subsidised homeowners to move up the housing ladder so that the affordable housing option can be freed up for others in need. In a word, it is not only entry affordability but also exit affordability that matters.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The corresponding author gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by the U.S. Government’s Fulbright Program (IIE Grant no: PS00213217) for sponsoring his visit at UCLA. In addition, this project was financially supported by the General Research Fund (Project Reference: HKU 17612017).

Citation

Cheung, K.S. and Wong, S.K. (2020), "Entry and exit affordability of shared equity homeownership: an international comparison", International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 737-752. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHMA-06-2019-0059

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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