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Of the 17 million renters in the UK, more than two-thirds have no plans to purchase a property in their lifetime – with affordability cited as the major hurdle*. For Richard Bulley, 50, and his wife Iris, 45, they felt the same way, until they discovered shared ownership and purchased a three-bedroom house at Hatchwood Mill in Wokingham by SO Resi.
Richard, who works as a laboratory technician, explains: “For the past eight years, we had been privately renting a two-bedroom apartment in Slough, Berkshire. With our children, Russell, 13, and Michelle, 9, growing up fast, my wife and I knew we needed somewhere with more space, but we couldn’t afford the extra rent to move into a larger home and we also couldn’t afford to buy on the open market. We felt stuck, but continued to save as much money as possible to raise a deposit with the dream that one day we could buy our first home.”
Last year, Richard was researching new homes for sale online and came across the shared ownership homes at Hatchwood Mill by SO Resi, where buyers could purchase as little as a 25 per cent share of a new three-bedroom house.
“I had no idea how the shared ownership scheme worked before. Purchasing just a share of a home – it made so much sense, so we reserved our new home soon after visiting the development.”
Their contemporary three-bedroom townhouse cost £470,000 and they bought a 25 per cent share for £117,500, with a deposit of £15,000 (more than the minimum ten per cent requirement), made up of financial contributions from their family. Their monthly mortgage repayment is £600 and a monthly payment of £800 is paid to SO Resi on the 75 per cent share they do not own. They also pay a monthly service charge of £30.
The sales process was very easy and swift. Richard explains: “We also signed up to SO Resi Plus, which means we purchase an additional one per cent of our home each year, at a pre-arranged price, for up to 15 years. It’s so we save on legal fees and if we’d like to purchase the final share in future, we can do this outright.”
Hatchwood Mill is within easy reach of Wokingham, Reading and Bracknell. Travel links are very good. The M4 is close by and Richard, who works at General Electric Healthcare in Amersham, can drive to work in less than an hour. Iris can also easily commute to nearby Winnersh, just a 30-minute drive away.
From Winnersh station, around a ten-minute walk away, it’s just nine minutes to Reading and 68 minutes to London Waterloo. When Crossrail opens at Reading in 2019, it will be possible to travel through central London without needing to change trains.
“Russell and Michelle are thriving in their new schools and love having their own bedrooms, and the extra bathrooms make getting ready in the mornings stress-free,” says Richard. “The extra space is brilliant – even the garage is nice and big so I often spend my weekends in there. It’s an area to call my own!”
He adds: “I thought shared ownership was a new way to purchase, I didn’t realise it had been around for many years. I’m so pleased it’s helped us purchase our new home, but I’d wish I’d known about the scheme sooner, so I’m telling all my friends and family about it!”