Oliver & Jessica's story

First time buyers get onto the property ladder thanks to Shared Ownership

With the removal of the higher loan to value mortgages recently, those looking to get onto the property ladder are finding alternative routes to homeownership.  One couple, Oliver Gregson (24) and his partner Jessica Burton (23), decided to use shared ownership to buy their first home, and purchased a 30% share in a two-bedroom apartment at SO Resi’s Alfold development in Surrey. The couple received the keys just last week.

Due to the removal of high loan to value mortgage products recently, the couple, who were living in a rented property in nearby Cranleigh, suddenly found themselves in a position where they needed to find an extra 5% deposit to enable them to purchase their home. 

Oliver, who owns a landscaping company, comments: “Our mortgage lender frustratingly increased our deposit requirement at the last minute, meaning that we had to find an extra five per cent on top of our existing 10% deposit. Luckily both of our parents were able to help out, but if they hadn’t been able to, we could very well have lost out on our first home – even though we have passed all of the checks, and can afford to live here.”

Oliver and Jessica, a paralegal, had been saving for a house deposit for around six months, and realised that they could afford to buy just before lockdown was enforced. With extra time on their hands, the couple were able to seriously start looking at shared ownership homes during the lockdown period, and went on a number of viewings once the property market re-opened. After finding a two-bedroom apartment at SO Resi Alfold with a spacious garden, the couple purchased a 30% share with a deposit of £15,000.

Oliver adds: “We were aware of shared ownership, and viewed it as a great way to get onto the property ladder thanks to the lower deposit requirement. Shared ownership was also appealing due to its flexibility – there are no set times for us to staircase, so we can purchase more shares when we are in a position to be able to. At the moment we are taking things as they come, but long term our plan is to staircase to 100% ownership.”

Kush Rawal, Director of Residential Development at Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, comments: “With the removal of the higher loan to value mortgage deals recently, first time buyers have been hit particularly hard, and are turning to more accessible routes to home ownership. Shared ownership is an attractive option to first time buyers as it can reduce some of the financial pressures associated with buying a home, thanks to the typically low deposit requirement.

“Buyers such as Oliver and Jessica were frustratingly caught up as the changes to mortgages were introduced, but we are pleased that they were able to still go ahead with their shared ownership purchase.”