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As a clinical researcher at Kings College in London, Sajini Kuruppu (25) is used to taking an analytical approach to making decisions but when it came to her first home, she followed her heart as much as her head.
She fell in love with Greenford in Ealing when visiting a friend’s apartment and decided then and there it was the perfect location to buy a property with partner Nisal Karunadhara (27), who recently popped the question while they were on a hot air balloon ride in Turkey.
Spotting that there were apartments for sale next door, the couple called into SO Resi Greenford’s shared ownership development and booked a viewing.
Sajini said: “We were bowled over by the quality of homes on offer, the views, and the local amenities. The fact that it was halfway between our family homes in Hounslow and Harrow was another bonus.”
The pair chose a three-bedroom apartment in the complex which is set alongside the Great Union Canal and has a fully equipped gym, with a supermarket due to open soon on the ground floor.
It is also just a five minute’ walk from Westway Cross Retail Park, which boasts a wide range of stores including M&S Simply Food, Next, TK Maxx, and Boots.
Sajini, who is working on research project into Alzheimer’s Disease at King’s College Brixton campus, said: “Both Nisal and I have really demanding jobs – he works as a fraud agent for a major bank, so it was important for us we didn’t spend all our free-time stuck in traffic just to pick up our groceries or do exercise.
“SO Resi Greenford has absolutely everything we need within minutes’ walk – we would never run out of milk or bread!” she joked.
The pair paid £213,000 for a 40% share in the property, putting down a deposit of £30,000, partly made up of generous gifts from their parents and money which they saved up for while living at home.
The large three-bedroom home would cost £540,000 to buy outright and offers a generous lay-out for the pair with a spacious balcony. Another attraction was the option of car parking spaces, which was vital for the pair who both drive to work.
Sajini said: “We didn’t want to compromise on location and move somewhere very far out and we would have had to wait for years and years to save enough to buy a property of this value if we hadn’t opted for the shared ownership route.”
Featuring an open plan kitchen, living and dining area, the stylish property has three bedrooms, with the principal bedroom having an en-suite, and a family bathroom. The pair plan to use the third bedroom as a study, as they both spend a lot of time working from home.
Nisal said: “It is the ideal place for hybrid working, we have huge windows which flood the property with light and if we want a break we can go for a walk along the canal.”
The active pair are looking forward to exploring the local area which has a wealth of green space like Paradise Field a short cycle away, a haven for wildlife and lush greenery and the perfect place to unwind after a busy week.
Picking up their keys for the first time was a magical moment for the couple. Sajini said: “I can’t believe we own this property; we have to pinch ourselves at times. We didn’t want to get into a rent trap and just throw away our money but like many researchers, I work on a contract basis so my income can vary from project to project and there can be gaps between them so it would have been difficult to get a mortgage to buy a property of this quality outright.
“The beauty of buying with SO Resi is we can increase our share of the property over time, and it is good to know we are investing in our future. A lot of our friends are surprised that we are able to afford this kind of apartment at such a young age!
“They keep saying they are going to move here too, as they love it so much.”
And as if all the local amenities in this leafy part of London weren’t enough, Sajini recently learned that a cinema is being built nearby. She said: “We are massive movie fans we can’t wait for it to open!”
Shared ownership allows the purchase of between 25 and 75 per cent of a property for a deposit from five to 10 per cent of that share, with rent paid on the remainder to the housing trust. The homebuying product has become increasingly popular in recent years as buyers look for a more accessible route onto the property ladder.
Kush Rawal, Director of Residential Development at SO Resi, comments: “It is very hard for young people who have grown up in the London area or are working there to afford to buy a home in the city with the average first time buyer deposit an eye-watering £115,750 in 2021 according to Halifax. That is the equivalent of saving almost £965 a month for 10 years, while still paying rent, food, and ever-increasing energy bills.
“This is a real barrier to economic growth as too many talented people are leaving the city for more affordable parts of the UK. At SO Resi we offer a real option for first time buyers to secure a home in the capital at an affordable amount, if buyers can afford to rent in an area they can nearly always afford to buy a shared ownership property there.”