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The average deposit put down by first time buyers in the capital now sits at a staggering £132,685, according to research from Halifax. Leanne Williams (30) had started saving to get onto the property ladder but thought buying in London was out of reach – until she discovered shared ownership. Leanne purchased a 35% share in a one-bedroom apartment at SO Resi Clapham Park this year.
Prior to the first national lockdown, Leanne was living in a flat with a friend near to Clapham. But after her friend moved back in with parents to sit out the lockdown, Leanne was torn between going solo and renting a place alone, or opting for a house share. In her search for a rental, Leanne came across shared ownership by chance and decided to brave the house share for a few months to focus on saving a five per cent deposit. She put down £7,000 to purchase her new apartment this year.
Leanne, a Business Analyst, comments: “After my friend moved back home, I was torn between renting by myself or moving into a house share as I didn’t think I’d be able to buy anytime soon. I randomly came across SO Resi Clapham Park and was amazed when I found out I could actually afford to buy – so I went for the house share and saved as much as I could each month. £7,000 is a lot of money but it’s so much more achievable, and it motivated me to save more because I knew my target was within reach.
“I hadn’t really heard of shared ownership before, but I’m so pleased I went down this route. My monthly payments for mortgage, rent and service charge come to about £1300 – by comparison, when I was looking to rent a one-bedroom flat in Clapham, the costs I was looking at were around £1200 a month. Even my room in the house share cost £850 a month! I feel like it’s win-win because each month I’m paying for my own property and investing in my future, whereas before I was paying someone else’s mortgage.”
Although Leanne has only recently moved in, she has wasted no time in making a plan to staircase to 100% ownership. She has signed up to SO Resi Plus, which allows her to staircase in 1% increments each year at an agreed, fixed price. “I’ve set a target of reaching 50% ownership in two years, and 100% ownership in five years,” says
Leanne. “SO Resi Plus is an added bonus and means that even if my plan doesn’t quite work out, I am still moving forward and gradually increasing my ownership.”
Kush Rawal, Director of Residential Investment at Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, comments: “Shared ownership is an achievable route to homeownership, bridging the gap between renting and full ownership and offering first time buyers the opportunity to get onto the ladder with a low five per cent deposit. Across the country, the government-backed product is rising in popularity, with demand for shared ownership quadrupling over the past five years as buyers look for more achievable solutions to homeownership.”
SO Resi Clapham Park is part of a wider area regeneration that will see 2,500 new homes built alongside new facilities including green spaces, modern areas and a community hub. This, combined with its proximity to Clapham High Street, meant the development ticked all of Leanne’s boxes.
Leanne adds: “My apartment is on the fourth floor with views over the courtyard, then on the other side of the apartment I have a balcony – on one side I can watch the sunrise, then watch the sunset on the other! To have outdoor space to myself in Zone 2 is amazing, and I love sitting on my balcony for a coffee each morning.
“The development is in such a good location, as it’s close to one of my favourite spots Abbeville Road, where I can get a coffee or go for brunch. I’m also walking distance from Brixton Station so I can get the tube straight to Oxford Circus each morning for work.”