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New research has revealed that 44% of first time buyers believe the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will help them get onto the property ladder sooner than expected, in part due to there being fewer opportunities to spend. Jenie Fuerte (34) is one aspirational buyer who decided to put lockdown to good use and managed to boost her savings. She purchased a 25% share worth £105,000 in a one-bedroom apartment at SO Resi Ealing, close to Ealing Broadway, earlier this year using shared ownership.
Jenie was living in a house share in Ealing previously and had always intended to become a homeowner, having opened a Help to Buy ISA in 2018 and adding to this each month. With numerous lockdowns and restrictions over the past 18 months preventing her from socialising and traveling as usual, Jenie managed to boost her savings significantly and was able to put down a 20% deposit on her new apartment earlier this year.
Jenie, who works in a central London hospital, comments: “I had been living in a house share for two years, and whilst it was fine temporarily, it became a nightmare from the first lockdown last year. It was hard not having my own space, and having to deal with a challenging landlord was very stressful. The pandemic gave me the push I needed to really focus on my savings and secure a place of my own where I could make my own rules and do as I please!
“For me, the most important thing is that I feel happy and comfortable in my home, and shared ownership has allowed me to do this. I now have the security of owning my own home and I don’t have the uncertainty that comes with renting. I would recommend shared ownership to young buyers like me who are on single incomes, as it offers a realistic route onto the property ladder.”
Jenie adds: “There is a lot of investment going into Ealing at the moment with new housing, retail and of course Crossrail, and you can really see the future potential of the area. It’s very much up and coming, and I’m looking forward to seeing the area develop further. I am confident that I have made a good investment by buying early on in Ealing’s regeneration.”
House prices in Ealing rose by more than eight percent in 2020, as buyers prioritise London suburbs in the wake of the pandemic. The arrival of Crossrail compounded with multi-million-pound investments from developers across the borough means that property prices are predicted to continue to grow.
Kush Rawal, Director of Residential Investment at Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, comments: “Ealing is currently undergoing huge investment, so it presents an exciting opportunity for first time buyers to get onto the property ladder and benefit from the area’s regeneration. By delivering genuinely affordable homes into the area, we ensure that buyers on all incomes alongside property owners from the existing community can reap the benefits.
“Shared ownership offers an achievable route to homeownership for young buyers, many of whom are on single incomes and would be otherwise unable to get onto the property ladder.”
Alongside the attractive costs and space available, Jenie was also drawn to SO Resi Ealing’s convenient location. “Location-wise the development is perfect as it’s within a short walk of both West Ealing and Ealing Broadway stations, which is handy for me to travel into central London for work or to catch up with friends,” says Jenie. “I also really like how close I am to so many shops and restaurants.”
Jenie adds: “The outdoor space at SO Resi Ealing was really appealing – the balconies are nice and big, and the rooftop garden is amazing. It’s one of my favourite places to go whenever I want to relax or watch the sunset. There are also plenty of green open parks within walking distance, such as Deans Gardens, Walpole Park and the famous Ealing Common.”