Innovation in Homes 6: Transforming Tenure | Big Society Capital

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Innovation in Homes 6: Transforming Tenure

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For our “Innovation in Homes” series, Karen Ng, Investment Manager at Big Society Capital, interviewed Jack Weaver. Jack is part of the Transforming Tenure team at National Housing Federation’s Creating Our Future programme.

What challenges are you trying to address? Why is it important?

I’m too poor to buy…but not poor enough for help” – this was the first quote that got our team fired up and ready to change the world.

The challenge of ‘transforming tenure’ is one that affects millions in the UK. People are desperate to have a genuine stake in their home, but find themselves too poor to buy, yet not poor enough for help.

We have been set the daunting challenge of giving these people a chance to put down roots in a community, have the security of owning their own home, the freedom to decorate, renovate and one day pass their home on to their family.

What is the idea that you are working on? How does it relate to insights that you have gathered?

So far we’ve spent three intense months getting under the skin of this problem. The demographic we’re solving for is the aspiring working family. They’ve told us they’re fed up of paying someone else’s mortgage, owning a home is a pivotal life-stage and renting simply doesn’t suit them.

Our idea empowers aspiring working families to buy just 1% of a new home – removing the burden of saving for a massive deposit and giving instant owner rights.

They pay market rent plus a small additional percentage which gradually buys the remaining 99%, giving them full ownership after 35 years.

If it suits them, they can buy the remainder with a normal shared ownership mortgage once they have a large enough percentage, or buy additional ‘chunks’ as they go.

Who have you spoken to and what experiments have you run?

Some of the most valuable and insightful learning came from those that were simple and low-cost experiments. In one such experiment we needed to test that our idea would appeal to customers with no prior preference for a shared ownership product.

We created a Facebook ad to take people through to a mocked-up webpage. Here there was an option to select one of two new products. Of those that went through to the website, 100% went on to select our idea over the alternative.

This helped validate our hypothesis that when talking about security, people prefer ownership over a ‘lifetime tenancy’.

How can housing associations work together to implement your idea?

There is huge potential for housing associations joining together to deliver this. We believe the housing crisis is broader than just social housing and many housing associations agree.

As a team we envisage a trailblazing group of forward-thinking housing associations leveraging existing partnerships to run a pilot.

We call for housing associations to pilot our idea alongside their proven shared ownership and market sale offer. From there, our idea can be scaled across the country.

How can your idea change the world and improve the lives of people living in the UK?

We are providing a new option for people let down by current “low-cost” ownership schemes. They exist in a middle ground where there is no real solution and they are stuck with an archaic, binary housing choice.

By removing sky-high deposits and the requirement for a large mortgage, we can put home ownership within reach of hundreds of thousands more hard-working families.

This will genuinely change lives. These families can make their mark on their home, their children can build lasting friendships in a community and housing associations can play an even greater role in solving the housing crisis.

If you’re interested in speaking with the Transforming Tenure team, you can email them at: transformingtenure@gmail.com or follow their progress via #TransformingTenure on Twitter

Last updated | 
17 September 2018

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