Common Ground — for Mutual Home Ownership

Community land trusts and shared-equity co-operatives to secure permanently affordable homes for key workers

The crisis in the affordability of housing has become a major factor in the recruitment and retention of staff for key public services and other areas of the local economy.

This report proposes creating a Community Land Trust to enable people to own homes on a mutual basis.

In the past four years, the cost of buying a house has nearly doubled in Britain. As a result, home ownership is out of reach in over half of the counties of England, even for two full-time household incomes. In 2003, average prices rose by about £30,000. This is far more than the salary of bus drivers, nurses or most teachers. Many key service providers cannot afford home ownership and have to live in insecure, expensive, substandard housing.

This report proposes a solution to the housing crisis through mutual home ownership. The aim is to provide a way of separating the cost of the land from the purchase price of the housing on it. This is achievable in practice by taking the land out of the marketplace through a Community Land Trust. This innovative American mechanism can make housing much more affordable and keep the cost of home ownership in a closer relationship with average earnings in perpetuity. Like other owner occupiers, mutual home owners will have the opportunity to invest in their home and the incentive to look after and improve it. At the same time, the land can be held in trust for the benefit of future generations and the community as a whole.



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