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the Ultimate Guide to... GETTING ON THE LADDER, THE PROPERTY MARKET AND HELP TO BUY February/ March 2017 £2.95 firsttimebuyermag.com

WIN!

A STELLAR JUICER, WORTH £200 BUYING WITH FRIENDS

“Location is very important and consider places that are on the up, where you get more for your money”

THE NORTH/ SOUTH DIVIDE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ROBERTA BLACKMAN-WOODS MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND HOUSING

Lucy Alexander TV presenter

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EDITOR’S LETTER

E D I T O R I A L – 020 7258 1777

Editor-in-Chief SARAH GARRETT sarahg@spmgroup.co.uk Editor LYNDA CLARK lynda@firsttimebuyermag.co.uk Senior Editorial Assistant DAWN HARKER

Creative Director RYAN BEAL

Sub Editor HELEN MATHIAS

Contributors DAVID BLAKE, RACHEL COLGAN, JOE GREEN, KAY HILL, LAURA DEAN-OSGOOD, ADELE NEWBY, ROGER SOUTHAM, GINETTA VEDRICKAS A D V E RT I S I N G – 020 7258 1777

Director of Advertising/Exhibition Sales LYNDA CLARK

lynda@firsttimebuyermag.co.uk Special Events EILIDH MACLEOD – First Time Buyer Home Show – First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards boom@squarepegmedia.com Accounts DAVID SELF david.self@ultimateguidecompany.com

Welcome The entries are in, the judges have drawn up the shortlist, and now it’s over to you to go online and VOTE in our First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards 2017. The competition is very hot this year, with some truly inspirational developments and homes for first time buyers, and we really do NEED YOR VOTES! So, please go to our brand new website, ftbawards.com, and choose your favourites. We are holding our next First Time Buyer Home Show on 25 March at Stratford Town Hall. This free-to-attend event is the perfect opportunity to come along and talk to the experts, see what homes are on offer and find out how you can get on the property ladder. There are also useful seminars running all day on key topics. Please do make a date in your diary and register at ftbhomeshow.com, or just turn up on the day – I look forward to seeing you there. This bumper issue is packed with lots of information to help guide you through the homebuying process; turn to page 24 for a look at the difference between living in the South compared to the North, which really is quite an eye-opener. I recently went along to the House of Commons to talk to Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, Shadow Local Government and Housing Minister, to find out what her thoughts were on first time buyers and the property market. Do go to page 36 as I think you will find the interview very interesting. Until next time, happy house hunting!

Managing Director SARAH GARRETT sarahg@spmgroup.co.uk Public Relations RACHEL COLGAN rachel@building-relations.co.uk SUBSCRIPTIONS 020 7258 1777 SWITCHBOARD 020 7258 1777 FAX: 020 7258 1787

firsttimebuyeronline EDITOR’S PICKS…

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE COMPANY LTD, 37 IVOR PLACE, LONDON NW1 6EA

All advertising copy for April/May 2017 must be received before 8 March 2017. Send all copy to: lynda@ firsttimebuyermag.co.uk The content of this publication, either in whole or in part, may not be reproduced, stored in a data retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without prior permission from the publishers. Opinions expressed in First Time Buyer magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers. © The Ultimate Guide Company Ltd 2008-2016. The Ultimate Guide Company Ltd t/a First Time Buyer magazine will take no responsibility for any loss/ claim resulting from a transaction with one of our advertisers/media partners.

@firsttimebuyer

When an area is highlighted as a regeneration hotspot, this creates a knock-on effect and other businesses begin to open up. Tony Harker, Spotlight on…, Page 130

We found that we had saved enough to buy our first home, even though it had to be on a budget. Kresse Wesling, At home with, Page 14

Housing associations provide some of our best products for first time buyers. Roberta BlackmanWoods MP, Labouring to help ftbs, Page 36

We are really excited about the prospect of a new home in such a hotly-tipped area.

If one of us wanted to go, we would look to let out the spare room to cover the mortgage. Lorna Hargreaves, Double your money, Page 32

Terri Lynch, House Hunter, Page 16

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CONTENTS

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 / ISSUE63 / FIRSTTIMEBUYERMAG.CO.UK

What’s in… 64

Affordable homes

66

Duncan Fraser didn’t really understand shared ownership, but once he had gone along to Thames Valley Housing’s new development in Earlsfield, he quickly learnt how it all worked. He has now bought a 30% share in a stylish apartment and can’t believe his luck!

HOMEPAGE

FEATURED

11 FTB Loves...

20 The View: Lucy Alexander

A round up of our favourite hot buys.

12 Living Add a touch of spring to your home, with the help of these bold, Caribbean-inspired accessories.

14 At home with… Kresse Wesling James ‘Elvis’ Henrit and Kresse Wesling are founders of ethical

12

11 fashion brand Elvis & Kresse. They bought an old decrepit Georgian watermill – which was a complete wreck – and have restored it to its former glory. Kresse talks to Lynda Clark about their inspiration, their first home and thriving business.

16 House hunter We try to find Terri and Sarah Lynch their dream home, within a 40-minute commute from central London.

18 Developer’s doctor Emily Gilchrist, Sales Manager at Taylor Wimpey East London, answers one of your property questions.

4

Having co-presented Homes Under the Hammer for the BBC for13 years, Lucy has recently made the break and joined Channel 4, where she will be presenting a brand new property show. She talks to Lynda Clark about how it all began, her fabulous new home and her busy working life.

24 The great price divide Property prices in the south are escalating, while those in the north are far more affordable. We look at current options for first time buyers looking to get on the ladder

30 Cost of the keys Kay Hill looks at the charges

that first time buyers face when they finally buy their home and explores ways to keep the costs down.

32 Double your money – buy a home with a friend Buying your first home and saving up for a deposit is hard work, leading to an increasing trend to team up and buy with friends. We explain how it works and what legal provision you should put in place before buying, if you choose to take this option.

36 Labouring to help first time buyers An exclusive interview with Roberta BlackmanWoods MP, Shadow Local Government and Housing Minister.

36

First Time Buyer February/March 2017

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CONTENTS LUCY ALEXANDER, PAGE 20

CONSIDER LOOKING AT UPAND-COMING AREAS, WHICH ARE HAVING MONEY PUMPED INTO THEM – BUT YOU SOMETIMES HAVE TO BE PATIENT AND SIT AND WAIT

20

Lucy Alexander HOMEMAKER

READERS’ AWARDS 2017

by letting agents were to be banned. But is this good news for ftbs? Ginetta Vedrickas looks at the situation and what 2017 will bring for renters and first timers.

Friday 21 April

114 Agony agent

buyer

All your property questions answered by our panel of experts.

117 Buyers’ guide 102 First home, first meal

69 First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards 2017 A chance to view the shortlist of all the different categories, plus details of how to cast your all-important vote.

101

Competition Win a Stellar slow juicer worth £200.

Head of Food Innovation at Revolution Bars Group, Mark Rush has created this healthy recipe for warm super-grain salad and pulled chicken.

REGULARS

34 Hotspot We look at Lewisham as a great place to live.

106 Credit clinic

Check out FTB’s Buyers’ Guide, which walks you through the property process.

122 Pathway to home ownership Adele Barker, Director of Conveyancing at Beaumont Legal, explains the legal process you will go through before you actually collect the keys to your first home.

124 Directory Where and how to contact your Help to Buy Agents, or providers.

The latest in our series in which Experian’s credit expert, Joe Green, answers your questions about all things to do with your credit.

108 Mortgage clinic David Blake of Which? Mortgage Advisors answers your mortgagerelated questions.

110 Finance With steep increases in house prices, many people are buying their first home much later in life. Kay Hill looks at steps you should take to ensure you are not still paying off your mortgage when you are about to retire.

112 Market The last Autumn statement brought the news that upfront tenant fees charged

130 Spotlight on… We talk to some of the key players in the property world to get their views and ideas of how to get on the ladder and, in this issue, we speak to Tony Harker, Sales and Marketing Director at East Thames.

First Time Buyer February/March 2017

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LETTERS

Mailbox BUILDINGS INSURANCE As a first time buyer, I’ve been told I need to buy buildings insurance when I move into my new home. As I have only ever rented I’ve only had contents insurance. What is buildings insurance, and how do I go about getting it? Victoria Perselli FTB: Buildings insurance covers the structural aspects of your home, so, in the case of floods, fire, or bad weather, it usually covers the full costs of the repairs. As you have only ever rented, you would not have been responsible for the buildings insurance, as that is the landlord’s responsibility. Most mortgage lenders require buildings insurance as part of the lenders agreement, so you do need to make sure you have the policy in place before you move into your new home. Comparison websites like moneysupermarket. com are a great place to compare policies and get you started.

WRITE TO US! Please send us your questions, comments and suggestions concerning property, or the articles in First Time Buyer magazine. First Time Buyer Letters, 37 Ivor Place, London NW1 6EA lynda@firsttimebuyermag.co.uk

HOW MUCH DEPOSIT I’ve been looking online at how much is required for a deposit and I know the amount can vary, but it seems to go from 5% of the property value upwards. How much do most people save and what do most lenders ask for? Robert Akers FTB: The size of your deposit is usually the most important criteria for getting a good mortgage deal. The UK national average¹ deposit is 17%. The minimum deposit required by lenders is 5%, but the more you put down, the better deal you will get. A higher deposit can lead

This issue’s star letter wins a set of Judge double walled highball glasses, which are designed to create the ultimate drinking experience. The thermally-insulted pocket design means hot drinks stay hotter for longer, whilst cold drinks can be as icy as you like, without the outer glass being covered in condensation. Part of a new eightpiece range, and made by artisan glass makers, each item is unique. The glasses are also dishwasher safe. Set of 2 highball tumblers, £12.50, Judge, judgecookware.co.uk 0117 940 0000

FINDING A SURVEYOR I have been looking at a few properties to buy for my first home, and I have found one I love. I know I need to get a surveyor and my estate agent has recommended one to me. Should I use the estate agent’s surveyor, or find my own? Safiyah Majlath FTB: Most surveyors are independent and act in their clients’ best interests. Estate agents may recommend people whom they have worked with previously. If you have any concerns, you can always look at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (rics.org/ uk/) which has 80,000 members, and check that the recommended surveyor is on the list.

to better loan-to-value percentages. The lower the percentages, the less risky you look to a lender and some of the best mortgages out there are available to those with an LTV of around 60%. This can mean lower mortgage repayments and better mortgage deals. Lenders want to see that you are financially capable of making the mortgage repayments, so a higher deposit can show them this. If you want to get more of an idea about mortgages in your area, speak to local estate agents about the average property price and use that to work out what you can afford in repayments each month. Go to which.co.uk/ money/mortgagecalculators, which is a great way to get some idea of what you can afford. 1 which.co.uk/ money/ money/mortgagesand-property/ mortgages/guides/ mortgages-and-deposits-thebasics/how-much-deposit-do-youneed-for-a-mortgage

MORTGAGE LOAN LENGTH I am saving up to buy my first home and I am very excited, however, as a first time buyer I have no experience of what I should be doing and I feel very unprepared. I know getting a mortgage will be a necessary long-term commitment, but how long does a mortgage last for? Rhianne Samuels FTB: Buying your first home is an exciting, but challenging time and it is important you are aware of all the costs and

commitments before you go ahead. Most mortgages offer a repayment period of around 25 years, but this does vary, lender to lender. You aren’t just paying off the value of your home, but also the interest on the loan you borrowed. Most early repayments are on the interest, but, over time, more will be repaid on the capital.

VISIT OUR WEBSITE For everything you need to know about buying for the first time, go to firsttimebuyermag.com

First Time Buyer February/March 2017

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FTB LOVES

s e v o l FTB

What’s hot in the shops? Always on the lookout for exciting and innovative new ideas and accessories that will help create the perfect space, here are our favourites this issue

Write your love story Cross has a collection of stylish pens to suit everybody, and with personalisation available, you can add a special touch to show someone you care. The Valentine’s collection includes sleek chrome details and pens with styluses, for those who love their gadgets. Adding anything from your anniversary date or ‘I love you’, to the coordinates of your first kiss, it’s easy to get a meaningful bespoke present. All the pens come with a lifetime guarantee, meaning this is a gift to last forever. Tech2 ballpoint pen with stylus, from £25; Beverly purple ballpoint pen, from £30; classic Century chrome ballpoint pen, from £40, Cross cross.com

Rankin for C omic Relief Teaming together with HomeSense and TKMaxx, renowned photographer Rankin has created this eye-catching, limited edition tea towel. Available online from 1 February and in stores from 13 February, at least £1.50 from each purchase will go directly to Comic Relief. The money raised will be used to help people living incredibly tough lives across the UK and Africa. Tea towel, £4.99, with at least £1.50 going to Comic Relief, HomeSense and TKMaxx homesense.com tkmaxx.com

Music to your ears

The Orbit portable speakers exclusive Italian design combines function and style. The sleek speaker uses 360o sound diffusion and the patented vacuum base turns any smooth surface into a powerful acoustic. The Vibe Tribe Orbit also holds an integrated mic and Bluetooth technology for hands free-calling. Great for business and personal use, it is compatible with iPod, iPad, iPhone, smartphones and any device that has Bluetooth or a 3.5” jack. Vibe-Tribe Orbit bluetooth speaker with hands-free, £89, Vibe Tribe vibe-tribe-shop.com Also available with free delivery from Amazon; just search Vibe Tribe Orbit speaker

Chop, Blitz, Blend Make quick work of chopping and dicing with Judge’s mini food processor. It packs the punch of a full-sized model, without taking up all of the kitchen space. The processor covers every home cook’s basic needs, from coarse chopping to blended purees, making it a very versatile tool. Comprised of four simple parts, it’s easy to use, so you can get cooking straight away. Judge mini food processor, £39.20, Judge judgecookware.co.uk

First Time Buyer February/March 2017

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Homepage LIVING

Tropical Paradise

Bright, bold, Caribbean colours, exotic fruit patterns, and laid-back botanicals bring warmth and excitement back into any home after the cold winter months

Cactus pot,, £16.99, HomeSense

Oven glove,, £15, Debenhams

set, from Palma duvet set cushion, £20, flamingo cushion £16; Dunmore pineapple table lamp, £39; ceramic box, £10, pineapple trinket box Lorraine at Home at JD Williams

Parrot cushion, £16.99, HomeSense

Cactus cushion, £19, M&Co

Pineapple chopping board, £3, George at ASDA

Set of 3 storage tins, £12; set of 2 chopping boards, £20; cactus trivet, £8; tray, £18; set of 3 tea towels, £14; mug, £6; coffee pot, £20, Debenhams

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C O N TA C T S » Debenhams debenhams.com » George at ASDA george.com » HomeSense homesense.com » House of Fraser houseoffraser.co.uk » M&Co mandco.com » Lorraine at Home at JD Williams jdwilliams.co.uk

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Homepage LIVING

Animal hooks, £15, M&Co

Bronze pineapple table lamp, £30; textured glass pineapple chopping board, £1.50; pineapple plate, £5; 12-piece embossed dinnerware set, £28; 16-piece gold cutlery set, £20; set of 3 tea towels, £4, George at ASDA

Geo side table, £79; geo tealight holder, £1.50; set of 2 copper pots, £4; cactus vase, £12, George at ASDA

Copper bed, £229; copper wire lamp, £30; set of 2 copper pots, £4; geo side table, £79; mark making rug, £20; leaf and bird double duvet set, £11; tortoise cushion, £6; insect cushion, £5; geo cushion, £7; mono vase, £15; cactus vase, £12; terrarium, £8, George at ASDA

Vista dinnerware, from £3, House of Fraser

Storage tins, £24, Debenhams

First Time Buyer February/March 2017

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Homepage LIVING

At home with:

Kresse Wesling

“THERE ARE ALSO MANY VIDEO EDITORIALS ON HOW TO DO A VARIETY OF DIY PROJECTS, SO IT IS WORTH DOING SOME RESEARCH”

James ‘Elvis’ Henrit and Kresse Wesling are founders of awardwinning ethical fashion brand Elvis & Kresse. In 2015, they bought a 180-year-old Georgian watermill, which was a complete wreck, but they were inspired; they knew they could save the building and use reclaimed materials to fit out the interior, which meant the building could reflect the core values behind their brand. They have now restored it back to its former glory and Kresse talks to Lynda Clark about how they tackled the project, their first home and their thriving business

FTB: Tell us about your first property experience KW: In 2007, our first and main priority was our business and we were both working very hard indeed. We were just not in a position to get a mortgage and we were living with friends, renting one of their bedrooms in Bournemouth. We even had a sewing machine – which we needed for the business – in our bedroom! We also rented a garage, which we turned into a workshop, and, although it was a little chaotic, we had a great time. In 2010, we had saved enough to buy our first home, even though it had to be on a budget, and we found a two bedroom apartment in a beautiful but very rundown old Victorian hotel. It had wonderful windows, but the ceilings had fallen down and there was no sewage system, no sink and no kitchen, so it was in a pretty awful state. The owner had lived there for 60 years and was a hoarder and, as it was close to the beach, we were told she actually used the public toilets there. It was 1100 sq. ft, so it was large, but it was still going for way less than the national average price. We worked so hard on it and, wherever possible, we used reclaimed materials that we either found, or discovered. It was a crazy time! We worked on the flat in the early morning, then went to our workshop, then came back in the evening and carried on until about 2am! When we finished, though, it was amazing and we thought we would never ever move. However, 18 months later, we came across a Victorian glassworks which was for sale and we decided that it could work very well for us as we could have the business and workshop downstairs and live upstairs. We were all ready to exchange contracts when we suddenly got a text message to say that the sellers were not emotionally ready to sell, which, as you can imagine, was a big shock! So we were homeless and we had nowhere to run the business from either.

14  First Time Buyer  February/March 2017

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Homepage LIVING

Tonge Mill

“OUR LIVES ARE A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER – WE HAVE NO COMMUTE, HAVE DUCKS FOR NEIGHBOURS AND CAN BE IN THE CENTRE OF LONDON WITHIN AN HOUR” FTB: What happened next? KW: We had to move in with a good friend and only intended on staying there for four weeks, but it turned into six months. Every night, we trawled through the internet to find a suitable property. We had to move the business into a series of temporary workshops and, as many of the machines we use weigh over a ton, it was very difficult. Finally, one day we were looking on the internet and came across the water mill in Kent. We were pretty much at our wits end, so we drove straight there as it sounded very interesting. Luckily, we loved it and immediately offered the asking price, even though we had never seen the inside! FTB: What was the watermill like when you eventually saw it? KW: It was amazing – it was built in 1837 and, as a well-built industrial building, luckily, it was structurally sound. Actually, Elvis went back to look inside. I couldn’t go, but I knew that, if he liked it, then I would too. We first saw it on the 2 February 2013 and got the keys in the June, so it was a quick turnaround. We then set about working on it, as it was a total wreck. The last person to have lived there stayed on the top floor of one section and the lower floors had been rented out, but in

large parts there was no electricity or heating and it was mouldy and damp. We started work with a fantastic local guy, a ‘jack of all trades’, and it was really amazing throughout. It was very hard work, but we stuck to our methods, rarely using anything new and instead focusing on recycled waste materials and pieces we sourced from Freecycle and Gumtree. We both cherish the environment and absolutely love the mill, so although it was very hard work, it was something we were both passionate about and we didn’t mind making sacrifices along the way. FTB: What is the watermill like now? KW: One half of the watermill is home to our ethical fashion brand, whilst the other half is our home where we live with Monty our dog. The mill is a celebration of what we do and

we love it! Our lives are a thousand times better – we have no commute, have ducks for neighbours and can be in the centre of London within an hour. We found a cave we have turned into a wine cellar and a trapdoor that opens on to the river – we plan to get kayaks down there soon! FTB: What plans do you have for the future? KW: We are still working on the mill – we have watched videos of how to do things like pointing, so we spend part of the weekend doing the pointing on the outer walls. We enjoy having friends and family come to stay and my father comes over from Canada frequently as he loves it too. We are also keen to continue growing the business and 50% of our profits go to charity, so we really want to grow those donations! FTB: What advice do you have for first time buyers? KW: Be brave and, if things don’t work out, be willing to start again. There are so many materials which can be reclaimed and you don’t have to buy new, so try and think differently about the interior of the home. There are also many video editorials on how to do a variety of DIY projects, so it is worth doing some research. Start off with a small project and see how you get on and then, as you gain more experience, you can take on more adventurous things. elvisandkresse.com

First Time Buyer February/March 2017

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Homepage FIRST RUNG

The

HOUSE HUNTER

What we found… THE LONDON BUZZ Oval Quarter, Oval, south London

FROM £176,000*

THE SOUTHERN BELLE Sovereign Place, Horley, Surrey

FROM £204,995

This month FTB goes on the hunt with Terri and Sarah Lynch who are after a one bedroom home within a 40-minute commute of central London

PROFILE

Name Terri Lynch, 28, Sarah Lynch, 34 Occupation Hairdresser, IT manager Maximum budget £285,000 Requirements A one bedroom home within a 40-minute commute of central London. Outdoor space and easy access to transport links and local amenities would be preferable.

What they wanted… This year, Sarah and I celebrate our 10year anniversary as well as our one-year wedding anniversary, so we see no better way of marking the occasion than finally getting our feet on the property ladder. At the moment, we’re renting a flat from a friend in Essex and commuting into central London together, which takes several hours every day. By the time we get home, we’re totally exhausted, so would love to find a home that’s closer to our workplaces – we think a 40-minute commute would be our limit. We’re open-minded about where we move to and will consider north, south, east, or west of the city, so long as we’re close to a train station and a town centre. We’ve been saving like mad – which is hard when you’re spending so much on commuting – and our budget is around £285,000. We currently have a garden and, though we appreciate that a garden is unlikely on our budget, we’d absolutely love a balcony, or shared gardens.”

16

Forming part of a visionary redevelopment of an area that’s set out over 17 acres of parkland, Oval Quarter is home to several hundred one, two and three bedroom apartments. Oval is a fantastic location: buzzing Brixton is just a short walk away, for a wide selection of restaurants, bars and shops, while transport into central London is made easy with a choice of tube, or mainline stations. Inside, the homes are beautifully finished, with bright, open-plan living/dining areas and a private balcony.

Leafy Horley lies 30 miles to the south of London and a 42-minute train ride away from central London. Sovereign Place, just five minutes’ walk from Horley rail station, is home to several one and two bedroom apartments and two bedroom terraced houses. All have been finished to a high standard, with open-plan living/ dining areas, fully integrated appliances and private balconies. Local amenities include a large supermarket just a few minutes away, as well as plenty of choices for a quick drink, or meal out.

nhillsales.com

bellway.co.uk *Based on a 40% share of the full market value of £440,000

What they thought… The fact that these lovely flats, in such a central location, are within our budget, is a real surprise to us. We honestly never expected that we would be looking at homes so close to central London. The apartments look really great; it’s a nice looking development and we’re really impressed with the amount of space that we’d get, including a private balcony. We have friends that rave about Brixton and how fantastic it is, so it’s really great that such a lively and popular area would be just a short walk away.”

This looks like a very pretty part of the world, with loads of options for outdoorsy things on the doorstep, which is what we have become accustomed to in Essex. The commute into town is reasonable and it’s well located for escaping to the south coast. We’re massive fans of Brighton and Hastings, which only take around 40 minutes to get to in the car from here, so that’s a big positive. The apartments themselves look really nice – we really like the landscaped gardens out front, which would be nice to overlook from the balcony.”

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Homepage FIRST RUNG

THE BEST VIEWS Horizons Tower, Poplar, east London

THE COUNTRY CONNECTION FROM £96,250*

Maida, Aldershot, Hampshire

FROM £TBC

First choice! TH E BE ST OF BO TH

FROM £288,995

Penhurst Square, Addiscombe, Surrey

Located in up-and-coming Poplar and close to many famous London landmarks, Horizons Tower offers a great opportunity to buy in London travel zone 2. The range of one, two and three bedroom apartments lie just a short walk from the River Thames as well as Canary Wharf on the Jubilee Line and Blackwall DLR station. Services into central London take around 15 minutes. The homes are bright and spacious, with floor-to-ceiling French doors opening to a private balcony with fantastic views over London.

Just a short walk from Aldershot’s town centre, home to many high street shops, cafes and bars, Maida is perfect for those looking for the best of both worlds. The one to five bedroom homes offer first time buyers and growing families alike the chance to enjoy both town and country life, and all just a 50-minute commute into London Waterloo. Inside, the homes have been created with modern living in mind, with smart, fitted kitchens, integrated appliances and well-proportioned living areas.

nhillsales.com

bellway.co.uk *Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £385,000

We are seriously impressed by these lovely homes. Having lived in Essex for a little while now, we have become fond of the East End, where we’ve spent a fair bit of time, so it’s really exciting to us that we would be able to live so close to such sights as Canary Wharf and, of course, the river. It is quite a high block, which might look out of place elsewhere – but, in this part of town, it fits in completely – the higher the better!”

This is a really interesting option. It’s just slightly further out than we’d hoped, but because we’re currently commuting well over one hour each way at the moment, 50 minutes doesn’t seem too bad. Though we haven’t been to Aldershot before, we’ve been to the neighbouring towns of Farnham and Camberley, and it’s a very pretty area, with plenty of countryside and country pubs within easy reach. There are also some great shopping facilities, which are great for Sarah, who loves anything to do with spending money!”

Surrey n town centre, with the On the outskirts of Croydo discombe Ad in es hom new se ay, the hills just a few miles aw uting mm Co . of city and country life offer residents the best with y, eas is n ydo nearby East Cro into central London from es hom The s. ute min 13 taking just trains to London Bridge as, built-in are g livin zed ll-si we s, hen feature quality fitted kitc y. Croydon ms and a private balcon wardrobes in the bedroo s, eateries, bar s, ilitie ic shopping fac town centre, with fantast ay. aw lk wa rt just a sho theatres and cinemas, is bellway.co.uk

THE NEXT STEP

“We are really excited about the prospect of a new home in such a hotly-tipped area, so have made all the initial enquiries, including getting our mortgage in principle. We’ve also been down to visit the area and have been really impressed with what we’ve seen. We have everything crossed that this could be our new home!”

We’ve heard a lot about Croydon during our house search and have learned that it’s not only really good for commuters, but that there’s also lots of regeneration planned. The fact that it’s being billed as such an upand-coming area is really exciting to us. We love the look of the apartments too; they are really classy, with lovely wooden floors – even in the bedrooms – as well as huge windows, to let in plenty of light. In terms of getting into work, it would be a complete doddle for both of us, and the commute would be short enough for us to be able to get home at a reasonable time every night and just enjoy the evening.”

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ADVICE

Developer’s Doctor Emily Gilchrist, Sales Manager at Taylor Wimpey East London, has worked in the housebuilding industry for more than a decade, having joined the company in 2005 on the graduate trainee programme, after completing a degree in architecture at University College, London. Here, Emily explains some of the many advantages of buying a newbuild home, particularly for those finding it difficult to take their first step on the property ladder

Question… I am a first time buyer and on a limited budget, so I will be buying a newbuild home. Can you tell me the advantages of buying something brand new?

Answer … Many of our developments offer the fantastic Help to Buy or Help to Buy London schemes, which reduce the need for buyers to save such a large deposit. With Help to Buy, purchasers can secure a government loan of up to 20% of their new home’s full price, so they only require a 75% loan-to-value mortgage and a deposit as low as 5%, while Help to Buy London works the same way, but enables purchasers to access a loan of up to 40% of the property’s value, with a 55% mortgage. This can then open up more opportunities for finding a preferable mortgage rate from lenders – which helps to reduce monthly repayments. Once buyers move into their new property, they will also benefit from reduced water and energy bills. This is because our new homes are built using contemporary materials and include modern features, such as efficient heating systems, wall and loft insulation, and double-glazed windows and doors, to name but a few – so not only can buyers save money, they can also improve their carbon footprint! Another big advantage of purchasing with us off-plan is that there is the opportunity to personalise your new home before you move in, by choosing from our latest range of optional extras – so all that’s left to do is bring your furniture. In addition to this, all Taylor Wimpey homes come with a two-year warranty and a 10-year structural warranty, which gives buyers additional peace of mind and also reduces the need to do any renovations,

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repairs, or DIY – so new homeowners can spend more time doing all the things they really enjoy! The homebuying process is also much easier with new properties. For example, when choosing a Taylor Wimpey home, our buyers are guided through the process by our experienced sales executives, who are on hand to offer advice and support to

Emily Gilchrist, Sales Manager at Taylor Wimpey East London

customers throughout. This is particularly beneficial for first time buyers, who are likely to be completely new to the whole homebuying experience. What’s more, when our buyers have chosen their perfect plot, they won’t have to worry about long property chains, which can be problematic – instead, they can concentrate purely on their own purchase.

ARENA PLACE Arena Place offers a unique selection of both sympathetically refurbished and striking newbuild homes in the heart of Colchester – a vibrant commuter town, with direct trains providing access to central London in just under an hour. There is currently a range of two and three bedroom refurbished homes and four bedroom newbuild properties available to reserve at the Arena Place development, priced from £225,000. Based on the site of the former Colchester Garrison, the brand new homes have been thoughtfully designed to complement their historic setting, while the refurbished homes have been carefully restored and maintain many original features. The next phase of one, two and three bedroom homes at Arena Place is due to launch at the beginning of February 2017. The development is located off Napier Road, Colchester, Essex, CO2 7GA. For more information, call the Sales Executive on 01206 581096, or visit taylorwimpey.co.uk

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THE VIEW

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THE VIEW

On top form!

Lucy Alexander is already a household name having copresented Homes Under the Hammer for BBC1 every morning for 13 years. However, things are about to change as Lucy has left the BBC and is soon to be on our screens presenting Best of Both Worlds with Lucy Alexander for Channel 4. A massive fan of property, Lucy and her family have just moved into their new home – which they built themselves – and she talks to Lynda Clark about her buying experiences, her TV career and offers her expert knowledge of buying for the first time Lucy is one of the most enthusiastic, bubbly people you are ever likely to meet. Her life hasn’t always been easy, but she is so positive and up-beat about everything. She is married to Stewart Castledine, a former premier league footballer, and has two children who they are very proud of; Leo, 11, and Kitty, 14, who, after a very rare illness, is now in a wheelchair, but, as Lucy says, “Nothing stops her, or gets in her way and she leads a very normal life and loves drama and acting. It has changed all our lives, but nothing is stopping us from being a happy family.” When Lucy was around 18 years old, she made a couple of TV commercials and when she was paid, her father, very sensibly, said that he would take the cheques, so that she didn’t spend it all on clothes and going out! Her parents were always interested in property and they advised her to put the money into buying a home. Even though she was very young, she decided to buy a two bedroom apartment in Clapham, south London, for £49,000 and her father acted as guarantor. She said, “At that point in my life I didn’t see it as an investment, but I just loved the idea of being independent. I had various friends come and stay which helped out with the mortgage and I ended up living there for eight years. I eventually sold it for about £150,000 which was a good profit.”

She then met her future husband, Stewart, who was also interested in property, and he sold his house and they bought a place together in Teddington, which they renovated and eventually sold. “It was really the start of the property bug for us both.” They have bought and sold many properties and do a great deal of the work needed on the houses themselves, while getting builders to do the bigger projects. Lucy certainly doesn’t hang around if she sees a property she likes. At one point she lived about 30 seconds up the road from a house she went on to buy, so she knew the place and location very well. “I knew it was in a terrible state but had masses of potential. I got to hear about it as it had been to auction and not sold. I did peer into all the windows, though, and it confirmed how awful it really was! It had been converted into five flats, which was also complicated; when we eventually bought it, we wanted to turn it back into one house, which involved planning issues and jumping through lots of hoops. We also had to wait until all the tenants left, before we could start work on it. It was a big risk, but definitely worth it as it became a wonderful family home.” However, Lucy and Stewart then found an even bigger project in the form of a wonderful plot that had a 1930s house on it. She said, “We decided to sell the manor house and move just one more

"I HAVE TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX AND TRY TO FIND A HOME WHICH COMBINES BOTH THE JOYS OF TOWN AND COUNTRY" First Time Buyer  February/March 2017  21

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THE VIEW time. The plot was just around the corner from where we lived and so we knew the locality very well. We decided to knock the original house down and we only kept four of the walls – we completely changed the look and feel of the new house that we built. It is gorgeous; a Georgian-style, double-fronted house with a slate roof, sash windows and a huge front door. We painted it in a soft grey colour, with white windows, and it’s very pretty. It was a mega-project and, of course, it took much longer than expected and cost so much more than we budgeted for, but it’s the perfect home for the family and we all love it here. Because Kitty is in a wheelchair, we wanted to make it practical for her, too, and we asked her to help out with the design, so everywhere in the house is accessible to her. She has a lovely wheel-in shower room and wardrobe in her bedroom, plus a huge patio door so she can get outside. We have a beautiful garden and have made a lot of it hard ground, so she can wheel herself around and enjoy being with her friends, for things like barbecues when the weather is good. We also have a gorgeous Cavapoo dog – called Teddy as he

looks just like a teddy bear – and we all adore him.” Lucy’s career has always gone from strength to strength. “I absolutely adored Homes under the Hammer but, after 13 years, I felt like I should dip my toe in the water and see what else was out there. I was approached by Carpetright to become their ambassador for all their brand new stores and new marketing campaign. I knew that if I took it on, then I wouldn’t be able to work for the BBC anymore but it was the push I needed, so I agreed. Within a very short space of time, she was also approached by Channel 4 and offered a number of different shows. Two have not been announced yet, but in the spring, she will be presenting Best of Both Worlds with Lucy Alexander. “It’s a great show in which, basically, I find a property for couples where one wants to live in the town and the other in the countryside. I have to think outside

the box and try to find a home which combines both the joys of town and country. We look at three homes and, so far, everyone featured has been ‘blown away’. They always tell me that they would never have thought of looking at the places I show them and many of them have ended up buying one of the homes. It’s very hard work and I have to drive all over the country and do lots of research beforehand, then, if they want to make an offer, it is up to me to seal the deal – if the offer is accepted, it’s job done!” Lucy is also involved in another couple of prime-time shows which have yet to be announced, so she is very busy, but she loves her new life with Channel 4. “Property is my passion and Stewart and I are currently building four townhouses in Maidstone. We bought the plot at auction as an investment and Stewart is project manager, and they should be completed later this year. I have thoroughly enjoyed building our gorgeous new home and we only moved in two weeks before Christmas, which was quite stressful. I’ve had to make some big decisions, but if you don’t do anything a bit out of the ordinary in life, you will always regret it. Go for gold and, even if it’s a rocky ride, it will be a stepping stone to lead on to bigger and better things. I loved the manor house we lived in, but the house we have now is on a different level and I see this as our forever home. We have all put in a lot of work, but it’s been really worth it.” Lucy has some very good advice for first time buyers and says, “If your mum and dad, or even a group of friends, can pool their money together, it is the best thing you can do and it will help to get you on the first rung of the ladder. Buy if you can and then the home is yours. There are a big percentage of parents who are helping out their children, in one way or another, and the bank of mum and dad is becoming more and more popular. I think location is very important, but there are some amazing places which may not be quite where you had thought of that are really on the up. You will get more for your money and, even if

"IF YOUR MUM AND DAD, OR EVEN A GROUP OF FRIENDS, CAN POOL THEIR MONEY TOGETHER, IT IS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO AND IT WILL HELP TO GET YOU ON THE FIRST RUNG OF THE LADDER" 22

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THE VIEW

"I THINK LOCATION IS VERY IMPORTANT BUT THERE ARE SOME AMAZING PLACES WHICH MAY NOT BE QUITE WHERE YOU HAD THOUGHT OF THAT ARE REALLY ON THE UP" it’s not trendy, or doesn't have a cafe culture, these will come. My advice is to buy the worst house on the best street as, from my experience, a good location means that property prices hold their own. Also, consider transport links and schools, which are both very important. Look at upand-coming areas – places like Ebbsfleet and Bexleyheath, for example, which are having money pumped into them – but you sometimes have to be patient and sit and wait. It is vital to secure funds and sensible to make sure you have a mortgage offer in place before you start. If you haven’t got a mortgage offer, then it is pretty pointless to start house-hunting as you could end up very disappointed. View as many properties as you can and make friends with the estate agent and regularly call them, so you don’t miss out on anything new coming to the market. You should also add value to your home once you have bought it – even if it’s a newbuild, you can change the door, or knock through the garage and create a carport – it will then have your own personality stamped on it and will certainly add value and space. Lucy is very keen on buying at auction and said, “If you buy at auction, it will mostly be a wreck, but you could make a lot of money. It is hard for first timers who are not cash rich, but if you can take the plunge and are young and have lots of energy, then an auction property is the way to go.” Although Lucy currently has a very busy schedule, she happily manages to juggle home and work, so that everyone is very happy. “I just love what I do and we couldn’t be happier in our beautiful new house. Life is full of fun and our house is always filled with laughter, so I really have the best of all worlds.”

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NORTH VS SOUTH

The Great Price

As property prices in the South continue to race ahead of those in the more affordable North, what options are there for first time buyers looking to get a foot on the first rung of the ladder? Differences between the north and south of the UK have long been debated, be it schools, salaries and even levels of friendliness, but no topic has filled newspaper columns quite like the stark difference in property prices. The South, and especially the South East, for a long time has had the highest and fastest growing prices – bad news for first time buyers in this area – while the North has been left to play catch-up. Recent research has revealed a clear £200,000 boundary between north and south, with the average home in the North costing under £200,000 (with the exception of a few areas), and rising to well over this figure in the South – peaking at almost £500,000 in London.

THE DIVIDING LINE The research by online estate agents eMoov used the latest data from the Land Registry to help paint a picture of where the dividing line in prices occurs. eMoov reports that the divide begins by Bristol and runs up the border with Wales through Herefordshire and Shropshire, before cutting back down through Worcestershire, below the West Midlands by Leicestershire and Rutland, to Norfolk and the east coast. As well as price differences, the research also found that levels of appreciation are elevated in the South, too, with prices increasing by 9% in the South last year, compared to just 4% in the North.

GETTING PRICED IN Of course, for first time buyers anywhere in the country, rising prices are not seen as a positive thing, but in the South, with average house prices close to £300,000 in many areas and at £487,649 in London, many first time buyers feel they have been completely priced out of buying their first home. There are still some great options for first time buyers in this situation, with several government-backed schemes, such as shared

ownership and Help to Buy, aimed at helping them stay in the area that they live, but otherwise may not be able to afford. However, many home buyers are considering another option altogether – growing numbers are moving out of London and the South East, and heading north in pursuit of affordable homes. eMoov’s founder, Russell Quirk, has noted that “the research highlights the additional hurdles facing those south of the line and, in this instance, why heading north is fast becoming a much more attractive proposition.”

HEADING NORTH Moving away from the expensive South East is certainly an attractive option for Vicky Matthews, who currently lives with her young daughter in a one bedroom flat in Lewisham, London. “My daughter turns two this year and we urgently need more space,” says Vicky, who has lived in Lewisham for nearly 10 years, but can’t afford to rent or buy a bigger home in, or close to the area. “I’ve tried to find a suitable home, but have finally made a decision to move to Manchester, where I have friends, and can live in a three bedroom property close to the city centre for the same price as a one bedroom property in London.” Vicky has had an offer accepted on a property and hopes to move in the next few months. Vicky is not alone in her decision to move out of the country’s most expensive corner. In 2015, estate agents Hamptons reported that over 60,000 households moved away from the capital. Cities like Birmingham and Manchester hold great appeal for young buyers, with the latter recently declared by Lonely Planet magazine as the UK’s most interesting city – chosen for, among other things, its ‘cultural offering’, and arts and entertainment scene. So, whether you’re a first time buyer who thought it was impossible to buy a home in the capital, simply have a lower budget, or are looking for a new start entirely, there are plenty of options available to make the house buying dream a reality.

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NORTH VS SOUTH

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NORTH VS SOUTH S H A R E D OW N E R S H I P

CA S E S T U DY

With shared ownership, buyers purchase a portion of their home from a housing association (usually between 25-75%), depending on what they can afford. They then pay rent on the remainder. The portion that is bought is treated like a regular sale – buyers will put a deposit down on this and take out a mortgage on the share that they own. For example, you might buy 65% of a £300,000 property for £195,000. After one year, shared owners are eligible to buy more shares of their property, purchasing either the entire remaining portion, or buying smaller chunks over several years, a process known as staircasing.

HELP TO BUY

With Help to Buy, the Government lends buyers up to 20% of the cost of a newly-built home (known as an equity loan), meaning buyers only need a 5% deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest. For example, when buying a property worth £200,000, you would need a deposit of £10,000, a mortgage of £150,000, and a Help to Buy loan of £40,000. Buyers using Help to Buy are not charged loan fees on the 20% loan for the first five years of owning their home. To reflect the property prices in the capital, last year, the Government increased the upper limit of the equity loan in London from 20% to 40% and now operates under a separate scheme – Help to Buy London.

This family of three moved from a two bedroom rented apartment to a three bedroom house in Horley, Surrey, using shared ownership, and haven’t looked back. Average house prices in Surrey have reached almost £450,000, but after attending an open day at the Foresta development, Danielle Angel, 28, and Daniel Stewart, 30, bought a 45% share of their property for £173,250 from Thames Valley Housing. Talking about the afforability, Danielle says, “Our monthly mortgage payments are £595 and the subsidised rent we pay on the share we don’t own, is £485, totalling £1,080. It’s the same amount we were paying previously in our rented apartment, except it was just paying our landlord’s mortgage off – not ours!” The family are also thrilled with the space, especially two-year-old Finley: “We had a communal garden before, so Finley absolutely loves our new, spacious back garden – we can’t seem to keep him out of it!”

CA S E S T U DY

Victoria Hough, 26, bought her first home in Crewe last year, having learned about shared ownership and a new development by Snugg Living at a local Help to Buy show. Having saved for a few years, Victoria viewed a show home and was able to put a deposit down to buy 50% of the home for £82,500 straight away. The process went very smoothly and she says, “Snugg Living were great, they were really nice to deal with and explained everything to me, so I was able to make an informed decision. The whole process was really straightforward and they walked me through everything, which was great.” She continues, “It would not have been possible without shared ownership and I definitely wouldn’t be sitting in my own place now without it. It’s just impossible these days to buy outright, so shared ownership is a good option, and one I’ve been recommending to lots of people!”

"IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT SHARED OWNERSHIP AND I DEFINITELY WOULDN’T BE SITTING IN MY OWN PLACE NOW WITHOUT IT" 26  First Time Buyer  February/March 2017

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NORTH VS SOUTH

PROPERTIES AVAILABLE IN THE NORTH

BISPHAM, BLACKPOOL Bishop’s Fold

SANDBACH, CHESHIRE

FROM £45,000*

Cloverfield

The picturesque village of Smallwood lies just four miles from Congleton and has rapid connections to the cities of Manchester and Birmingham. This small collection of two bedroom, semi-detached homes, set out over two floors, is perfect for first time buyers looking for more space. The homes feature a spacious lounge, downstairs w/c and modern kitchen, with integrated appliances, and are arranged around a quiet cul-de-sac. Each home also benefits from private front and rear gardens as well as two parking spaces.

FROM £50,750*

Just a mile and a half – and a tram ride – away from Blackpool, these new two and three bedroom homes offer buyers a chance to live just outside of a thriving and world-famous town. The homes on offer are bright and spacious, with downstairs w/c and utility room, separate lounge and kitchen and well-proportioned bedrooms upstairs. Quality fixtures and fittings have been used throughout and fitted kitchens include integrated appliances. Blackpool’s famous beaches are just a 15-minute walk, while Preston, Manchester and Liverpool are easily accessed by car and rail. plumlife.co.uk *Based on a 35% share of the full market value of £145,000

snuggliving.co.uk *Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £180,000

LEVENSHULME, MANCHESTER Poet’s Place

FROM £48,875*

WALTON, LIVERPOOL Clock Tower Drive

FROM £31,250*

These contemporary two and three bedroom homes sit just four miles from the thriving centre of Manchester, but also have a buzzing atmosphere right on the doorstep, in bohemian Levenshulme. The homes are beautifully finished, with tiled bathrooms, integrated appliances and spacious living areas, which open to a turfed rear garden. Each home also has private parking. Trains into Manchester take just 15 minutes, while there are plenty of amenities, shops, markets, bars and restaurants to be enjoyed in Levenshulme itself.

Created on the site of the former Walton Hospital, this exciting new development will consist of 101 new homes, with 37 two and three bedroom houses available through shared ownership. The homes are contemporary and bright, with quality fixtures and fittings throughout, and crisp, clean design features. Located just three miles from Liverpool’s everbustling city centre, waterfront and Albert Docks, the homes are superbly located for enjoying city life. Intercity transport links from Liverpool are excellent, while nearby Walton station will serve residents’ local travel needs.

plumlife.co.uk

riversidehomeownership.org.uk/clocktowerdrive *Based on a 35% share of the full market value of £142,500

*Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £125,000

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NORTH VS SOUTH

PROPERTIES AVAILABLE IN THE SOUTH

FROM £344,995

CHELMSFORD

EAST LONDON

FROM £111,062*

Jessops Building at New Providence Wharf

Channels

Located on the outskirts of Chelmsford, Channels offers a range of two, three, four and five bedroom homes, which are available with Help to Buy. Aqua Verde is located in Channels and offers two bedroom, openplan homes, with characterful architecture, including vaulted roofs and fullheight windows. There are many green spaces scattered throughout the development and it is surrounded by the pretty Essex countryside, including Newland Grove Nature Reserve. Nearby Chelmsford city centre offers great shopping, a regular market, restaurants, bars and two theatres. Chelmsford railway station is just 10 minutes’ drive away. From there, regular services run into Stratford and reach London Liverpool Street in about 35 minutes. bellway.co.uk

This landmark development close to Canary Wharf has been extremely popular with first time buyers looking to get on the ladder close to central London. The two bedroom apartments available are finished to a high spec, with a neutral, contemporary design palette and a range of appliances included. The River Thames, and all the sights it has to offer, is just a few moments away, along with superb transport links from Blackwall DLR and Canary Wharf tube stations. Travel into central London takes around 15 minutes. genesishahomes.org.uk *Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £444.250

STRATFORD

Stratford Broadway

WOKINGHAM, BERKSHIRE

FROM £279,995

Montague Park

Award-winning Montague Park by Barratt Homes offers a range of smart two bedroom apartments and attractive four bedroom family homes. The range of two bedroom apartments which start from £279,995 are available with Help to Buy, meaning that only a 5% deposit is required. Montague Park is ideally located with easy access to the M4 and is also within close proximity to the beautiful nearby Berkshire countryside. Ideal for commuters it takes just over an hour by train to London Waterloo.

Stratford Broadway is an exciting development in the heart of Stratford, offering a collection of 35 shared ownership one and two bedroom apartments. Each property will benefit from a spacious balcony and floor-toceiling windows.  A sophisticated, doubleheight, glazed concierge and FROM a reception area will link the £112,500* development to the Stratosphere Tower, where residents will have access to its rooftop terrace. Residents will also have access to a private gym. For shopping and leisure pursuits, Westfield Stratford City features over 250 shops, plenty of bars and restaurants, a cinema and bowling right on your doorstep. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is also nearby featuring purpose-built cycle paths, parkland and expansive open spaces. Stratford Broadway is located opposite Stratford bus and train station and Stratford International is a short walk away. From these stations, fast services link to the West End, City and Canary Wharf, and via London Underground, Overground, DLR, TFL Rail, Abellio Greater Anglia Rail and a variety of bus services. Prices for a one bedroom apartment at Stratford Broadway start from £112,500 for a 30% share. east-thames.co.uk

barratthomes.co.uk *Based on a 30% share with a full market value of £375,000

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COSTS OF MOVING

Cost of the

S Y E K

subsidence or damp, you have only yourself to blame. A HomeBuyer’s Report costs from £400-£700, while a full Building Survey that includes looking in the loft and taking up floorboards costs £600-£900 Doing it cheaper: If you are buying a brand new home that is covered by a 10year NHBC warranty, then you might feel comfortable with just a basic Condition Report (around £250), or a Snagging survey (from £300). You could also see if your lender will let you upgrade its valuation into a proper survey at a lower cost than employing your own surveyor.

STAMP DUTY

Saving for a deposit isn’t the only cost involved in getting your door keys. Kay Hill looks at all the charges that first time buyers face and finds some ways to keep costs down A report from Lloyds Bank shows that the cost of moving house has soared over the past year, with average Stamp Duty rising by 18% to £2,504 and average conveyancing fees rising by 8% to £1,251. Worst hit are those moving in London, where costs have increased by 18% within a year, mainly due to house price rises pushing up the cost of Stamp Duty. In London, it now costs an average of £31,416 to move house, (although first time buyers can heave a sigh of relief that this figure does include £11,000 in estate agency fees for selling a previous home). In comparison, moving house in Yorkshire, the North East, Scotland, the North West and Wales costs well under £8,000. It’s easy to focus just on the need to save up for a deposit and secure a mortgage, without giving much thought to the costs involved in the whole house buying process, so we’ve put together a summary of all the costs, along with some tips for making your money go further.

MORTGAGE FEES Many mortgages feature costs called arrangement, administration, product or application fees, which can run into hundreds, or even thousands of pounds. Always check that these fees don’t make a low-interest rate mortgage expensive overall – sometimes a fee-free deal with a higher interest rate works out cheaper. There may also be non-refundable booking

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fees of several hundred pounds, which you will have to pay, even if your purchase falls through. You usually have the option of paying these fees up front, or adding them to the mortgage. You will also have to pay an electronic transfer fee of around £50 to transfer the mortgage money from the lender to the solicitor. Doing it cheaper: Adding fees to your mortgage means you probably won’t pay anything if your deal falls through. But to avoid paying interest on them, pay them off straightaway by overpaying your mortgage to that amount (as long as there are no early repayment charges).

VALUATION FEE This is payable to your lender and is usually around £300-£400. Annoyingly, you have to pay it regardless of whether or not you are commissioning your own survey. The valuation only proves to your lender that their loan is safe, it doesn’t tell you anything useful about the condition of your property. Doing it cheaper: Some lenders will give you a free valuation, but otherwise you’re stuck with it. You might be able to upgrade it to a full survey, see below.

SURVEY FEE It isn’t compulsory to have a survey, but if you don’t commission one and find out after your purchase that your home has something seriously wrong with it, such as

This is a government tax, payable when you buy a property worth more than £125,000 (£145,000 in Scotland). You pay 2% of the cost of the property from the lower threshold up to £250,000 and 5% on the cost from £250,000 to £925,000 (up to £325,000 in Scotland). If you are buying a shared ownership property, you can either pay Stamp Duty on the full value initially, or you can pay it on your portion, plus a portion based on the annual rental value. If you choose the second option you will have to pay another round of Stamp Duty if you staircase the amount of your ownership past 80% of the whole property. You can choose which is most beneficial to you, but the rules are complex so take professional advice! If one buyer has an existing interest in another property, perhaps a share of an inherited home, the purchase will be subject to an additional 3% Stamp Duty. Doing it cheaper: Stamp Duty is not payable on moveable items that are sold along with the home; but these must be itemised, declared to HM Revenue & Customs and will be subject to scrutiny to make sure tax is not being avoided by overestimating their worth. If you are buying carpets, curtains, freestanding furniture and kitchen white goods (but not Aga-type stoves or fitted kitchen units) along with the home, you can legitimately not pay Stamp Duty on their value.

CONVEYANCING Conveyancing is the process of transferring the legal title of property from one person to another. If you use a local solicitor, or licenced conveyancer, legal fees are in the region of £850 for freehold, rising to £1,100 for leasehold, which needs more paperwork. You will also need to pay your conveyancer search fees to cover checking with the local authority for any restrictions on the property use, checking the Land Registry entry, plus looking for flood risks, public drains, environmental hazards, chancel

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COSTS OF MOVING R E M OV E S O M E R E M OVA L C O S T S

One of the areas in which it is easiest to trim your bill is removal costs, advises David Green of Removal Reviews (removalreviews.co.uk). He notes that average removal prices (without packing) range from £450 for a one bedroom flat up to £900 for a three bedroom home. Include professional packing and you’re looking at £650-£1,200. “Good removal companies will want to visit your home in person to make sure their estimate is accurate,” he says. “Don’t agree on rough estimates given over the phone, or via e-mail, for they could never factor in all the details and specific conditions. Until an expert estimator visits your property and sees all the items you have for moving, you are running the risk of getting a final bill that has little to do with what the removal firm first quoted you.” Factors that affect removal costs are many – large or fragile items like pianos, hot tubs or artwork demand extra attention; steep staircases, tight doorways and narrow corridors slow things down; the distance to your new home and the time it will take to get there must be factored in; and, of course, there’s your possessions. “It’s very simple,” Green says. “More items to move equals more weight and higher volume, which means a larger moving van and more crew members to get the job done. The solution is elementary: reduce drastically the number of items you’re moving.”

DOING IT CHEAPER Move midweek. Supply and demand means that summer weekends, Bank Holidays and the last and first days of the month are the busiest. Midweek in the winter could be a big money-saver. Do it yourself. If you are moving a short distance out of student digs, a rented room, or mum and dad’s house, you might be able to just load up the car a few times. Be aware, however, that your possessions are unlikely to be insured, unless you are using a professional removal company. “During a move, it’s not uncommon for heavy items of furniture, or fragile objects, to be damaged, so a DIY move could prove costly if your belongings aren’t insured,” warns Ben Wilson at Gocompare.com. The same is true if you hire a van or trailer to move yourselves (plus, do check that your driving licence covers you for larger commercial vehicles). Man with a van. Generally, much cheaper than a professional removal company, but check if the driver is insured for damage to your possessions. Have a clear out. If you don’t need it or love it, consider donating it to a charity shop, or having a boot sale, rather than spending time packing it and paying to move it. Pack it yourself. You can shave hundreds of pounds off the bill by packing yourself, especially if you collect free cardboard boxes and bubble wrap in the run-up to the move (try Freecycle, local Facebook groups, appliance shops, supermarkets etc). Start early and label meticulously!

repair responsibilities and other worries. This could mount up to around £300, more if specialist searches such as mining work are required. Then there’s the Land Registry Fee paid to your conveyancer for registering your ownership, ranging from £150 for a house worth £80,001-£100,000 up to £450 for a home worth more than £250,000. Doing it cheaper: It is perfectly legal to do your own conveyancing but you will still have to pay for a legally qualified person to do the mortgage company’s part of the paperwork, and the local authority’s fees for searches. It is a complex, time-consuming business, so not to be undertaken lightly. Shopping around will save money and, while they lack the personal touch, online

solicitors offer fixed rate conveyancing packages for as little as £200.

REMOVAL COSTS

See box above.

CONNECTION OF SERVICES Your electricity and gas should already be working, but you will automatically be put on the existing supplier’s expensive standard tariff. If your newly purchased home requires a phone line, you will have to pay up to £130 to get your telephone and broadband connected. Doing it cheaper: Remember to take all meter readings on the day you move in and

Regan McMillan, Director of Wandsworthbased removal firm Kiwi Movers, recommends movers focus on organisation in order to keep on top of costs. “It’s tempting to eschew the pre-move survey in a bid to save time. But if your removal crew turn up and find that they can’t park anywhere close to your property – a common problem in London – or that they need to remove a bannister to get large items out, you could end up facing extra costs, or, in a worst case scenario, having to reschedule the removal. We always recommend movers arm themselves with as much information as possible before the move. Hiring a firm that offer a by-the-hour service can be a money-saver, provided that you are well organised and have ruled out any timing challenges, such as parking or narrow stairs. If you can get parking permits, or reserve parking outside your property, this will save a lot of time and, if you need to vacate the property by a certain time, make sure you tell the removal company. The CHAPS banking system changed in 2016 and, as a result, large payments can take longer to go through, meaning you could be waiting as late as 6pm for the agent to receive the money and release the keys. Obviously, if you’re waiting around with a removal crew on the clock, your costs could get out of control quite quickly. kiwimovers.co.uk

try to move to a cheaper energy tariff as soon as possible.

POST REDIRECTION You don’t want fraudsters getting hold of your post, so always set up a redirection from Royal Mail. This will cost £59.99 per surname for up to a year, £41.99 for six months, or £31.99 for three months.

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JOINT PURCHASE

DOUBLE YOUR MONEY BUY A HOME WITH A FRIEND The good news is that more first time buyers got on to the property ladder in 2016 than in any year since 2007, according to figures from the Halifax. However, they also report that ftbs need to raise over £32,000, on average, for a deposit and that is where the problems arise The latest figures from Halifax show that there were 335,750 first time buyers in 2016, but that those buying their first home would have to raise over £200,000 across the UK and £400,000 in London to get on the ladder, and deposit sizes have more than doubled in the last 10 years. So what is the solution? One way is to team up and buy with friends; that way, first time buyers can double their purchasing power.

HOW TO BUY WITH A FRIEND There are joint tenancies, which are usually married couples and people in civil partnerships. There is also a tenancy in common, which is favoured by groups of friends, or relatives who are buying together. What does joint tenancy mean?  If one of the joint tenants dies, the property immediately passes to the other owner. This means individual owners can’t pass what they consider ‘their share’ of the property to a beneficiary in their will. Unless the co-owners are married, or in a civil partnership, inheritance tax may still be payable.  Joint tenants must act as one in the eyes of the law. So, individual tenants would not have the option of only mortgaging their share of the property, for example. All of the tenants would have to take out a joint mortgage

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What does tenancy in common mean?  Up to four people can be tenants in common for an individual property and tenants in common don’t have to own equal shares of the property.  They can each act individually, which means they can leave it to a beneficiary in their will. While, in theory, they have the option of mortgaging their share of the property, in reality, finding a lender willing to lend in these circumstances would be difficult, because the lender wouldn’t be able to enforce a sale if the mortgager defaulted It is absolutely vital, whether you are buying with a friend or family member, to get the appropriate agreements set up well in advance. This means having very frank discussions about how you plan to live together, how you plan to fund the buying of the home and what happens if one of you wants to sell and move on in the future. It is essential that you draw up a declaration of trust, or a co-habitation agreement, between all the parties concerned, which a solicitor will draw up. It is very important that you trust each other and are open and honest about any areas that might cause conflict, and you are 100% happy with the co-habitation agreement.

The advantages of co-buying It reduces the individual financial burden for both the deposit and mortgage payments.  You share costs like legal fees, stamp duty and survey costs.  You share maintenance costs.  You share household bills like gas, electric and Council Tax The disadvantages of co-buying  Consider setting up a joint bank account for mortgage payments and agreed shared expenses. Keep track of all payments and any agreements made between the two parties.  If you are both putting different amounts down towards the deposit, you need to record who has contributed what. If the amounts are not the same, you will need to work out the proportion of the value of the property each deposit equates to, so that, if and when the property is sold, you know how the proceeds are split.  Decide on house rules before you start living together.  Most importantly, know what to do if one person wants to sell. This must be decided before moving in and it is vital that your solicitor knows the situation.

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JOINT PURCHASE CA S E S T U DY

EXPERT COMMENT

Lorna Hargreaves and Vicki West have been friends since the age of 12 and have been there for each other through relationship break-ups, new jobs and whatever life has thrown at them. Like many young people living in London, they had found it difficult getting on the property ladder, but Lorna’s older brother Alistair Hargreaves just happens to be a Mortgage and Protection Consultant at John Charcol, so naturally, when she was looking to get on the property ladder, she turned to him for advice. “First time buyers in the UK have a tough time. According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the average deposit needed to buy a new home in the UK is £25,970,” Alistair commented. “But there are massive regional variations; the average deposit in London last year was £76,800 last year, while in Yorkshire and Humberside it was just £17,900.” Lorna and Vicki both work in London and have good jobs but, even for them, the chances of being able to afford a first home on their own were pretty slim. “With property prices rising faster than salaries, we’re seeing that first time buyers are increasingly teaming up with friends to get on the property ladder. Help to Buy can be used by an individual, a couple, or even friends. The benefits of joining forces mean that you can you have two salaries and a combined deposit. This makes you a more attractive proposition in the eyes of lenders and means that you can buy more, while making the overall cost of a mortgage much more affordable.” Lorna and Vicki, who are both single, decided to buy together a year ago. Lorna had been looking for a property for about a year, having inherited some money she could use as a deposit. Yet, with a budget of £120,000, she couldn’t find anything suitable, or affordable in the capital. Joining forces with Vicki meant lenders would access both their incomes and combined deposit, allowing them to borrow more. After looking together they settled on a £300,000 flat in Walthamstow, east London. Lorna provided 80% of the £15,000 deposit and they employed a lawyer to draw up a legal contract known as a declaration of trust that stated this would later be taken into account in the sale of the property. Lorna, who works as an operations planning manager said, “We wanted to have something to protect us.” The pair, who were on similar salaries, agreed to split the mortgage payments and bills equally. Through John Charcol and their personal Mortgage and Protection consultant Alistair Hargreaves, they borrowed £285,000 from Woolwich over a 25-year term. They chose to fix their mortgage rate for two years and completed the purchase in December 2015. While the pair are both single, they have talked over the options if one of them were to meet somebody and want to move out. “If one of us wanted to go, we would look to let out the spare room to cover the mortgage,” said Lorna. If one wants to sell to get her share of the money out to buy another property, they would do this according to terms set out in the declaration of trust. The pair said they chose only a two-year mortgage to protect themselves: “What if one of us meets someone and is trapped in the mortgage?” Vicki, who works in human resources for a high street stationer, said, “We hadn’t lived together before we bought our flat. After getting to know how the other one lived, we quickly found our roles, which was Lorna cooking and me doing the DIY!”

Up to four people can own a property jointly. However, most mortgage lenders will only let two people have a joint mortgage. If more than two people want to buy a house together, they may need to shop around to find the right lender. When buying a property with friends, you need to decide whether to be joint tenants, or tenants in common. Joint tenants own the property together and act as a single power in the eyes of the law. If one of you dies, your part of the property automatically passes to the other owner(s). Tenants in common own a defined share of the property. You can sell your share of the property individually. This form of ownership is more common when friends buy together. Buying a property on your own, with a partner, or with friends is a significant investment and, in all cases, independent legal advice should be obtained. Buying with friends can be a good option for some, but to understand your options, it’s a good idea to seek impartial advice from an independent mortgage adviser.

David Blake S T E P L A D D E R CA N H E L P YO U B U Y YO U R F I R S T H O M E FA S T E R

Principal Mortgage Adviser, Which? Mortgage Advisers

Nationwide, and especially in Greater London, qualified first time buyers are struggling to get on the housing ladder. The amount you need to save for a deposit discourages many from even trying. StepLadder overcomes this challenge, revolutionising first time property buying by empowering individuals to collaborate with peers. By enabling groups of qualified UK home buyers to work together, StepLadder helps reduce the average time taken to raise property deposits by up to 45%, compared to saving alone. Each member commits the same amount of money per month, but by pooling their resources, members stand to gain access to their total deposit amount earlier. StepLadder members will also have access to exclusive specialist knowledge and group-buying discounts throughout the property buying process.   How does it work?  Potential members register, indicate the deposit amount they need and how much they can put aside each month. StepLadder will then match individuals to a circle with similar members, carry out a credit check, and confirm the circle’s terms. Once underway, each month, one member of the circle will be selected at random and receive their property deposit, until each member has received their deposit once. For safety and security, the deposit will be held in escrow until the member is ready to complete their home purchase. To ensure that the property deposit can only be used to complete a home purchase, it is only released to the property seller’s solicitor. At the end of the circle’s fixed term, the property deposit will be released to the member directly if the home purchase has not been completed. The StepLadder concept is based on the ROSCA (Rotating Savings and Credit Association), a widely-used financial arrangement which operates in many countries, from Asia to Latin America.   joinstepladder.com

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LOCATION

HOTspot

FAC T F I L E

Average property price (November 2016) – £404,616 Property breakdown* (Lewisham) Detached – £797,603 Semi-detached – £640,172 Terraced – £464,982 Flat – £343,087 *According to the UK House Price Index, November 2016

It’s all change in Lewisham S O M E FA M O U S RESIDENTS

With some great regeneration projects already underway and set to transform the busy town centre, this southeast London town with so much to offer is ready to make its big comeback For many years, Lewisham in southeast London stood in the shadow of its neighbouring towns of Deptford, Brockley and New Cross. As these areas blossomed and attracted young, professional and creative residents, Lewisham was seen as a less attractive option. Today, however, Lewisham is hailed by property experts as one of London’s top up-and-coming areas – the next big thing for first time buyers. Its large town centre – home to some great shops and several excellent cafes and delis, but in need of a makeover – will benefit from a huge regeneration project, known as the Lewisham Gateway. Already underway, the Gateway will transform the centre of Lewisham, creating new road layouts, Lewisham high road

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shops and restaurants, leisure facilities, homes and a riverside park and plaza. Lewisham is a town with a great deal going for it; there are many beautiful homes, green spaces, strong communities, good schools and excellent transport links. The redevelopment and new homes will simply help elevate the town to the next, very attractive level.

HOMES AND RESIDENTS Lewisham is one of the most ethnically diverse parts of the country, with large Caribbean and African communities and over 170 mother-tongue languages spoken by pupils in its schools. This diverse population makes it a fascinating corner of the city, with many different cultures evident in the vast array of shops, restaurants and events that take place throughout the borough. Property in the area is of equal variety. As the regeneration plans forge ahead, several newbuild developments have been created, providing thousands of new homes – many of them in the heart of the town. Head away from the town centre and you’ll find wide, tree-lined roads, filled with pretty period properties. There are some

• Musician Kate Bush • Broadcaster Danny Baker • Actor Jude Law • Comedian Spike Milligan • TV presenter Louise Redknapp

beautiful homes in the area, and a good sense of community among the residents.

OUT AND ABOUT The town’s newest addition, the Model Market, is home to 11 pop-up restaurants and five bars, hailed as a ‘night time food party’ and has been a huge hit with local residents. Open from April until the end of the summer, the outdoor event follows in the footsteps of the food markets that have kept Shoreditch and Brixton bustling. There are plenty of other great eateries in the area. Pick up some wonderful Italian food at Gennaro delicatessen, which has a great pizzeria next door and was named as one of London’s top 20 Italian food shops. There are some excellent Turkish restaurants, too; Mezze Mangal on Lewisham Way is locally famous and, with amazing pide and a wonderful selection of authentic Turkish dishes, is a right of passage for all residents of the area. Rox Burger on the high street is also well worth a visit. This trendy burger joint serves homemade, luxury burgers, which have been voted by restaurant goers as Trip Advisor’s number one burger – quite some feat given the number of

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LOCATION

SHOPPING There’s a great deal going on in Lewisham’s town centre, with a variety of shops and market stalls. Lewisham Market sits in front of the shopping centre and is perfect

TRANSPORT Photo © Julie Kertesz/Flikr

‘posh burger’ joints in London today. Away from eating and drinking, there are also some great opportunities to get cultural. Lewisham Art House, on Lewisham Way, runs exhibitions, courses and workshops and is also home to artist studios. You can catch plays and music at the Broadway Theatre in Catford. The beautiful Grade II-listed building has two auditoriums and is perfect for bigger and more intimate shows. Lewisham is perfectly located for experiencing the great outdoors, in many shapes and forms. Travel the short distance to Greenwich and set out along the Thames walk, or to sprawling Greenwich Park, where you’ll see some of the finest views of the city skyline on offer in London. The town is also just a short drive from the county of Kent and some spectacular English countryside is within easy reach, by car or by train. Head to Sevenoaks and the surrounding areas, where you’ll find some very pretty towns and villages, great walks and some cosy country pubs.

Lewisham Market

for picking up your fresh fruit and veg. The six-day-a-week market dates back to the early 1900s and is a big part of the town’s identity. The new Model Market has also brought great food and drink to the area. Lewisham’s shopping centre is home to over 65 shops, with everything from H&M and M&S to stationers and chemists. It’s a popular, well-equipped mall and runs seasonal events throughout the year. Together with the high street, with plenty of independent stores, a huge Primark, banks and cafes, Lewisham should cater for all your shopping needs, but there are also some other good local options. Bromley and Croydon, both within easy reach, have excellent shopping facilities, while those looking for a bigger shopping experience can be at Westfield Stratford or Bluewater in around 30 minutes by car.

Lewisham has excellent transport connections to central London, Canary Wharf and the southeast. From Lewisham station, trains reach London Bridge in just 15 minutes and also run to Charing Cross, London Victoria and, in the other direction, to Kent. You can also pick up the DLR and be in Canary Wharf in 20 minutes. Many bus routes originate in Lewisham, with frequent services to local areas as well as into central London, throughout the night, or towards Croydon and Bromley. There are also plans by TFL to extend the Bakerloo line, which currently ends at Elephant and Castle, to the area. Though there is a rather long wait for the tube to arrive (completion is expected in 2030), the prospect is a positive one for southeast London and will provide a direct connection to the northwest of the city.

5 REASONS WE LOVE… …LEWISHAM 1 Diverse population 2 Thriving town centre 3 Markets old and new 4 Excellent transport links 5 Great cafes and delis

HOMES on offer in the area… DEPTFORD

CATFORD

Kent Wharf

GREENWICH

Catford Green

FROM £369,995

Enderby Wharf

FROM £360,000

FROM £430,000

Just over a mile from Lewisham centre, Deptford is a lively part of southeast London that has seen a boost in its popularity in recent years. The one bedroom apartments available sit alongside Deptford Creek and offer great views of the city skyline. The homes feature a spacious living/dining area, with fully integrated appliances and a wellsized balcony – perfect for lazy summer evenings. Deptford and Greenwich rail station are just a short walk away for services to London Bridge.

This new collection of homes is located around half a mile from Lewisham’s buzzing high street and just a stone’s throw from lovely Ladywell Fields, as well as two train stations. The one and two bedroom homes are arranged across two buildings, over seven floors, and have been designed with modern living in mind. The spacious open-plan living/dining areas open to a private balcony, and many of the homes also have balcony access via a bedroom. The two bedroom properties also feature an ensuite from the master bedroom.

With some unrivalled views over the London Docklands skyline, the new homes at Enerby Wharf offer a slice of exclusive London living. The studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments are bright and modern and feature plenty of natural light as well as well-sized terrace or balcony – perfect for taking in those sights on a warm summer evening. Zone 2 Greenwich stations are close by for easy access to the City and beyond, while the hustle and bustle of Lewisham is just a short bus or bike ride away.

bellway.co.uk

barratthomes.co.uk

barratthomes.co.uk

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INTERVIEW

LABOURING TO HELP FIRST TIME BUYERS In an exclusive interview, First Time Buyer editor Lynda Clark asks Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, Shadow Local Government and Housing Minister, some key questions about first time buyers, how she sees the property market in general and how to get more people on to the ladder Given that you backed the Homeless Reduction Bill, what do you think needs to be done to help address the housing crisis in the UK? Ok, I’ll start with the Homeless Reduction Bill. I think it is an important Bill as it adds additional access to information for homeless people and advice on where they might be able to get housing, However, I think we need to go much further than this Bill in terms of addressing the housing crisis; I think we all know that the roots of the housing crisis is that, for generations now, we haven’t built enough housing and there is a huge backlog. We know that we need to deliver somewhere between 250,000-300,000 homes every year. We’re barely managing 150,000 at the moment, so my view is that we need a huge increase in output in the housing sector across all tenures. We need social rental housing, first time buyer housing and more general family housing to buy and to rent. Ultimately, we just need a really big output across the whole sector. What do you think of the current Help to Buy scheme? I can appreciate the Government’s efforts in wanting to do something to help first time buyers. I think one of the interesting things that we know is that home ownership is falling in this country. It is falling from nearly 71% in 2003 to not quite 64% last year. We know we’ve got that drop of 7%. But if you look at 25-34 year olds, it is a drop of over 20%, so there are only about 35% of that age group who are able to buy. To me, that shows that there is a huge problem with young people getting on the housing ladder. I can appreciate the Government wanting to do something, but the view now seems to be that all Help to Buy is doing, particularly in some areas, is inflating prices. I think that money would be better spent on producing

Roberta Blackman-Woods has been MP for the City of Durham for over 10 years and since 2011 she has been part of the Shadow Ministerial Communities and Local Government team. She is Shadow Local Government and Housing Minister where she is responsible for planning and housing. In this role she is part of both the Shadow DCLG team and the newly formed Shadow Housing Team, which has been formed due to the importance the Labour party has put on tackling housing issues.

the housing, and particularly the rent to buy products that might really help a much wider range of young people. Shared ownership – do you think it works for first time buyers? I am a real fan of shared ownership, but actually, the data is showing us that shared ownership isn’t very popular – a lot of people just find it too complex and it doesn’t work for everybody. The range of shares doesn’t work for everybody, yet what does seem to work for people is a more straightforward rent to buy scheme, where, at a certain point, you are able to commute some of your rent into mortgage payments. I know a lot of housing associations in particular are looking at rent to buy schemes and, actually, I think housing associations provide some of our best products for first time buyers. If the Government really worked with the housing association sector, they could see what sort of schemes could be drawn up that really would help first time buyers. The reason I say this is that a lot of housing association properties are really quite good quality housing and I think that is important for first time buyers, so I would rather see that. The Government is expected to announce a 'Buy as You Go' scheme in the Housing White Paper, which may be a good answer to enable people to move from renting a housing association property to being able to buy it, by allowing them to build up equity over time. But we are still waiting on the details of that. I just think that we have

to think more imaginatively now about how to get first time buyers into the housing market. Just relying on the market in the short term is not going to deliver, because properties are too expensive in lots of areas and, even if we had a massive uplift in the output of homes over the next couple of years, it is not going to happen quickly enough to stabilise the prices to allow young people to get on the housing ladder, so I think that we have to think about how to use those sorts of schemes much bette,r with more focus on first time buyers. What would a Labour government do differently to help first time buyers? We looked at this particular issue in the Lyons Review in the last parliament. The first thing we wanted was a major uplift in supply as it goes without saying that we’re not going to address the problem in the longer term unless we start to build the number of homes that we need. But within that, we looked at whether a certain number of properties could be set aside for first time buyers, particularly those who have got a local connection, and that idea was taken up really positively. We also thought this could help with planning, because, quite often, one of the reasons why people don’t like new developments is because they think that it will crowd out local people and they assume they won’t get a chance to have one of these homes. We thought about having a percentage set aside for a period of time and, if nobody came forward from the locality to buy them, then they could

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INTERVIEW

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INTERVIEW Just sticking a new housing estate on the edge of somewhere and hoping people will get on with it is not the way that we should be planning the delivery of housing, so I feel very, very strongly that if we are talking about this huge increase in housing output, which we need, then we also have to think about how that is being delivered and how we are getting the infrastructure that supports it. We are not just talking about homes for people, because people don’t only live in that home, they also think about their neighbourhood and about their quality of life, not only for themselves, but also for children and grandchildren. They need access to employment and they need to be able to get to that employment. If we are going to have thriving communities, we need all of those things and it is too far down the list at present.

be released on to the open market. So, we would want to test out whether something like that could work. We would also like to work with housing associations and small developers in developing some first time buyer homes. I don’t know that we actually see starter homes as the way forward. Again, we can see where the Government is coming from, but we think that policy is very misguided because the ceilings that have been set for starter homes are too high. I think my concern about it is that it is all very well having starter homes, but if they are crowding out other forms of affordable housing from coming forward for section 106 agreements, then we could find ourselves in an even worse situation with regards to the provision of affordable housing – yet we haven’t actually got starter homes that first time buyers can readily afford. What we would much prefer to do is have some specific products where housing associations, small builders, or other private builders can specifically market to first time buyers, but the critical thing is that they are affordable. So, Labour is about to do a major piece of work on affordability, what affordability would mean in different areas of the country and what it would mean for social renting, private renting and buying. Being the Labour MP for Durham, do you think first time buyers in the north face different issues to first time buyers in the south? I absolutely do. I mean, it is not the case right across the north that it is easier for first time buyers, because some of the cities in the north have quite high housing costs – for example, in the northeast, Newcastle

and Durham are expensive and it is very difficult for first time buyers to be able to buy – but that being said, there are areas where houses are much cheaper. I think the problems are that, because the houses are cheaper, they are often quite poor quality. Therefore, first time buyers might face high energy costs and possibly high transport costs, because often the reason they are cheaper is because they are further out of the city, or they are in a village that might have poor transport links. So, they might be able to afford a house, but it also means that, if they have high-energy costs or high transport costs, then moving on from that property might be quite difficult, so it is a different set of issues. Certainly, for some parts of the north, there needs to be an ability to upgrade the housing stock that just isn’t there at the moment. You have been quoted as saying "we don’t just need houses, we need houses that people want to live in". Are we building the right kind of homes which ftbs want to live in? Usually, I go on to also say '…in places and communities that people want to live in'. The point is that, too often, we talk about housing numbers and, although that is really important – we know we need a huge uplift in housing output – we have just concentrated on numbers and we haven’t planned communities properly. In my view, we need housing to have a whole infrastructure underpinning it and around it, so we need proper roads and transport links, particularly public transport, we need to have schools and services and access to leisure and cultural activities.

What do first time buyers need in a home that they are currently not getting? I’m tempted to say space. I think one of the things that has happened in the last few decades is that our homes, particularly at the first time buyer end of the market, are getting smaller and I just think we need really good-quality homes to be built. I would bring back things like zero carbon homes, because we are in the 21st century and we know how to build zero carbon homes so I think we should be building them. We should have proper space standards in place, so that we are building homes that people can actually function in, and first time buyers need information up front about things like whether it is leasehold or freehold, whether there is ground rent and what that means. All of this information that they may not understand needs to be explained to them, so that they know exactly what it is they are getting into. If there are service charges, they need to understand what they are. Many first time buyers in a lot of our cities are likely to be buying an apartment and not a house, so they need to know the complexities that go with that – and, right now, I’m not sure that they do. When we look at the figures and we see the huge drop in the number of first time buyers in the 25-34 age group, it is clear that something really needs to be done about that. I think we need houses across all tenures, but we can’t move away from the fact that people want to buy their own home. So many people are now in the private rented sector, where the rents are really high and they are not able to save. It is just a vicious circle, really, and we have to find a way out of it. If you can’t do it by making housing affordable, then you have to do it through specific schemes that allow people to convert rent into mortgage, so they are able to buy.

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OPEN MARKET

SIGNATURE LIVING BRINGS HOTEL-STYLE LIVING TO FIRST MAJOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT Hotel operator Signature Living has started 2017 by branching out into residential property development  The company, which was founded in 2008 by husband and wife team Lawrence and Katie Kenwright, has, until now, focused on the hotel and luxury short-term-stay apartment sector, for which they have picked up a string of top travel awards.  Liverpool’s Shankly Hotel, a prestigious football-themed hotel that celebrates the legacy of legendary Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly, the Titanicthemed 30 James Street Hotel and Cardiff’s historic Coal Exchange – which Signature Living is transforming into an iconic hotel development – all fall within the company’s expanding portfolio.  But now the developer is bringing its idea of hotel living to the residential property sector, starting with a hugely impressive apartment development on the outskirts of Liverpool.  Daniel House, a former office building, is being completely transformed into a desirable new residential community. Ideal for professionals, couples and friends, the high-specification apartments combine the luxury of hotel-style accommodation with affordable living.  The development, the first of a series of new residential projects for the company, is set to change the way people live, with unique and exciting amenities throughout. As well as an on-site gym, the second phase of the development will see a rooftop bar and restaurant and infinity swimming pool being installed.  The rooftop will boast incredible views of the famous Liverpool skyline including the River Mersey, two cathedrals and Anfield stadium. Signature Living says residents can enjoy panoramic views, whilst enjoying a drink or swimming during the summer months.   Other facilities of the Daniel House development include on-site launderette,

24-hour concierge and secure parking as well as a retail unit on the ground floor. Signature Living co-founder Lawrence Kenwright says his company’s track record in developing high-end hotel accommodation gives them the ideal skill set to perfect hotel-style residential living. He said, “Signature Living is known for luxury hotel accommodation and has a history of creating unique and exciting suites that challenge the normal standard. This high standard has been transcended on to Daniel House where residents can enjoy plush furnishings and unique amenities at affordable prices. The standard of residential accommodation is changing and Signature Living is proud to be at the forefront of that. “Creating exciting luxury accommodation, complete with amenities, which have previously never been offered, Daniel House allows people to truly change the way they live. Being able to eat, drink, shop and work out, all without leaving your accommodation block, is revolutionary. This is the first of many

residential developments which are perfect investment opportunities too.” Located in the Liverpool suburb of South Sefton, Daniel House is situated in Bootle, an area which is currently seeing an exciting resurgence. Businesses and individuals are moving into the area, which offers excellent transport links to the city centre, but without the price tag to match. Bootle Oriel Road train station is just a five-minute walk away from the development, which will take you directly to the centre of Liverpool in nine minutes.  Furthermore, the picturesque town of Crosby is just a short 10-minute train ride from Bootle Oriel Road, where there are a number of local shops and restaurants, as well as Crosby Beach. Crosby Beach is home to the famous Antony Gormley’s Another Place art installation and makes for a fantastic day out.  Daniel House offers studios to four bedroom apartments, with prices starting from £57,000 for a one bedroom apartment. Availability is limited, so those who are interested are encouraged to book a viewing as soon as possible. 
 For more information visit signatureinvestments. co.uk, email invest@signatureliving.co.uk, or call 07807 879 235

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WESTON HOMES LAUNCHES FIRST-TIME SECUREBUY TO HELP FTBS GET ON THE LADDER If you are a first time buyer looking to get on the ladder, then buying a home offplan can be an attractive idea. Weston Homes’ new innovative scheme gives first timers the opportunity to secure a plot, at today’s price, for just a £500 reservation fee and a 5% deposit

Bob Weston, Chairman and CEO of Weston Homes developed this one-of–a-kind initiative. Once the first time buyer has paid the deposit and reservation fee, the home will be theirs and then, six months ahead of completion, First-Time SecureBuyers will be able to apply for a mortgage or the Government Help to Buy scheme and complete on the property in the usual way. If the buyer is unable to obtain a mortgage offer then they will receive a full refund of the reservation fee and deposit, however, any other costs, such as legal fees, incurred by the purchaser are non-refundable. Bob Weston said, “Property developers, like Weston Homes launch newbuild developments 18-24 months ahead of build completion, however, when you apply for a mortgage for a newbuild home, your chosen property needs to be within six months of build completion, in order to be granted a mortgage. This then blocks first time buyers from accessing a property off-plan when the scheme is first launched. With our First-Time SecureBuy we are helping ftbs to get that all important first dream home and by reserving the property at the time of the launch it means they can take advantage of the cheaper cost of buying a home off-plan” The scheme has been launched at their new developments, Langley Square in Dartford and Precision in Greenwich, which are both attracting a great deal of interest from first time buyers. weston-homes.com/first-time-securebuy 01279 873 300

Bob Weston, Chairman and CEO, Weston Homs

Langley Square

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AFFORDABLE HOMES

FIRST TIME HOMES WITH ROOM FOR GROWTH AT PROSPECT EAST

According to the National Association of Estate Agents, the proportion of first time buyers purchasing a home has hit a record high, with 32% of total property sales in October made to first timers. However, as the average age of a first time buyer is now 33 in London, many first time homeowners are at a stage of life when they want more than a one bedroom starter home. At Prospect East in Stratford, east London, the range of three bedroom apartments available through East Thames’ shared ownership scheme offers the space and flexibility to suit a wide range of first time buyer lifestyles, Nowadays most first time buyers purchase a property with a long-term view and want somewhere that can accommodate their evolving needs, with potential space for partners, guests or children. Prospect East offers a choice of three bedroom apartments, giving residents different options for how they can use the space to suit their personal circumstances. Purchasing through shared ownership gives an added boost for those who would not otherwise be able to get on the property ladder. Tony Harker, East Thames’ Director of Sales & Marketing comments, “Many of our buyers purchase their first home when they are at the stage of settling down, with perhaps the thought of having children not too far away, so they want a home with a good amount of space. At Prospect East the three bedroom apartments offer long-term potential by having that extra room. Shared ownership also allows residents to grow their investment in the property by working their way up to full ownership.” The three bedroom apartments come in a range of layouts, all offering a spacious, open-plan living space as well as private outdoor space in the form of balcony, terrace, or enclosed winter garden. Interiors are light and airy, with plenty of built-in storage space and a high-quality specification. Kitchens feature a range of quality integrated appliances and sleek gloss cabinets. Master bedrooms are generously sized, with built-in wardrobes, while bathrooms are fitted with a thermostatic over-bath shower and stylish white sanitary ware. Prospect East is the first phase of an

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exciting new neighbourhood being created by East Thames, that will also include a variety of amenities, including a range of commercial space. The homes are arranged around a central communal landscaped garden, with play areas for children, forming a green focal point for the new urban community. Located in the heart of Stratford, Prospect East is ideally positioned to take advantage of all that London has to offer. Thanks to huge investment due to the London 2012 Olympic games, Stratford continues to benefit from extensive regeneration. Retail facilities are excellent with Westfield Stratford City offering hundreds of shops as well as bars, restaurants and entertainment. The Queen

Elizabeth Olympic Park is nearby, with 560 acres of parkland, world-class sporting venues and a wide range of events and attractions to enjoy. Stratford International station is one of London’s best-connected locations, with services on the underground, DLR and high-speed mainline railway network putting the rest of the capital within easy reach. Canary Wharf can be reached in just nine minutes and Oxford Circus in 20 minutes, and the arrival of the Crossrail in 2018 will further enhance the travel links from Stratford. Buying under shared ownership at Prospect East allows purchasers to buy the share of their home that they can afford (at least 25%), and pay a subsidised rent on the remaining share of the property. They can increase their share at any time, right up to full ownership of 100%. Prices for the three bedroom apartments at Prospect East start from £139,375 for a 25% share. For further information, or to register your interest in the scheme at Prospect East, visit prospecteast.co.uk or call 020 8432 8590

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AFFORDABLE HOMES

INTRODUCING LATIMER!

The property sector is seeing a lot of housing groups merge, with the pressure to drive greater efficiencies and deliver more homes. One way to achieve this is for groups to join forces and create increased scale – the largest merger to date has been between Circle Housing and Affinity Sutton to create Clarion Housing Group, which has become the largest housing group in the country, with ambitious plans to build 5,000 new homes each year. These will be for sale under the Group’s new brand, Latimer Here we talk to Tim Seward, the Director of Sales & Marketing for Latimer to find out more… Q: Can you tell us what stage you’re at with the merger? A: We’re really proud that we were the first large-scale merger to successfully go through as it’s a very complex process and many have failed. We officially merged at the beginning of December 2016, after a lot of in-depth planning and hard work. We’re now continuing the integration work and building the foundations for the new group going forward. Q: Can you tell us how the merger will help First Time Buyers? A: Our intention is to build a lot more homes, with more than half of the homes we build being for sale. Shared ownership will continue to play a big part in our delivery programme, to help those on lower incomes to purchase a home in stages. We’ll also be doing a lot more private sale developments for people who can afford to buy outright – although many will also offer the Help to Buy scheme, enabling people to buy with a government equity loan. Q: Which parts of the country will the Latimer brand cover? A: We are a national group and will potentially cover most of the country, if the opportunities are right and the local market supports homes for sale. Over the last few weeks I’ve been busy looking at new site opportunities from Plymouth all the way up to York and I envisage there will be a lot more regional development as we grow. Q: Do you think a large group can still retain a local focus and support the customer? A: Absolutely. It’s our intention to keep our customers at the heart of everything we do and the merger will only bring benefits in terms of more homes, more choice and increased investment in our communities. We will also be increasing our investment in our online services, in response to our customer feedback. Q: What do you think the opportunities are for First Time Buyers over the next couple of years? A: I think we will see a lot more shared

ownership generally across the sector as it’s proved itself to be a popular and enduring product; it’s becoming more mainstream all the time and an accepted part of the UK housing market. More and more lenders are supporting shared ownership and the choice of homes and lending products continues to grow, which is beneficial for first time buyers. We will also see the ongoing popularity of the Help to Buy scheme offered by housing groups and private developers. At Latimer we intend offering more of both schemes and, although no one knows whether the political and economic climate will change, with uncertainties such as Brexit for example, we’ll continue to do all we

can to support first time buyers to get on the property ladder. Q: Finally, any tips for first time buyers? A: Make sure you spend time shopping around, do your research and see what options are available on the market. You can visit the Latimer website at latimerhomes. com as well as other company sites. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – there are lots of good websites, regular home shows taking place across the country, financial advisors and solicitors out there who specialise in helping first time buyers – there is a lot of support to guide you, so you could be in your brand new home in just a few months! latimerhomes.com

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AFFORDABLE HOMES

THE FEATHERSTONE, LONDON EC1

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Embrace the finest in urban living at The Featherstone, a beautifully-designed new development from Southern Housing Group in London’s EC1 Offering a sophisticated selection of two bedroom homes, launching summer 2017 and giving definition to the ultimate urban living experience, with work and leisure on your doorstep, The Featherstone is well-equipped to provide urbanites and city-dwellers alike with the best of both worlds. Located within the EC1 London area, this development is set in the midst of an eclectic mix of traditional and modern London. With popular areas such as Spitalfields, Hoxton, Brick Lane and The Barbican only a stone’s throw away, you really are placed within one of the most fashionable locations in London. Old Street is an artistic and cultural hub that has stylish coffee shops, bars and restaurants. You can dine in a different restaurant every night of the week, as The Featherstone is surrounded by Michelinstarred restaurants and bars, showcasing world-class food and mixologists. Plus, with East London’s nightlife on your doorstep, you’ll be in for legendary nights out on the town, sampling the ever-changing landscape of experiences. And, when the evening comes to a close, you’ll never be too far from the calming sanctuary of home. For commuters, The Featherstone is a dream location. Set on the Northern line,

close to Old Street station, you can access fast and convenient travel around the capital. With trains going to Kings Cross St. Pancras in four minutes, Moorgate station in one minute and Bank station in three minutes, no destination is out of reach. As a resident, you’ll benefit from a southwest-facing, landscaped courtyard with private outdoor spaces for each property. The interiors are light and spacious, with dual aspect and views over the adjacent park. The Featherstone is finished to a high specification and fixtures and fittings have been thoughtfully

considered, with quality and style in mind. The Featherstone includes a biodiverse and integrated landscaped garden, that encourages wildlife and a gardening culture amongst its residents. The building utilises reconstituted materials, which provides historical continuity within the local community and an easy transition between the new and existing architecture. Plus, an improved streetscape and landscape to the existing Featherstone Street will further benefit the local community. This exciting new development, where shared ownership will be available, offers a fantastic opportunity to start a new chapter of your life as a homeowner, with all the benefits of our nation’s capital on your doorstep. For more information, visit shosales.co.uk/ featherstone, or call 03000 555 2171

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AFFORDABLE HOMES

FTBS LOOK BEYOND LONDON TO ENTER HOME OWNERSHIP

According to a recent report from Which?, high values in central London make even lowcost home ownership schemes such as shared ownership unaffordable for 90% of first time buyers in zones 1 and 2, particularly single people on average incomes. This, in turn, is putting upward pressure on prices in Greater London as those potential homebuyers wishing to stay in London look to its suburbs Metropolitan, one of the country’s leading shared ownership providers, has been monitoring the housing market in the areas where it operates and has pursued opportunities to develop more homes in locations within a commutable distance to London, which can offer first time buyers both better value as well as easy access to the capital, to make that first step on to the property ladder more accessible. Jim Munson, Head of Marketing and Customer Care at Metropolitan, explains, “When we research local housing markets for new developments, we look at a range of factors, especially income profiles, so that we can make shared ownership work for people who would otherwise be priced out. We’ve also embraced recent government changes to shared ownership eligibility, which have made it easier to market our homes across wider catchment areas at some developments, allowing us to sell to buyers from across the country as well as to local people.” One location where this approach has proved to be popular has been Hertfordshire, where Metropolitan is currently delivering two major apartment developments, with further developments planned. At Six Hills House in Stevenage (sixhillshouse.co.uk) – which, at the time of publishing, is near to being all sold – Metropolitan offered 128 apartments for shared ownership, with annual incomes required to buy being as low as £20,000. The development is within half an hour’s commute of central London and yet offers affordability not seen in most of London since the last century. The approach has proved very successful; Metropolitan’s first wave of completions at Six Hills House saw 31% of sales to local people, 46% of sales to buyers from other parts of Hertfordshire and the home counties and 22% of sales to buyers from London.

Times Square

Munson continues, “Whilst we’re very active in London, we’ve increased our new homes programme in the home counties, particularly Hertfordshire, where we can offer greater affordability and a ‘town and country’ lifestyle as well as a high-quality new home. Our apartments have been in high demand and we’ve seen that first time buyers are prepared to look beyond London to become homeowners.” At Times Square, Welwyn Garden City (times-square.co.uk), Metropolitan has a programme of 144 shared ownership apartments, being made available in phases across the next couple of years (the first phase of 31 apartments is selling fast), as part of a development of over 500 homes. Metropolitan are offering a range of suites, one, two and three bedroom homes in what is an innovative conversion of the former Xerox HQ, which is just a 28-minute journey from central London

and challenges the notion that highspecification, good-quality housing is now a luxury exclusively for the ‘haves’ of the younger generation. The development features art deco styling, a communal atrium bathed in natural light and each apartment offers standout features, including fitted kitchens with appliances, Amtico flooring in kitchens and bathrooms and breakfast bar-style kitchen units. Annual incomes required to buy at the development start from approximately £24,000, with deposit requirements being less than £10,000. Apartments are available across a mix of tenures, including shared ownership, Help to Buy, private sale and affordable rent. To find out more about Metropolitan’s new homes, get in touch with their sales team on 020 3535 2555, email mhosales@metropolitan. org.uk, or visit mho.co.uk

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AFFORDABLE HOMES

MAKING AFFORDABLE HOMES FOR FTBS

According to a recent report commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA), only one in five 25-year-olds can now hope to own their own home, highlighting the state of the current property market and the financial struggle that first time buyers continue to face One of the reasons raised is high rental rates, meaning potential buyers are struggling to save for the deposit necessary for an outright purchase. Stuart Spence, Head of Sales at London-based housing association Family Mosaic says, “High property prices inevitably mean high deposits and if you’re currently renting, it can be a real struggle to put a substantial amount of money aside each month. But for those without large amounts of savings, or who aren’t able to get help from the Bank of Mum and Dad, there are still options to home ownership. By buying a percentage of the property through shared ownership, or securing an equity loan through Help to Buy, you can take your first step on the property ladder with a more realistic savings target. “With the current low interest rates and continued predicted growth in the UK housing market, albeit at a slower rate, those with the necessary resources may find now is a good time to buy. At Family Mosaic, we strive to provide good quality homes available through a number of purchasing options, to make the dream of getting on to the property ladder a reality for as many people as possible.” With properties in all corners of London, first time buyers have a wide selection of new homes to choose from through Family Mosaic. Current private sale, shared ownership and Help to Buy developments available in thriving areas of the capital include:

Canons Row

GREENWICH, SE10 Charters Wharf costs from £96,600 for a 30% share, with a full market value of £322,000 *For a 30% share of a one bedroom apartment ,with a full market value of £322,000.

CAMBERWELL, SE5 Canvas

From £375,000 Available through private sale and Help To Buy, Canvas is a collection of one, two and three bedroom apartments sitting in the lovely spot between Camberwell and Peckham’s arts and entertainment scene. A development show home is now available for viewings. Prices start from £375,000 for a two bedroom apartment. The Gramercy Greenwich

EDGWARE, HA8 Canons Row

From £96,600* In the highly accessible Edgware area, this shared ownership development provides one, two and three bedroom apartments in a leafy greenbelt zone, with enviable parking included in the purchase price. A one bedroom apartment in the development

Mirroring its historic surroundings on Creek Road in Greenwich, The Gramercy Greenwich is a development of one, two and three bedroom apartments and two, three and four bedroom houses, available through private sale and shared ownership. A two bedroom apartment through private sale starts from £565,000. Shared ownership prices are yet to be confirmed.

GREENWICH, SE10 The Gramercy Greenwich

From £565,000 (private sale) Shared ownership prices TBC

Family Mosaic will soon merge with fellow housing association Peabody, subject to a number of consents and the views of residents. Creating a new housing association that will provide 55,000 homes to 111,000 residents across London and the South East, and many more in the future, the formal merger is expected to be completed around July 2017.

From £535,000 (private sale) From £158,363* (shared ownership) Charters Wharf is a collection of two and three bedroom shared ownership and private sale apartments, overlooking Deptford Creek and just a five-minute walk from Royal Greenwich. A two bedroom apartment costs from £535,000 through private sale and, with shared ownership, a 30% share is from £158,363. *For a 30% share, with a full market value of £527,875

STRATFORD HIGH STREET Shared ownership prices TBC These 26 modern one and two bedroom shared ownership apartments offer affordability in a blossoming regeneration area, close to Stratford transport hub, with views of the London Stadium. Across all these tenures and in all locations, including premium areas such as Islington and Greenwich, Family Mosaic focuses on high quality. Working closely with reputable interior designers and expert partners, the developer ensures the interior of their properties mirror the cutting-edge designs of the exterior. This range of affordable, mixed tenure housing will increase in 2017, as Family Mosaic launches further developments available through shared ownership, within Southwark and Lewisham, and a selection of Help to Buy developments located throughout the capital. *All prices correct as of 10 January 2017 For further information about Family Mosaic homes, please visit familymosaicsales.co.uk

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AFFORDABLE HOMES

made easy H OW I T A L L W O R K S

 Shared ownership is a straightforward home funding method which combines a lower deposit, smaller mortgage, subsidised rent on the share you don’t own and a service charge. Most people start by purchasing between 25% to 75% of a property and then purchase more shares when they are able to do so.  Buying more shares of your home is flexible and you can increase your share when it suits you – this is known as staircasing, which allows you to purchase a minimum of a further 10% of your home each time.  TVH offers a unique scheme called Shared Ownership Plus (SOP), which is a simpler form of buying more shares. You can buy an additional 1% of your home each year for 15 years, as long as your share doesn’t exceed 79%, without the usual costs of solicitor and valuation fees. It’s quick and easy and allows you to buy 15% more of your home over a 15-year period.  SOP uses a fixed price increase of 3% of the value of your home, so we will be able to tell you upfront costs of your additional shares. Remember, the more shares you buy, the less you will need to pay in rent.  If you ever want to sell your share, our dedicated resales team can take care of the marketing of your property, right the way through to finding a purchaser. If your home goes up in value, you will benefit from the rise in equity on your percentage.

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Shared ownership can provide a valuable first step on to the housing ladder, giving aspirational homebuyers an opportunity to invest in a home of their own. So often, first time buyers find themselves in a position whereby they have the means to pay a mortgage, but don’t have the deposit required to secure the finance. This is expected to remain the biggest hurdle for first time buyers in 2017 Shared ownership could hold the answer for many first time buyers who are struggling with the upfront costs of homeownership. The scheme is a more cost-efficient and immediate way to buy an initial share of your home (typically 25% to 75% of the home’s value) and then pay rent on the remaining share owned by a housing association. When finances permit, buyers can staircase in increments, until they have reached 100% full ownership. When it comes to selling, buyers can enjoy any potential uplift in house prices on the percentage of the property they own, as well as having had the opportunity to pay off their mortgage. We meet with Kush Rawal, Sales Director at Thames Valley Housing (TVH), to find out how they are making shared ownership available to first time buyers. Tell us about Thames Valley Housing. At Thames Valley Housing, we have innovated the traditional shared ownership model and are the only housing association to offer the flexible shared ownership PLUS scheme. We developed this to address the problem that, once people had bought the first percentage of their home, they were rarely able to afford to buy more. Our shared ownership PLUS scheme, enables customers to buy an extra 1% of their home each year at a predetermined price. What does TVH do differently? It isn’t just our shared ownership PLUS scheme that makes us different, at Thames

Valley, we are a forward-thinking and innovative housing association with a focus on helping buyers find the right property for them. We have forged a range of innovative partnerships to build over 1,500 homes each year, helping to make homeownership possible for thousands more buyers, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to own their home. Our aim is to increase ownership chances for struggling lower and middle incomers and to help people stay in their homes, all whilst growing the social fabric in the communities that we work in. Working with leading architects, including design icon Wayne Hemingway MBE, we create high-quality homes that are tenureblind on the outside and inside. We use premium brands as standard, including Villeroy & Boch, and make sure that quality and design remain at the heart of what we do. All of our homes are future-proofed and include flexible and contemporary space for growing families. Features include clever storage solutions, separate dining areas and offices for home-workers. Keen to stay ahead of the curve and looking to other forward-thinking industries for inspiration, we also have recently launched My TVH, a bespoke, online 24/7 platform that allows an interactive approach with each of our customers. Our customers are able to manage payments, repairs and monitor progress, with the click of a button. To find out more about how shared ownership works, or to view a range of properties available, visit tvhsales.co.uk or call 020 8607 0550

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AFFORDABLE HOMES

PROPERTIES AVAILABLE FROM THAMES VALLEY SPENCERS WOOD, BERKSHIRE Croft Gardens

FROM £122,500*

Croft Gardens, in the Berkshire village of Spencers Wood, offers a collection of high-quality two, three and four bedroom houses available for shared ownership. These homes are ideal for families, couples, commuters, in fact, anyone looking for a thoughtfully-designed home in superb surroundings. Prices for a two bedroom house start from £122,500. *Based on a 35% share of the full market value of £350,000

FROM £215,000*

WINNERSH, BERKSHIRE

Hatchwood Mill

The latest development to be launched in the heart of Winnersh, Hatchwood Mill benefits from the best of everything local, including quality schools, restaurants and quick access to the shopping facilities in the nearby towns of Reading and Wokingham. The development comprises a stunning collection of one and two bedroom apartments and two, three and four bedroom houses, all offered for shared ownership. Guide prices for a two bed, plus study, house start from £215,000. *Based on a 50% share of the full market value of £430,000

FROM £105,000*

CHISWICK Chiswick Gate

A development of period-style one, two and three bedroom apartments, with a modern twist, centred around a private garden square, which has been inspired by the heritage of formal English gardens. Some of the capital’s finest restaurants and bars are on the doorstep, along with first-class transport connections. Prices start from £105,000 for a 25% share, with a full market value of £420,000. *Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £420,000

*Monthly rents, service charges and eligibility criteria apply. Please contact us for further details. CGIs and images shown are for illustrated purposes only and are subject to change.

TOP TIPS FOR USING SHARED OWNERSHIP BY EXPERT KUSH RAWAL  Shared ownership is not solely designed for first time buyers, but there is a criteria that must be met. Make sure that you check the eligibility criteria carefully  Read and understand your lease and what restrictions it sets out  As a homeowner, you’ll be responsible for all the costs of buying and running your home, so it is important to price up the various costs and work out your monthly payments. These costs can change from year to year and you will need to take into account any unexpected costs. As part of the purchase process, we help our buyers understand these costs and draw up a rough household budget of income and outgoings  Think about your long-term plans and when you could afford to buy an extra 1% of your home each year, or start staircasing  Remember that your rent will increase annually. The rent you pay on our share of your home will need to rise every year due to inflation, unless you buy additional shares in your home. We use the Government’s Retail Price Index measure and set our rent increase at RPI +0.5% every year. So, if RPI is 3%, your rent will increase by 3.5%. Service charges change in line with the cost of services delivered, so they are likely to increase year on year

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AFFORDABLE HOMES

AIMEE’S JUST WILD ABOUT WESTHILL

Another happy new homeowner, thanks to shared ownership with Orbit Homes Aimee Clayton, 24, always had one clear goal in mind; she wanted to own her own home. Now, with the help of shared ownership with Orbit Homes, her dream has become a reality as Aimee and her dog George have recently moved into a spacious, two bedroom, end-of-terrace house at the Westhill development, just to the east of Kettering. “I had been saving up to buy my own place for years,” explains Aimee, who works in customer services, “but I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be able to afford to buy in Kettering. I wanted to stay here, to be near the office and my family and friends, but even though I was aware of the shared ownership scheme, houses with that kind of help to buy never seemed to come up in the area.” Aimee had almost managed to buy a resale shared ownership property on another development, but the sale fell through at the last moment. “I was disappointed, but it did me a favour in a way, because I had already talked to an independent financial advisor and knew I could get a mortgage – when I spotted mention of shared ownership houses on the perimeter boards, when the Westhill development began to be built. I made sure I got my name down quickly, when the houses were available to reserve, and it only took about a month from viewing my house to getting my keys!” Aimee bought a 45% share of her new home, and pays a government-subsidised rent on the rest. She describes it as “an easy step on to the property ladder” and explains that it now costs her less per month to own her own home, than it would to have privately rented a similar sized property. “This way,” says a delighted Aimee, “I’m making my money work for me, and I’m not just

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paying rent each month, with nothing to show for it in the long run.” Aimee was very clear that she wanted a newbuild house, and her new home at Westhill fits the bill exactly. “I didn’t want the worry and expense of having to renovate an old house and it’s reassuring to know that, if anything goes wrong here, I have Orbit Homes to help and a 10-year guarantee as back-up. DIY really isn’t my thing! I just want to relax and enjoy my new home.” When asked what she most likes about her house, Aimee grins and says, “All of it! There is nothing I would change about the house, or the location. The rooms are a very good size; my bedroom is huge and the second one is a proper double, so I’ve got plenty of space for friends and family to come and stay. I’m so enjoying having my own space and the independence that come with owning your own home.” It seems Aimee isn’t the only one who is revelling in her new, homeowning lifestyle as her dog George is thoroughly enjoying the new country park that adjoins Westhill, and is ensuring that his mistress gets lots of

long, healthy walks. Who’s a clever boy?! Westhill is now sold out, but Orbit also has two bedroom shared ownership homes available nearby, from £66,800, at its Glade Gardens development, situated on the edge of the popular town of Burton Latimer. Information about the Orbit shared ownership homes for sale in your area is available online at orbithomes.org.uk, or by calling 0845 600 4072

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FOR SALE

FOR SALE THE CREAM OF THE CROP Each month, FTB scours the market for the best starter homes for first time buyers. If you’re looking for a new home to fit a budget, we hope you will enjoy our selection.

ELEPHANT AND CASTLE, LONDON

HOIC FIRST C

E

EXCITING

LOC★A★T★ION Affordable homes p62-63

REAL LIFE

Shared ownership p66

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FOR SALE

AFFORDABLE HOMES ELEPHANT AND CASTLE, LONDON

HOIC FIRST C

FROM £105,000*

E

EXCITING

LOC★A★T★ION

Harvard Gardens The third phase of this award-winning new development in Elephant and Castle continues to bring an entire new outlook to a previously unloved part of the city. The zone one district is an absolute dream for Londoners looking for the next big thing and is within walking distance of the Thames, Southbank and city centre, as well as the locales of Camberwell, Peckham and Oval. The homes are finished beautifully and include a range of great appliances to ease the transition into your first home. Apartments include wooden flooring, floor-toceiling windows and come with a private balcony. L&Q 03330 033 640 harvard-gardens.co.uk

*Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £420,000

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FOR SALE BRACKNELL, BERKSHIRE

FROM £275,950

FROM £118,500*

GREENWICH, LONDON

The Fitzroy Collection This attractive new collection of homes lies just half a mile from Bracknell rail station, for speedy services to London and Reading. The 72 one, two and three bedroom homes available will be finished to a high standard, with bright, contemporary interiors and quality fixtures and fittings. The apartments are centrally

CHESTERTON, CAMBRIDGE

located, with an excellent range of amenities on the doorstep, including a gym, gastro pub, restaurants, supermarkets and cinema. An updated town centre is set to be unveiled in the summer. Hodson Developments 020 7183 1825 hodsondevelopments.com

FROM £126,400*

The Gramercy Greenwich homes are bright and spacious, with open-plan living/dining areas in the apartments and doors opening to a private balcony or terrace. The homes have all been built with energy efficiency in mind.

World-famous and historic Greenwich is home to this exciting new collection of two and three bedroom apartments and two to four bedroom houses. Just moments from the river, with easy access to the Docklands and into central London, the development is ideally located for getting around town. Inside,

Family Mosaic 020 7089 1315 familymosaicsales.co.uk

*Based on a 30% share of the full market value of £395,000

ENFIELD, NORTH LONDON

FROM £140,000*

The Blossom This new collection of one and two bedroom apartments and family houses sits on the site of the former Cambridge City football ground. With contemporary, bright interiors, the homes feature open-plan living spaces, fitted kitchens, integrated appliances and carpeted bedrooms. The

city centre, with its many opportunities to enjoy good food, music and the arts, as well as superb country walks and cycles, is within easy reach and, for trips further afield, the M11 is just a short drive away. Latimer Housing 0845 304 1002 latimerhomes.com

*Based on a 40% share of the full market value of £316,000

Coral Court at Aspire Residents at this impressivelysized new development, close to Arnos Grove, will never be short of things to do, with a range of shops, eateries and leisure facilities on tap in the immediate vicinity. The apartments are well proportioned, with open-plan living/dining areas, family-sized bathroom, hallway storage

space and private balcony area. Arnos Grove station, on the Piccadilly line, is around a five-minute walk away, for direct services to King’s Cross, which take 30 minutes. Notting Hill Housing 020 3815 1234 nhsales.com

*Based on a 40% share of the full market value of £350,000

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REAL LIFE

FAC T F I L E

Property: One bedroom apartment Market value: £445,000 Share purchased: 30% Monthly mortgage repayments: £520 Subsidised monthly rent: £260 Monthly service charge: £105

Shared ownership: Earlsfield When account manager Duncan Fraser, 29, first heard about the concept of shared ownership in order to buy his first home, he thought that it would mean sharing a property with a complete stranger! Just one of the ill-informed myths of a more modern-day homebuying concept, Thames Valley Housing says that there is still a lot to be learned about shared ownership – which is becoming an increasingly popular way to buy a home in one of the most expensive cities in the world Now, Duncan is enjoying owning his first home, where he is very much the sole homeowner. Managing to buy a 30% share of a stylish new apartment, worth £445,000, at Westfield House in Earlsfield, which he bought from Thames Valley Housing, he can’t quite believe his luck as he settles into his stylish new pad in this very desirable part of southwest London. Duncan said, “I was renting in a houseshare in Southfields, which was fine at the time, but I started to resent the thought of wasting money on rent every month and having nothing to show for it. I also felt that I was getting a little bit beyond housesharing and was keen to get my own place. I didn’t think buying was ever going to be a possibility, with the size of deposit that I had saved, and I was sure that I was going to have to move out of London to even be able to find anything within my price range.” After making a few enquiries at new developments in the area Duncan quickly learned the truth about shared ownership and, after discovering that it didn’t mean

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taking out a mortgage with any unknown parties, he realised that it was a scheme perfectly suited to his needs. Paying £520 a month in mortgage repayments for a 30% share (worth £133,500) of his brand new home at Westfield House, he also pays a very manageable 1% rent of £260 to cover the outstanding share. A similar one bedroom apartment at the same development is currently available for rent privately for £1,500pcm. Duncan adds, “As I started to actually understand what shared ownership really meant and its apparent benefits for someone like me, who was looking

to buy alone, without a massive deposit saved, it all started to make total sense. Breaking my previous misguided view that the scheme was lots of people clubbing together in a sort of mortgage share situation, it soon became clear that not only was shared ownership the best way for me to buy my first home, but it was the only way to buy a really lovely apartment in a location I wanted to live… “To see a similar property to mine in the same building, available to rent privately for £600 more than I’m paying, reassures me that I have definitely made the right choice. Without shared ownership and, combined with the amount I was having to pay in rent every month, I think I would need to have saved for at least another 10 years to have bought anything of this standard.” Kush Rawal, Sales Director for Thames Valley Housing Association said, “Whether you are a doctor, accountant, or a fitness instructor, shared ownership could be a useful way to get on to the housing ladder, especially in what is one of the most expensive housing markets in the world. It allows homebuyers to make a sensible step into the property market, depending on their own personal circumstances, whilst paying a below the market rent for a brand new and stylish property. Shared ownership makes complete sense for those who want to start making an investment into their own future, without having to compromise on quality, or location. To find out more about how shared ownership works, or to view a range of properties available, visit tvhsales.co.uk 020 8607 0550

“TO SEE A SIMILAR PROPERTY TO MINE IN THE SAME BUILDING, AVAILABLE TO RENT PRIVATELY FOR £600 MORE THAN I’M PAYING, REASSURES ME THAT I HAVE DEFINITELY MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE”

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buyer

READERS’ AWARDS 2017 VOTE NOW! We take our readers very seriously and want to know your views as first time buyers. That’s why we need you to vote for your favourite developments, housing providers and other categories, listed on the following pages, in our First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards 2017. You could win £250 Ikea vouchers! For more details, see page 98.

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BEST SMALL DEVELOPMENT AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS AWARD WILL BE GIVEN TO SMALL DEVELOPMENTS THAT HAVE USED THE BEST DESIGN AND QUALITY TO CREATE DESIRABLE, AFFORDABLE AND INSPIRING ENVIRONMENTS IN WHICH PEOPLE WISH TO SET UP THEIR FIRST HOME. THE AWARD IS FOR SCHEMES OF FEWER THAN 30 HOMES.

EAST THAMES | FOUNDRY MEWS Foundry Mews is a collection of 12 contemporary properties in Walthamstow E17, offering first time buyers an ideal opportunity to get on to the property ladder. Featuring a range of town houses, apartments and maisonettes, a variety of buyers are catered for. All properties are available for shared ownership sale, providing much-needed home ownership within the surrounding area. These high-specification properties offer residents the benefits of a desirable location, reaching central London in half an hour. Residents will enjoy a thoughtfully designed development, which holds community at its heart. Meticulously designed to maximise space and light in each property, every design aspect has been created to compliment the heritage of Wood Street, taking inspiration from the many listed buildings which surround it, ensuring that it fits seamlessly into the local landscape.

MAGNA GROUP | MAGNA WEST Founded in 2015 by Chris Madelin and Oliver Mason, Magna Group, the homebuilder, was set up to deliver affordable luxury homes for all. Such a vision has already started to take shape, with exponential growth over the last two years and a current Gross Development Value (GDV) of £103 million. Magna Group is currently building nine luxury developments in Surrey and Hampshire, all of which offer perfect first home purchases for first time buyers. The first site to be completed is Magna West in West Byfleet, just a 40-minute commute from central London, comprising 22 one-bedroom units and five duplexes, all of which are built with opulence in mind. Fixtures and fittings include NEFF and Miele appliances, high-spec sound and lighting systems, marble bathrooms, oversized shower units and Axor Hans Grohe taps and showers. Lead-in prices for Magna West homes start at £205,000, with Help to Buy options. Magna by name. Magna by nature.

OCTAVIA LIVING | GLADSTONE VILLAGE The Elms at Gladstone Village NW2 is enabling first time buyers to afford a highly desirable home in a glorious parkland setting – but with everything the capital has to offer in easy reach. Part of a small, gated, mixed-tenure development, right on the edge of picturesque Gladstone Park in northwest London, The Elms offers eight stylish shared ownership apartments. Competitively priced, they’re affordable for many who would struggle to buy any property in this area, let alone a high-spec, low-maintenance newbuild in such a covetable location. Gladstone Village has sensitively transformed what were unsightly offices into an attractive community, with striking architecture, thoughtful landscaping and a village feel. Despite being a tranquil enclave, it’s just a short walk to local shops, bars and restaurants, and less than 30 minutes on public transport into central London. It’s unsurprising then, that The Elms’ shared ownership apartments attracted more than 500 applicants.

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ORIGIN HOUSING | SAFFRON HOUSE

READERS’ AWARDS

Giving aspiring urbanites a taste of city life, Origin Housing’s Saffron House is a collection of eight two bedroom and two three bedroom shared ownership apartments, situated on Baker Street in Enfield EN1. In a climate where property prices continue to rise, properties at Saffron House start from just £104,650 for a 25% share. Offering a truly affordable solution for first time buyers looking to get on to the property ladder, remarkably, projected monthly costs are up to £300 per month less than the average for a two bedroom home in Enfield. Simon Scott, Head of Sales and Marketing for Origin Housing, comments: “Traditionally, a high proportion of homes available for shared ownership offer just one bedroom. However, at Saffron House, we are delighted to deliver a scheme of two and three bedroom apartments. For growing families and first time buyers alike, these highquality homes offer that extra space, making them truly liveable.”

SITE SALES | THE HAWTHORNS The Hawthorns is a charming development of three new homes, comprising of one four bedroom detached house and two three bedroom semi-detached houses. Surrounded by the Hertfordshire countryside, these homes are ideally situated in Lydia Mews cul-de-sac in the quaint village of Welham Green. Located just a fiveminute walk to the High Street and a 10-minute walk to Welham Green Station, these homes conveniently link commuters to arterial stations such as London Fenchurch Street in just 40 minutes, while also being close to major roads such as the A1 and M25. This popular, family-orientated community is the midpoint between four prominent Hertfordshire towns; Welwyn Garden City, St Albans, Potters Bar and Cheshunt, providing buyers with connections to the best of this county. Luxury home comfort is what has been achieved with the specification of these homes and every room makes maximum use of light, creating an airy, spacious feel throughout.

VIRIDIAN HOUSING | AURA Take a collection of carefully-designed, beautifully-finished apartments, set in the smart residential area of Balham, within easy reach of everything that Balham has to offer, and you have Aura. Aura is a new development of 15 quality one, two and three bedroom apartments for shared ownership. Each provides space, clean lines and lots of natural light, with every apartment featuring either a glazed balcony, or terrace. All apartments have been finished to an outstanding interior specification, including a contemporary fitted kitchen with integrated Smeg appliances and a contemporary-style bathroom and en suite shower room. The site, at the end of Balham High Street, was previously occupied by Viridian at their former head office and a neighbouring petrol station, but now provides residential apartments as well as a community space and a Co-op supermarket for the local community.

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BEST URBAN SMALL DEVELOPMENT REGENERATION PROJECT AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS AWARD IS FOR THE BEST DEVELOPMENT WITHIN A NEIGHBOURHOOD REGENERATION SCHEME THAT CAN DEMONSTRATE THE BENEFIT IT HAS BROUGHT TO THE AREA.

HOME GROUP | PARK RISE

Park Rise is one of Home Group’s success stories. It’s a mixedtenure development of spacious, affordable, rented, private sale and shared equity apartments and homes, nestled on a wooded hillside, with wonderful views over High Wycombe. With 164 new homes – 21 one bedroom and 70 two bedroom apartments, and 65 three bedroom and eight four bedroom homes, it has built hope and opportunity in a once notorious estate. Almost a third of the homes are available for shared ownership. Integration of Park Rise into the wider community was a key element and its residents are happier, feel safer and are proud of their new homes and community. In creating homes, Home Group built on pride, friendships and support across this culturally diverse neighbourhood.

ST. MODWEN HOMES | BRANSTON LEAS

Before St. Modwen transformed the development, Branston Leas in Burton upon Trent was 280 acres of wasteland with no benefit to the local community. Now, it is a desirable place to live, with the first phase of 64 beautiful new homes all sold out and the second phase going fast. To ensure the development benefits local people, St. Modwen has delivered 160 school places through an extension of the local primary school; a village centre with shops and local amenities; employment space that will create 1,500 new jobs and a new sports pavilion. What’s more, they have worked with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to deliver a new 82-acre bluebell wood, with new residents helping to plant trees and seeds. It’s no wonder 90% of new purchasers would recommend the development.

MILLER HOMES | VARCITY

Varcity comprises over 850 residential properties, located on the former brownfield site which was home to Edinburgh’s Telford College. The development comprises three former campus sites, sympathetically transformed, specifically with ftbs in mind, into a successful, thriving new community close to Edinburgh’s city centre. The overall design strategy, the product mix and features, together with initiatives to address issues of availability and affordability, have all helped Varcity meet the needs of the ftb market. Through an innovative planning strategy, with co-ordinated delivery and engagement at its core, Varcity has supported regeneration and provided important socio-economic benefits as well as excellent opportunities for ftbs to own a home.

STOCKWOOL | WHITECHAPEL CENTRAL

Whitechapel Central is set to transform a former Safestore facility into a new urban quarter, with 30% of the site dedicated to new public realm. The scheme of 564 new homes – many being family-sized – alongside around 38,000sqft of commercial area, including flexible office space, shops, a gym and a café, plus storage facilities for the local market, is fundamental to Whitechapel’s vision for regeneration. Straddling two nearby conservation areas, the design focuses on connectivity, with new pedestrianised streets and squares, and a number of ‘character areas’. The predominantly brick and reconstituted stone design creates strong, street-based frontages, while a central glass and aluminium-clad tower enhances the future townscape of Whitechapel.

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MOSTSMALL BEST INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENT REDEVELOPMENT OF AN EXISITING PROPERTY AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS AWARD LOOKS FOR PROPERTIES THAT HAVE BEEN REDEVELOPED USING FRESH IDEAS THAT UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY OF THE ORIGINAL BUILDING AND MAKE BEST USE OF THE RETAINED FEATURES AND SURROUNDINGS.

GUINNESS HOMES | ONE MANOR ROAD One Manor Road in Brighton is an exciting and unique development, comprising a stunning collection of new homes, located on the site of a 19th-century convent. The development offers a fantastic blend of traditional and modern architecture, with contemporary and historic buildings standing side by side. Guinness Homes set out to respect the historic surroundings, while retaining and enhancing the existing buildings of local importance, to provide high-quality, sustainable and affordable housing for the area. One Manor Road is perfectly suited for first time buyers, with a choice of one and two bedroom apartments, as well as three and four bedroom houses, offering ample space for expanding families, and available with Help to Buy, affordable rent and shared ownership. The development is located on the edge of the Kemptown area, with nearby access to the famous pebbled beach, the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Marina.

HENLEY HOMES | REMBRANDT HOUSE Rembrandt House, on Whippendell Road in Watford, stood largely empty for decades and its beautiful Edwardian façade had fallen into disrepair. The landmark 3.4-acre site was originally home to the Watford Speedometer & Magneto Works, which provided parts to companies like Vickers and Rolls Royce. In 1932 the site was taken over by Rembrandt Photogravure (hence the name of the building), which printed glossy magazines and the earliest colour newspaper supplements. Henley have transformed the high-ceilinged and light-flooded interior into 43 one, two and three bedroom apartments, some with mezzanine levels, while restoring the striking 120m-long neo-classical exterior. Ample parking and good transport links will allow easy connections to work and leisure opportunities, while Watford town centre is just a few minutes away. Thirty apartments were for private sale, averaging £477 per sqft (with only a handful remaining) and 13 are available via Origin Housing Association.

HENLEY HOMES | BARNES VILLAGE Barnes Village is a Grade II listed historic site near Stockport, comprising 38 apartments and townhouses – constructed within and attached to a restored French Gothic Revival hospital building – and 117 newbuild, two to four bedroom properties in the 16.5-acre grounds. Barnes Hospital was founded in 1875 and served as a convalescent hospital for the Manchester Royal Infirmary until 1999. It began to fall into dereliction thereafter, despite listed status. Henley’s careful conversion and restoration will bring a new chapter to the old building. Spacious, modern homes, with sharply-pitched roofs and large windows, echo the drama of the old, but with the elegance and convenience of the new. Together, they create a new village with accessible transport connections and pre-existing links to surrounding communities. Prices are from £145,000 (one bedroom conversion apartment) to £425,000 (new four bedroom house); an average of £252 per sqft. Homes are eligible for Help to Buy and completions start in spring 2017.

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INSPIRED HOMES | SUTTON COURT

READERS’ AWARDS

Sutton Court, by Inspired Homes, is an innovative redevelopment of a former office building in Sutton, Surrey. Comprising 82 high-end apartments, every square inch of space has been maximised to deliver private homes in Greater London that are affordable to first time buyers, while enabling them to ‘Live Brilliantly’ with a hightech, high-spec finish. The redevelopment saw the building stripped back to its shell and core, with the internal layout reconfigured and the appearance of the building left unrecognisable, with a stunning new façade that provides a contemporary architectural style. The apartments are Inspired’s best yet, comprising private balconies, with floor-to-ceiling French doors and uniform open-plan living areas that look and feel more spacious than at previous developments. Located in the heart of the town centre, close to the railway station, Sutton Court offers residents a short 27-minute commute into central London.

MAGNA GROUP | MAGNA WEST Founded in 2015 by Chris Madelin and Oliver Mason, Magna Group, the homebuilder, was set up to deliver affordable luxury homes for all. Such a vision has already started to take shape, with exponential growth over the last two years and a current Gross Development Value (GDV) of £103 million. Magna Group is currently building nine luxury developments in Surrey and Hampshire, all of which offer perfect first home purchases for first time buyers. The first site to be completed is Magna West in West Byfleet, just a 40-minute commute from central London, comprising 22 one-bedroom units and five duplexes, all of which are built with opulence in mind. Fixtures and fittings include NEFF and Miele appliances, high-spec sound and lighting systems, marble bathrooms, oversized shower units and Axor Hans Grohe taps and showers. Lead-in prices for Magna West homes start at £205,000, with Help to Buy options. Magna by name. Magna by nature.

TAYLOR WIMPEY EAST LONDON | ARENA PLACE Taylor Wimpey East London has carefully redeveloped the former Administrative Headquarters Complex for Colchester Garrison Artillery Barracks, to offer a prestigious collection of unique homes, known as Arena Place. Arena Place has breathed new life into this historic site, with Taylor Wimpey faithfully maintaining and enhancing the original architectural features of the existing military buildings, while constructing a series of contemporary newbuild properties which encompass the traditional character. Formerly the officers’ quarters at Colchester Garrison Artillery Barracks, Block A at Arena Place is a beautiful Italianate building, which dates back to the Victorian period. The roofline bears striking resemblance to those found dotted around picturesque Lake Como in northern Italy, comprising stone detail at third-floor level with overhanging eaves. As a locally-listed building, the exterior is considered a heritage asset in Colchester and, therefore, any changes were required to be replaced like for like.

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Sponsored by

BEST PROPERTY SMALL DEVELOPMENT SUPPLEMENT AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS AWARD IS LOOKING FOR THE BEST PROPERTY NEWS SUPPLEMENT THAT PROVIDES ACCURATE AND USEFUL INFORMATION, EITHER IN PRINT OR ONLINE, TO HELP FIRST TIME BUYERS ON TO THE PROPERTY LADDER. THE SUPPLEMENT MUST REACH OUT TO AT LEAST 1,000 READERS AND SHOULD PROVIDE REGULAR ARTICLES AIMED AT THOSE LOOKING TO PURCHASE THEIR FIRST HOME.

METRO Metro Property is now an established leader in first time buyer coverage and this weekly property section reaches more than 1.8 million readers and more first time buyers than any other national newspaper. Its award-winning features include: weekly exclusive first time buyer case studies; New Build News pages, keeping househunters abreast of the latest launches; and the popular My First Home series, in which celebrities chat about their journey on to the ladder. Now, there are also frequent first time buyer specials, giving in-depth insights into the first time buyer market. One secured an exclusive chat with the housing minister, just before the introduction of London Help to Buy, and was first to announce a groundbreaking first time buyer scheme by Weston Homes. Meanwhile, a new weekly finance column gives straightforward mortgage advice. As well as inspiration, there’s aspiration, too. Readers can drool over the Property Porn pages, while a new lively Home section features more stylish interiors than ever before.

TIME OUT LONDON Many Time Out readers are not yet on the property ladder, but want to find affordable areas of London that have potential. As a result, their property section features development news, alongside articles with an eye on ‘where’s next?’ which reflect lifestyle interests as well as budget. After all, Time Out is all about making the most of the city! They feel their annual Shared Ownership Week special distills everything about their approach to property. The most recent example (September 2016) takes the reader on a journey: What is shared ownership? How does it work? Who buys through these schemes? What are the properties like? Where can I buy? Now I’m interested, what do I do next? Aware that first time buyers are not property experts, they use a range of devices – including Q&As with people from housing associations, maps and case studies – to demystify the process.

WHATHOUSE? WhatHouse? is a free-of-charge print supplement to Whathouse.com, the UK’s leading specialist new homes portal. The newspaper was launched in December 2013 and they now produce 10 issues a year (monthly February-June and September-December, with bimonthly summer and winter editions), with a typical pagination of 56-72 pages. Some 285,000 copies are printed of each edition. The newspaper covers a wide range of property types and prices, with regular coverage of subjects of particular interest to first time buyers, in special features or supplements, as well as in regular regional and topic spots. Expanding on the newbuild speciality of the portal, the newspaper also embraces re-sale homes and rental markets, as well as monthly columns for topics such as mortgages, interior design and gardening, across a broad budget spectrum. Supplements in 2016 have included affordable homes and first time buyers, as well as buy-to-let, retirement and their own diverse WhatHouse? Awards.

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BEST LAW FIRM FOR CONVEYANCING

FINANCE

THIS AWARD CELEBRATES LAW FIRMS WITH OUTSTANDING CONVEYANCING PACKAGES FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS.

BEAUMONT LEGAL Beaumont Legal constantly works to improve the service it provides to all of its customers, using its experience as one of the country’s largest conveyancing providers to build on how first time buyers can be guided through the process of buying their first home. More than any other group of home buyers, first timers demand more information and quicker service and so, year-on-year, Beaumont Legal improves its technology and the customer service skills of its team to help give customers what they want – fast. Everyone at Beaumont Legal believes that, to provide a good service, you need to work closely with everyone involved in the process – from developers to housing associations, mortgage brokers to estate agents – and the Beaumont team works hand-in-hand with all of its partners to achieve the best service for everyone.

CAVENDISH LEGAL GROUP Cavendish Legal Group (CLG) has been working with property purchasers for over 30 years. CLG has developed from a sole practitioner into the busiest London-based property practice. They have achieved this by adhering to high service standards; sound professional ethics and investment in resources and technology. CLG strives to offer all their first time buyers a professional helping hand through the property buying process. All of the company’s fee earners are legally qualified and understand the time limits involved, and are particularly proud of the ability to work to tight deadlines for both off-plan and build-complete developments. The collective experience of their property lawyers and the fact that every matter is handled by a friendly, approachable and experienced property lawyer means that CLG can quickly and accurately identify the requirements of each individual client, to provide a personal tailor-made service every time. They continue to invest in technology and have been Certificated as Cybersafe by the Conveyancing Association.

LAWCOMM SOLICITORS Lawcomm Solicitors have worked hard to design a first time buyer conveyancing service using years of industry knowledge and feedback from first time buyers. Key benefits include: Fully regulated and professionally insured solicitors firm, with specialist first time buyer, newbuild and shared ownership conveyancing teams already working with major mortgage lenders, housing associations and developers, nationwide; experienced, friendly and communicative first time buyer conveyancers; Law Society approved under the Conveyancing Quality Scheme and audited to ISO9001 standards; easy and quick communication via digital client care packs to avoid postal delays, including e-signatures, online identification verification and secure payment, and a dedicated client portal for clients and third parties to view case progress 24/7; fixed competitive fees available from our website and various comparison sites, with a free no-move-no-fee policy; and fast and efficient completions with the ability to meet completion deadlines.

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BEST FIRST SMALLTIME DEVELOPMENT BUYER APARTMENT AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS AWARD IS FOR AN APARTMENT SUITABLE FOR A FIRST TIME BUYER, WHICH IS AFFORDABLE AND ALSO OFFERS EXCELLENT DESIGN FLAIR, BOTH INSIDE AND OUT.

FAMILY MOSAIC | LENNARD ROAD Family Mosaic created an affordable and high-quality development that appealed to the varying audience of first time buyers. At Lennard Road, a shared ownership development, Family Mosaic successfully created a popular, modern and excellent collection of homes. The development, of 20,000 sqft, compromises 17 one, two and three bedroom apartments. It offers first time buyers, including young professionals, couples and families, a great opportunity to get on to the property ladder, with prices starting at £87,000 for a 30% share of a one bedroom apartment. Well located, Lennard Road has national transport links, retail offerings, restaurants and recreational spaces all on its doorstep. This development provides good quality housing and pleasant open space within an inner city site, in a time where open space is scarce. Family Mosaic have put quality before quantity, in order to respond to the character of the local area.

HOME GROUP | FUSION LONDON Fusion London, on Loxford Road, saw a former chocolate factory site in a wellestablished residential area of Barking transformed by Home Group into a mixedtenure development of modern one and two bedroom apartments. The development offers much needed affordable and shared ownership apartments, giving local people the opportunity to continue to live in the area and commute, with excellent rail links into and across London. Each apartment offers a bright, airy and stylish contemporary living space, giving first time buyers a well needed chance to get on the property ladder, whilst benefiting from green and energy-saving technology. And the design doesn’t stop inside; great creativity has been used to develop the outdoor living space, incorporating fruit trees, gardens, courtyard areas, roof terraces and seating. The gated residential access enhances safety and privacy. The sales success at Fusion London confirms that these stylish, modern and affordable apartments are perfect for first time buyers.

OCTAVIA LIVING | GLADSTONE VILLAGE The Elms at Gladstone Village, London NW2, offers exceptional apartments in a glorious parkland setting, but with everything the capital has to offer in easy reach – and all at affordable prices for first time buyers. It’s unsurprising, then, that these eight shared ownership apartments attracted more than 500 applicants. They’re part of a small, gated, mixed-tenure development right on the edge of picturesque Gladstone Park in northwest London, an area where many first time buyers struggle to buy any property, let alone a high-spec, low-maintenance newbuild in such a covetable location. With striking architecture, design-led interiors and thoughtful landscaping, The Elms comprises the kind of apartments young owners are proud to welcome guests into, and love to come home to. Yet, despite being in a peaceful enclave, it’s just a short walk to local bars, restaurants and shops, and less than 30 minutes on public transport into central London.

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FINANCE

buyer

PEABODY | CARTERS YARD

READERS’ AWARDS

Carters Yard is a stunning development that delivers on uncompromising style and practical living in Wandsworth (travel zone 2). These spacious one, two and three bedroom apartments have been specifically created with first time buyers in mind and offer affordable routes to home ownership, including Help to Buy London and shared ownership. With striking exteriors and unparalleled interiors, these apartments have been considerately designed to challenge the thought that ‘affordable means compromised quality’. With fibre-optic connectivity, open-plan living spaces with engineered oak flooring and private balconies and terraces, designer handleless kitchens, luxurious bathrooms and more, these energy efficient homes truly exceed expectations. Beyond the beautifully secluded communal garden and excellent transport links (Waterloo and Oxford Circus can be reached within 25 minutes), a selection of apartments also benefited from stunning furniture packages provided by interior specialists, up to £19,000-worth of paid stamp duty and a contribution to legal fees – all to ease the burden for first time buyers.

TAYLOR WIMPEY EAST LONDON | ARENA PLACE Taylor Wimpey East London’s Arena Place development in Colchester is one of this leading housebuilder’s most prestigious redevelopment schemes in the country. Based on the site of the former Colchester Garrison, the historic buildings have been retained and refurbished, respecting the existing fabric and minimising interventions and alterations where possible, to create beautiful new homes. The development has a fantastic choice of one, two, three and four bedroom properties, including the uniquely designed one bedroom Plot 33 apartment at Domitian Court. Ideal for first time buyers, this luxurious, refurbished apartment combines traditional characteristics with modern high-specification appliances, to meet the demands of busy contemporary lifestyles. Among this property’s stand-out features are a fully-fitted kitchen with integrated appliances, underfloor heating and beautiful bay windows to both the open-plan kitchen/living/dining room and the bedroom. The new homes at Arena Place are available with Help to Buy, making them more accessible to first time buyers.

VIRIDIAN HOUSING | 6 RIVERLIGHT QUAY One of six eye-catching apartment buildings at St James ‘Riverlight’, 6 Riverlight Quay is set within the Nine Elms regeneration zone. The buildings all feature a wealth of glazing and stunning gull-wing roofs designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners architect, but only in 6 Riverlight Quay will you find 116 unique one and two bedroom apartments available for shared ownership. The one bedroom apartment on the first floor is one such apartment. Triangular in shape, it occupies the apex of this striking building. At 51.8sqm it is perfect for a single young professional, with more storage than you’d expect for an apartment of this size, and the added benefit of a spacious balcony. Offered for shared ownership sale, the 25% share was valued at £156,140, and the minimum deposit required was just £7,807. The total monthly cost has been estimated to be just over £1,100 – less than a similar apartment would cost to rent privately in the area.

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BEST LARGE SMALL DEVELOPMENT AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS AWARD IS FOR DEVELOPMENTS OF MORE THAN 80 HOMES THAT HAVE USED THE BEST DESIGN AND QUALITY TO CREATE AN AFFORDABLE, DESIRABLE AND INSPIRATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AND THAT HAVE PROVIDED ADDITIONAL FACILITIES TO BENEFIT THE LOCAL COMMUNITY AND SURROUNDING NEIGHBOURHOODS. THESE HOMES ARE IN LARGE DEVELOPMENTS IN A MIXED-TENURE ENVIRONMENT, OR STAND-ALONE DEVELOPMENTS.

BARRATT LONDON | HENDON WATERSIDE Hendon Waterside is an impressive regeneration scheme, and part of an exciting series of projects currently transforming the landscape in West Hendon and the local area. In association with the Metropolitan Housing Trust and the London Borough of Barnet, thirty acres of land are being developed to include over 2,000 homes, plus parks and local amenities, all set within beautiful and green surroundings. Located in Zone 3 and adjacent to the Welsh Harp Reservoir, Hendon Waterside is within walking distance of Hendon railway station and Hendon Central Tube station. The development also features a 12-hour on-site concierge service, private outdoor space to all homes and a 23rd-floor viewing gallery, offering a fantastic lifestyle, only a short distance from central London.

EAST THAMES | PROSPECT EAST In up-and-coming Leyton Road E15, Prospect East is the first phase of a major new integrated neighbourhood in Stratford, imaginatively arranged around a central landscape design garden, with incorporated community space. The landmark development comprises a contemporary collection of apartments, duplexes, penthouses and houses, available for private sale and shared ownership. Ideal for first time buyers, the homes offer flexible living, with high-quality interiors, alongside outdoor space in the form of a balcony, terrace, or winter garden. For purchasers who are keen to live in a well-connected London location, Prospect East offers unrivalled affordability. Prices for a one bedroom apartment started from as little as £105,000 for a 30% share. Located against the backdrop of the Olympic Stadium and East Village, the development provides affordable and well-designed homes, in an area in which the Olympic legacy continues to create a distinct and inspiring atmosphere.

HENLEY HOMES | BARNES VILLAGE Barnes Village is a Grade II listed historic site near Stockport, comprising 38 apartments and townhouses – constructed within and attached to a restored French Gothic Revival hospital building – and 117 newbuild, two to four bedroom properties in the 16.5-acre grounds. Barnes Hospital was founded in 1875 and served as a convalescent hospital for the Manchester Royal Infirmary until 1999. It began to fall into dereliction thereafter, despite listed status. Henley’s careful conversion and restoration will bring a new chapter to the old building. Spacious, modern homes, with sharply-pitched roofs and large windows, echo the drama of the old, but with the elegance and convenience of the new. Together, they create a new village with accessible transport connections and pre-existing links to surrounding communities. Prices are from £145,000 (one bedroom conversion apartment) to £425,000 (new four bedroom house); an average of £252 per sqft. Homes are eligible for Help to Buy and completions start in spring 2017.

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Sponsored by

FINANCE

buyer

LATIMER | BANBURY PARK

READERS’ AWARDS

Banbury Park is a striking new mixed-use development in Walthamstow, northeast London, from Latimer. The residential-led scheme offers 350 one, two, three and four bedroom homes, available through shared ownership and private sale, and makes up a significant part of the Blackhorse Road regeneration area. Established on a former industrial estate, homes at Banbury Park successfully integrate the adjoining countryside with the urban area. They are designed to provide the space and facilities necessary for modern city living, that both embraces the current demographic of the area and welcomes new residents. The site brings fresh opportunities to Walthamstow, with state-of-the-art office space, complementary retail units, and sustainable landscape works. Banbury Park has opened up the area and developed a thriving, more attractive place for both residents and businesses, nurturing their wellbeing and the natural setting around them.

L&Q | STADIUM PLACE Located on the site of the former Walthamstow Dog Stadium, L&Q’s Stadium Place is a landmark affordable housing development for east London, offering 99 one to four bedroom, shared ownership apartments, townhouses and maisonettes, plus 95 affordable rent and 99 private rented homes. Revitalising a disused and neglected area, the exceptional new development was designed by multi-award winning Conran & Partners and HTA Architects. It offers a uniquely wide variety of affordable accommodation in an historic setting, alongside first class facilities for the community. The project includes the faithful restoration of the Grade II listed former stadium’s art deco façade, and the complete refurbishment of London’s largest wall of neon. This ground-breaking scheme has received praise from Historic England and attracted the attention of national and broadcast media – restoring an iconic and well-loved east London landmark, as well as creating an aspirational environment for first time buyers.

VIRIDIAN HOUSING | 6 RIVERLIGHT QUAY One of six eye-catching apartment buildings at St James ‘Riverlight’, 6 Riverlight Quay is set within the Nine Elms regeneration zone. The buildings feature a wealth of glazing and stunning gull-wing roofs designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners architects, but only in 6 Riverlight Quay will you find 116 unique one and two bedroom apartments available for shared ownership. With 18 different styles of apartments across 10 floors to choose from, purchasers weren’t short of options. An apartment with a winter garden, with views of the Battersea power station redevelopment, or an apartment with a balcony overlooking the beautifullydesigned landscaped garden, were just two of the options available. Whichever option purchasers went for, they could be certain of purchasing an apartment with an outstanding interior specification, including a contemporary fully-fitted kitchen, with integrated appliances, and a contemporary-style bathroom.

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BEST ONLINE SMALL DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY PORTAL AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS AWARD WILL LOOK AT THE BEST PROPERTY PORTALS THAT OFFER CLEAR, PRACTICAL ADVICE AND EASY NAVIGATION.

MILLER HOMES Miller Homes’ fully-responsive website is not just an online tool, it’s central to their marketing strategy. All features on their website have been designed with the user in mind e.g: when searching for their new home, users receive actual properties for sale in the results and not just a list of the developments Miller Homes are building. Social media logins have been introduced and, once registered, users can choose to receive personalised plot alerts by email or SMS, save their favourite developments and book appointments. They will also be greeted with a personalised message on return visits and their most recently viewed properties will be displayed, alongside those that may be of interest. Miller Homes have ensured all content on the website is fully trackable, clear and engaging, by including lots of videos, interactive development plans, social sharing icons, galleries of photography, virtual tours, development fly-throughs and practical mortgage, Stamp Duty and Help to Buy calculators.

NEWHOMESFORSALE.CO.UK For first time buyers, there are few things as life changing as taking those first exciting steps on the property ladder and finally finding and buying your perfect first home. Newhomesforsale.co.uk is a dedicated new homes portal, featuring properties from the UK’s leading house builders. Newhomesforsale.co.uk is committed to bringing you one step closer to your first house, flat or apartment. With free buying guides and a comprehensive database of homes for sale throughout the UK, finding your ideal new home has now never been easier. You can filter by location, or development, see where your new home is, while also being able to request or download property information and online brochures direct from the developers. Newhomesforsale.co.uk makes your new home search hassle free, by bringing you the most relevant information you need, ensuring you’re the first to learn of new developments being built in your area and the very latest special offers and incentives available from the UK’s leading developers.

ZOOPLA PROPERTY GROUP Zoopla’s vision is to be the consumer champion at the heart of the home and their mission is to be the most useful resource for consumers when finding, moving or managing their home. Zoopla is the UK’s most comprehensive property website, helping first time buyers to research the market and find a home, by combining hundreds of thousands of property listings with market data and local information.

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BEST ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN

FINANCE

THIS AWARD IS FOR THE DESIGN OF A BUILDING THAT EXCEEDS NORMAL ARCHITECTURAL STANDARDS AND MAKES A SUBSTANTIONAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT.

PEABODY | ST JOHN’S WAY St John’s Way is a stunning regenerated development that has transformed the local landscape of St John’s Hill, Battersea. This exciting redevelopment of a tired 1930s estate has revitalised residents’ way of life through unique and robust architectural features, both inside and out. Phase 1 has seen St John’s Way become re-integrated with the wider community after a conscious decision to tear down the walls that once enclosed the forgotten estate. New public space and a convenient, pedestrianised path connect Clapham Junction to Wandsworth Common, creating a dynamic place to live. Each building benefits from its own striking architectural identity, achieved through unique, complementary brickwork. Inspired by local heritage, bespoke brick-relief artwork has also been expertly incorporated into the exterior design to enhance visual interest. The generously-proportioned and sustainable, affordable rent, shared ownership and private sale homes also all benefit from private gardens, balconies or terraces, alongside a landscaped communal garden.

STOCKWOOL | CLOCK HOUSE GARDENS Clock House Gardens transforms a derelict hotel site into an intimate community of 50 new homes within five two and three storey buildings, that combine brickwork with timber cladding and, together, create a central shared courtyard. The design solution responded to the site’s very particular context of the A1(M) motorway on one side and dense woodland on the other, with this modern take on a walled village seeking to reduce noise from the motorway. The high-quality aesthetic makes the scheme a unique and sensitive addition to the built fabric of Welwyn. Clock House Gardens is a totally flatted development, redressing a previous small home shortfall in Welwyn. Key to its success is the careful layering of building form: responding to the harsher environment on the edge of the site with robust brickwork, with a softer treatment of timber and glazing elsewhere to respond to the woodland. All homes are dual aspect to maximise on surrounding views. An extensive landscaping strategy introduces planting and greenery back to the site with the neighbouring lush woodland brought into the development through the large central courtyard.

TAYLOR WIMPEY EAST LONDON | ARENA PLACE At Arena Place, Taylor Wimpey East London has demonstrated how a faithful architectural redevelopment project can dovetail perfectly with newbuild design, to preserve the heritage of – and breathe new life into – an important historical site. The former Administrative Headquarters for Colchester Garrison Artillery Barracks has been transformed into this prestigious new development, with original architectural features of existing military buildings being sensitively maintained, alongside the thoughtful construction of contemporary newbuild homes, which echo appropriate traditional character. The original accommodation and ancillary buildings represent a range of architectural styles and typologies, and their grouping creates an individual piece of townscape which integrates this site into its local environment. As a listed building and heritage asset, Block A – a beautiful Victorian-age Italianate building – required any changes to be replaced like for like, including its stone-detailed third-floor roofline with overhanging eaves. Other notable design features include barrel-vaulted ceilings, timber windows and shutters.

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Sponsored by

MOSTSMALL BEST INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENT MARKETING CAMPAIGN AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS AWARD WILL BE GIVEN TO THE MOST INNOVATIVE MARKETING CAMPAIGN THAT HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT USING ALL FORMS OF MEDIA. ENABLING FIRST TIME BUYERS TO FIND AFFORDABLE HOUSING, GOVERNMENT SCHEMES AND MORTGAGE DEALS.

BARCLAYS

As a long-standing supporter of ftbs and initiatives to tackle unaffordability, Barclays was determined to promote the Government’s London Help to Buy scheme as a preferred lender. To overcome poor awareness and scepticism, Barclays devised an integrated, multi-channel, content marketing campaign to inspire generation renters who felt priced out of the capital. The campaign utilised explainer videos, ATM messaging and in-branch postcards, with SEO work, ultra-engaging content and an online hub which promoted infographics, articles, case studies and an interactive map of the 10 most affordable London postcodes. By using content to inspire hope that people could get on the ladder, Barclays was able to capture around 23% of the London Help to Buy market.

MILLER HOMES

The ‘Taken care of’ campaign was developed to demonstrate that Miller Homes have everything taken care of when buying your first home. Using channels to target an ftb audience, such as social media, property portals, emails, sms and re-targeting, creative messaging highlighted the incentives and support available to ftbs, such as Help to Buy, deposit match, £99 reservation fee and paid legal fees. Innovative messaging also linked to mortgage, Help to Buy and Stamp Duty calculators, video testimonials from other ftbs, blogs and social media content. All content used the hashtag #takencareof to reinforce the message. The campaign has been a great success with engagement on social media, website visits and appointments booked significantly increasing.

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FAMILY MOSAIC

The Gramercy, Greenwich is located in a popular area that has benefited from investment and regeneration. Family Mosaic’s marketing campaign targeted young buyers who were digitally competent, to raise awareness of the southeast London development. This inventive campaign contained one fundamental objective; to secure reservations on 20% of apartments off-plan, prior to a show home being available for viewings, and focused on the development’s locality, where the traditional and contemporary exist together. This was executed through cross-channel programmatic display, Facebook, PPC (pay-per-click), traditional offline media and blogger outreach, exceeding the campaign’s target objectives by reserving 34% of properties.

THE MEDIA PEOPLE

From 15-22 September 2016, Shared Ownership Week helped thousands of aspiring homeowners across the country to find out more about the scheme. A multi-media marketing campaign was aimed at a wide audience across a range of platforms, to promote shared ownership, including: newspapers and magazines; television; radio adverts; social media channels; plus a dedicated website, offering advice, mythbusting tips, buyer stories and information on homes available. The week was complemented by two high-profile events – the London Home Show, and the First Time Buyer Home Show in Manchester. The result was a comprehensive campaign, informing potential purchasers on what shared ownership is, how it works and how it can help them get on the property ladder.

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BEST SHOW SMALL DEVELOPMENT HOME

Sponsored by

AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS AWARD GOES TO THE COMPANY WITH THE BEST SHOW HOME ALLOWING THE BUYER TO SEE THE PROPERTY TO ITS MAXIMUM POTENTIAL, GIVING THEM A REALISTIC INSIGHT INTO THEIR NEW HOME.

EAST THAMES | PROSPECT EAST

Prospect East is the first phase of a major new integrated neighbourhood in Stratford, east London, set around a central landscaped garden. This landmark development comprises a contemporary collection of apartments, duplexes, maisonettes, penthouses and townhouses, available for private sale and shared ownership. The aim was to provide ftbs with an aspirational, yet attainable design. The show home provides a realistic insight into what can be achieved on a first timer’s budget and how to make the most of a new home at Prospect East. The two bedroom maisonette show home, designed by Suna Interior Design, captures the site’s former life as Stratford Works, once the largest railway works in Britain.

ORIGIN HOUSING | BROOKMANS

Brookmans Park in Hertfordshire, is one of Origin’s first entirely private sale schemes to date, which remains accessible for ftbs and families looking for extra space in a leafy, family-friendly environment, a short commute from central London. With an emphasis on quality and style, the forward-thinking housing association have decked out the four bedroom show home with only the highest quality finishes. Creating a truly aspirational environment for ftbs, Origin opted for a palette of neutral on-trend greys, layered with a host of tactile textures. Demand has been high for these exceptional properties and, despite difficult market conditions, at Brookmans, over 50% of the homes are now reserved, outselling similar developments in the area.

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MAGNA GROUP | MAGNA WEST

Founded in 2015 by Chris Madelin and Oliver Mason, Magna Group, the homebuilder, was set up to deliver affordable luxury homes for all. Such a vision has already started to take shape, with exponential growth over the last two years and a current GDV of £103 million. Magna Group is currently building nine luxury developments in Surrey and Hampshire, all offering perfect first home purchases. Magna West in West Byfleet, just 40-minutes from central London, comprises 22 one bedroom units and five duplexes. Fixtures and fittings include NEFF and Miele appliances, high-spec sound and lighting systems, marble bathrooms, oversized shower units and Axor Hans Grohe taps and showers. Lead-in prices for Magna West homes start at £205,000, with Help to Buy options.

PEABODY | THREE COLTS LANE

Located in the heart of London’s East End, Three Colts Lane draws on the creativity of this former industrial area to provide a stylish collection of apartments. Offering shared ownership and Help to Buy London options, Three Colts Lane provides 18 first time buyers the opportunity to purchase a striking, high-spec home in highly sought-after Bethnal Green. Designed by renowned East London design consultancy Studio Morton, the show home reflects the tastes and creativity of ftbs in the area, fusing cool familiarity with high-quality design. Decorated with affordable furniture from high street brands, bespoke artwork by local artists, and finished with a striking colour scheme, the Three Colts Lane show home embodies modern London living.

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BEST FIRST SMALLTIME DEVELOPMENT BUYER FAMILY HOME AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS AWARD IS FOR A FAMILY STARTER HOME WHICH IS AFFORDABLE FOR A FIRST TIME BUYER. IT SHOULD OFFER A COMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENT, AT A REALISTIC PRICE WHICH IS IDEAL FOR FAMILY LIVING.

BARRATT KENT | PHOENIX QUARTER The Helmsley is a highly popular style of family home, created by Barratt Homes at its Phoenix Quarter development in Dartford, Kent, currently available from £365,995. As well as providing generous living spaces across three floors, this highly attractive home design is available with the government-backed Help to Buy equity loan scheme and can be bought with a 5% deposit. From its open-plan kitchen/diner to the three evenly-sized double bedrooms, as well as separate and versatile living spaces, this stylish property ticks all the boxes. Barratt Homes understands that families want sociable, easy to manage, spacious and quality living spaces. With a great transport network on the doorstep, this home offers great value for homebuyers in the South East.

HOME GROUP | LYMINGTON FIELDS Lymington Fields is a cutting-edge, contemporary design in the east London suburb of Dagenham. Home Group is delivering the affordable homes in partnership with Lovell Homes, offering 112 affordable rented and 47 shared ownership, one and two bedroom apartments and two and three bedroom houses. The vision for Lymington Fields is clean, green and a highly sustainable community, where families can flourish and grow. The light, spacious, high-standard family homes all have attractive exterior designs, providing a cosy contemporary living environment. All are Lifetime Homes compliant and some are wheelchair adaptable, truly reflecting a lifetime home for residents, who will be able to grow older in a home that will adapt to their long-term needs. Our scheme is pivotal in providing an affordable opportunity for customers to step on to the property ladder, making the dream of home ownership an achievable aspiration.

LATIMER | BANBURY PARK Banbury Park is a striking, new, mixed-use development in Walthamstow, northeast London. The residential-led scheme offers 350 one, two, three and four bedroom homes through shared ownership and private sale, available with Help to Buy at excellent entry price points for London, catering to the established need for affordable, high-quality family homes in the capital. Banbury Park is a prime location for first time buyer families. Interiors are designed with durability and wellbeing in mind, amplifying light and space. It connects residents to established educational institutions with ease and supports sustainable transport routes. Thoughtful landscaping and site layout at Banbury Park successfully integrates the adjoining countryside with the urban area, providing secluded, safe family living. The site has also brought wider opportunities, with state-of-the-art office space, complementary retail units and sustainable landscape works, opening up the area and developing a stable, more attractive place to settle down.

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Sponsored by

FINANCE

buyer

MILLER HOMES | THE HAWTHORNE

READERS’ AWARDS

The Hawthorne is one of the stand-out family homes at The Gables development in the medieval village of Steventon, in rural Oxfordshire. Ideal for those looking to get a foot on the property ladder, The Hawthorne is a spacious, semi-detached three bedroom home, with many features which make it perfect for family living and luxurious touches not often seen in starter homes. Despite its location in one of the most desirable counties in England, The Hawthorne has been priced with affordability in mind and this has been further increased by availability of offers, such as Help to Buy and contributions towards Stamp Duty. As a result, all of The Hawthorn homes at The Gables sold out within a couple of weeks of their release to first time buyers – demonstrating their popularity with this demographic.

PLUMLIFE | BREARLEY FORGE Plumlife, the sales specialists at Great Places Housing Group, recently launched Brearley Forge, 12 two, three and four bedroomed homes built by Keepmoat in the Parson Cross area of Sheffield. These family houses are the first collection of shared ownership properties created by Sheffield Housing Company (SHC), a joint venture between Sheffield City Council, Keepmoat and Great Places. All semi-detached properties are specifically aimed at family buyers and include modern energysaving systems and contemporary designs. The spacious layouts, consisting of bright kitchens, landscaped rear gardens, well-proportioned bedrooms and two off-road parking spaces, appeal to larger households. A tree-lined park backs the site, which is perfect for young children to play in. Homes were for sale through shared ownership and proved to be a great way for local first time buyers to step on to the property ladder in an established community. Demand was incredibly high and all properties were reserved within 12 weeks of the VIP launch.

ST. MODWEN HOMES | GLAN LLYN Boasting stylish, contemporary house designs, Glan Llyn is proving to be a firm favourite with first time buyers in South Wales. In fact, first time buyers make up nearly 50% of all purchasers; 88% of which have used the Government’s Help to Buy scheme. One of the fundamental reasons why the houses are proving popular is St. Modwen Homes’ belief that first time buyers shouldn’t have to compromise on design or quality. Therefore, the properties include luxury finishes as standard, including French doors, outdoor terraces and Juliet balconies, designer kitchens and chrome fixtures. It’s not just the design of the new homes that’s attracting first time buyers to Glan Llyn; when complete, the development will boast a range of facilities, including new shops, leisure space, a school, doctor’s surgery and employment opportunities. Not to mention that the new homes are surrounded by 80 acres of parkland and new lakes. No wonder 100% of purchasers would recommend Glan Llyn to a friend.

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Sponsored by

BEST NEW BEST SMALL DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT IN THE NORTH AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS BRAND NEW AWARD CATEGORY FOR 2017 IS FOR THE BEST DEVELOPMENT OF ANY SIZE IN THE NORTH OF ENGLAND (BIRMINGHAM AND ABOVE). AN AREA OF THE COUNTRY WHERE HOUSEBUILDING IS INCREASING AND OFFERS A HIGHLY COMPETITIVE MARKET PLACE, THIS AWARD RECOGNISES AN EXCEPTIONAL RANGE OF NEW HOMES THAT STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD, WHILE REMAINING ACCESSIBLE TO FIRST TIME BUYERS.

HENLEY HOMES

Barnes Village is a Grade II listed historic site near Stockport, comprising 38 apartments and townhouses constructed within and attached to a restored French Gothic Revival hospital building, and 117 newbuild, two to four bedroom properties in the 16.5-acre grounds. Henley’s conversion will bring a new chapter to the old building. Spacious, modern homes with sharply-pitched roofs and large windows echo the drama of the old, but with the elegance and convenience of the new, alongside accessible transport connections and links to surrounding communities. Prices start from £145,000 (one bedroom conversion apartment) to £425,000 (new four bedroom house), an average of £252 per sqft. Eligible for Help to Buy, completions start in spring 2017.

PLUMLIFE

Leesbrook View, Plumlife’s development in Lees, was created to appeal to local buyers looking for a semi-rural feel on the outskirts of Oldham. All 22 homes, built by Countryside, cater for a range of buyers, with detached, semi-detached and terraced, two, three and four bedroomed properties available. Abundant gardens echoing the nearby Leesbrook Nature Park, also mean the development is safe and peaceful. The light and modern design, alongside the calm environment created with on-site landscaping, brought strong sales at this site. 57% of reservations were taken off-plan with purchasers buying through shared ownership, outright sale and Help to Buy. Plumlife worked with Oldham Council to ensure only buyers with a link to the area could purchase a home.

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HOME GROUP

This exciting flagship regeneration development has brought a run-down area of old, cramped and outdated properties back to life, replacing them with affordable, modern, three and four bedroom terraced homes, filled with light, space, gardens and energy-saving features. Once complete, the Gateshead development will see 99 uniquely-styled terraced family homes, with 76 for outright sale, 10 shared ownership and 18 affordable rent. Families are delighted with our highspec, bespoke new homes and enjoy the same high standard features, whether they live in affordable rented, shared ownership, or privately owned properties. The area has been brightened through the use of public art. As well as private gardens, residents also have community space.

RIVERSIDE HOME OWNERSHIP

Eardley Park in Congleton is Riverside’s flagship development of 84 affordable homes in Cheshire. With 44 of the properties available through shared ownership, Riverside Home Ownership offers ftbs and other eligible purchasers the opportunity to purchase a home in this highly desirable part of the North West. Traditionally an area of high property values, ftbs in Cheshire have been increasingly priced out of the market. Purchasers at Eardley Park buy the share they can afford and pay a reduced monthly rent on the remainder, with the option to own outright in the future. All properties include high-quality fixtures and finishes throughout, and buyers benefit from advice and support from RHO’s expert team throughout the whole process and beyond.

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Sponsored by

BEST NEW BEST SMALL DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT IN THE SOUTH AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS BRAND NEW AWARD CATEGORY FOR 2017 IS FOR THE BEST DEVELOPMENT OF ANY SIZE IN THE SOUTH OF ENGLAND (BELOW BIRMINGHAM). A HIGHLY COMPETITIVE MARKET PLACE, WHERE THE CONSTRUCTION OF NEW HOMES IS INCREASING, THIS AWARD RECOGNISES AN EXCEPTIONAL RANGE OF NEW HOMES THAT STANDS OUT FROM THE CROWD, WHILE REMAINING ACCESSIBLE TO FIRST TIME BUYERS.

HENLEY HOMES

Rembrandt House in Watford is a unique, historic property of a quality rarely available to ftbs. It has been created from a landmark listed building, with a beautiful Edwardian façade, on a 3.4-acre site. Henley have transformed the high-ceilinged and light-flooded interior into 43 one, two and three bedroom apartments, some with mezzanine levels, while restoring the 120m-long neo-classical exterior. Careful thought was given to maximising space and making a feature of the huge windows, whilst retaining energy efficiency. Ample parking and transport links allow easy connections. Thirty apartments were for private sale averaging £477 per sqft (with only a handful remaining) and 13 are available via Origin Housing Association.

SOUTHERN HOUSING GROUP

The Featherstone is a £32 million urban development in central London, comprising 65 properties, including 46% affordable homes for ftbs, which exceeds normal planning requirements. Southern Housing Group, one of the largest housing associations in southeast England, have commissioned and will be managing the unique collection of one, two, three and four bedroom apartments and duplexes, set across 20 affordable and 35 private sale homes. The Featherstone was developed without government funding, therefore the sale of the open market homes are essential to providing cross-subsidy funding for affordable homes. Southern Housing Group are confident the range of property sizes and tenure will encourage a real mix of residents.

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MAGNA GROUP

Founded in 2015 by Chris Madelin and Oliver Mason, Magna Group, the homebuilder, was set up to deliver affordable luxury homes for all. Such a vision has already started to take shape, with exponential growth over the last two years and a current GDV of £103 million. Magna Group is currently building nine luxury developments in Surrey and Hampshire, all of which offer perfect first home purchases for ftbs. Magna West in West Byfleet, 40-minutes from central London, comprises 22 one bedroom units and five duplexes. Fixtures and fittings include NEFF and Miele appliances, high-spec sound and lighting systems, marble bathrooms, oversized shower units and Axor Hans Grohe taps and showers. Magna West homes start at £205,000, with Help to Buy options.

TAYLOR WIMPEY EAST LONDON

Taylor Wimpey’s brand new Eclipse development in east London is one of the most prestigious and stylish schemes the homebuilder is undertaking in the south of England. Set in Walthamstow, this collection of one, two and three bedroom apartments offers ftbs a fantastic opportunity to step on the property ladder in a highly-desirable part of the capital. As well as being designed to a high specification, the apartments each feature open-plan kitchen/living/dining areas, leading to an elegant private balcony or terrace, and are low maintenance, energy-efficient and require no repairs, or upgrades. Walthamstow has recently undergone extensive regeneration and, with excellent transport links, Eclipse is the ideal spot for young professionals working in the capital.

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Sponsored by

BEST SMALL PRIVATE DEVELOPER DEVELOPMENT OF THE YEAR AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS AWARD WILL FOCUS NOT ONLY ON THE DESIGN AND QUALITY OF THE PROPERTIES BUILT, BUT ALSO ON ALL ASPECTS OF THE DEVELOPER’S PERFORMANCE. www.site-sales.co.uk

BARRATT DEVELOPMENTS

Barratt Homes is the UK’s leading housebuilder, playing a crucial role in the delivery of the shortfall of new homes needed. Taking its commitment to ftbs very seriously, last year Barratt sold around 40% of its new homes to first timers – always going the extra mile to provide a helping hand. Embracing schemes like Help to Buy, Barratt helps thousands of ftbs to buy quality properties in great locations. Continually evolving, developing and redesigning their new homes, and building for the future within vibrant communities, Barratt continues to lead the agenda for housebuilding. The only major national housebuilder to achieve a five-star status for the 7th year in a row for customer satisfaction, Barratt keeps its buyers’ needs at the heart of its business.

SIGNATURE LIVING GROUP

The Signature Living Group is one of the UK’s fastest growing property developers, specialising in long-term and short-term accommodation solutions, residential and hotels. Headquartered in Liverpool, the company is regarded as a serious leader in the redevelopment of ‘forgotten’ buildings, for which it has received major acclaim. The redevelopment of Daniel House, – a former office block – into highly desirable residential apartments, and the transformation of Liverpool’s 60 Old Hall Street into first-class apartment living suited to ftbs, are both staples of the Signature Group’s portfolio. This year, Signature Living Group is set to embark on a greater expansion programme across the UK, with sites earmarked in Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle and London.

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MILLER HOMES

We recognise that buying a new home is a significant lifetime purchase and, with one third of our homes sold to first time buyers annually, we have a strong understanding of this market and a desire to meet its needs. Our success with this demographic is achieved through the delivery of ‘The Miller Difference’, our promise to provide first time buyers with all the help and support needed throughout their customer journey, as well as offering affordable, high-quality homes in places where we are confident they would like to live. We deliver this in a number of ways, with the information and assistance we provide, incentives and offers we have available, regular communication using various methods and channels, and our ongoing commitment to high standards.

TAYLOR WIMPEY EAST LONDON

Part of leading UK housebuilder Taylor Wimpey plc, Taylor Wimpey East London offers a wide selection of highquality, brand new homes at developments across Essex and Greater London. They continue to set the standard for delivering premium homes and superb value for first timers, with apartments, starter homes and affordable, family-size properties to suit all buyers’ needs. Indeed, ftbs comprised 70% of Taylor Wimpey East London’s customers in 2016. Taylor Wimpey East London is committed to maintaining highest standards of health and safety, promoting environmental sustainability and energy efficiency and encouraging innovative design, and experienced sales staff are on hand to assist throughout the homebuying process.

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BEST SMALL DEVELOPMENT AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROVIDER OF THE YEAR AFFORDABLE HOMES

THIS AWARD WILL GO TO AN ORGANISATION THAT HAS SHOWN INNOVATION IN THE WAY THEY DESIGN, BUILD AND MARKET THEIR PROPERTIES AS WELL AS OFFERING A VARIETY OF SERVICES WHICH CAN HELP FIRST TIME BUYERS ON TO THE PROPERTY LADDER.

CATALYST Catalyst is a developing housing association that operates across 40 local authorities in London and the South East. As well as providing housing for the most vulnerable in society, Catalyst recognises how difficult it can be for first time buyers in the current climate and so offers a variety of services and products to make it as easy as possible for customers to purchase their first home. Not only delivering high-quality housing, Catalyst prides itself on its ability to build thriving communities that people genuinely want to live in. Catalyst’s long-term relationship with its customers and its properties means that its approach to housebuilding helps create a sense of place around its developments. All of this is supported through Catalyst Gateway, the organisation’s award-winning social and economic investment arm, that regularly provides life-changing opportunities for customers.

L&Q With a track record in creating truly aspirational homes for first time buyers, L&Q offer a wide range of shared ownership developments to suit a vast spectrum of buyers across the capital and beyond. Having recently completed a merger with East Thames Group, firmly positioning L&Q as one of the UK’s most prominent housing associations, the organisation is dedicated to upping its delivery of new homes – meeting the growing needs of first time buyers in a climate where property prices continue to rise. It has been reported that L&Q is involved in the delivery of approximately one in five new homes in London. The organisation increased its development programme by 24% last year, with an impressive long-term pipeline of up to 100,000 new homes in the next 10 years (an unprecedented level for a housing association). Firmly gripped by its socially responsible routes, L&Q is dedicated to ensuring that a minimum 50% of its long-term pipeline will be affordable.

NEWLON HOUSING TRUST Newlon Housing Trust is an innovative provider of new affordable housing and shared ownership homes, to help people take a first step on the property ladder. Our primary focus is in north and east London and we have been one of the capital’s main providers of new affordable homes for the last decade. We have specialised in developing sites on land that has fallen into disuse. Our recent developments at Cannon Road, Isobel Place and Hale Village showcase our ability to regenerate brownfield sites to create new and sustainable communities. Working with our care and support partner, Outward, we are also one of the very few providers of HOLD, which supports adults with learning disabilities to be able to buy their own home through shared ownership. Also, as part of our commitment to communities we have a dedicated team who support our residents into employment and run local community facilities.

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Sponsored by

FINANCE

buyer

NOTTING HILL HOUSING

READERS’ AWARDS

With a portfolio of over 31,000 homes in 31 of the 32 London boroughs, Notting Hill Housing is one of the capital’s largest housing associations, providing quality homes for those who couldn’t otherwise afford them. Pioneers of shared ownership, Notting Hill Housing is motivated by the positive impact that good-quality, affordable housing has on people’s lives. In the past 12 months, the developer has launched seven new developments, bringing over 200 new homes to London’s property market, with another 265 units to launch in 2017. Offering a variety of properties, from one bedroom apartments to four bedroom houses, available with a range of schemes including shared ownership, shared equity and Help to Buy, first time buyers across the capital can find a home with Notting Hill Housing

ORBIT This year marks Orbit’s 50th year of building communities. The affordable housing expert recently celebrated a major milestone, with 5,000 new homes constructed (since 2013) against its 2020 target of 12,000, and more than 40,000 completed overall. Orbit strives to maximise availability of affordable housing and to deliver well-designed, sustainable homes and communities, at a price people can actually afford. It works in partnership with local planning, development and housing teams, councils, existing customers and other stakeholders, to ensure its schemes meet the real needs of local people. Orbit offers a raft of services, including shared ownership and Help to Buy, to help first time buyers get on the property ladder. Its sales staff are trained to help lower income households access home ownership, and all its properties have affordability, durability and sustainability built into their fabric. Orbit believes that all affordable homes should also be highly desirable and of excellent quality.

THAMES VALLEY HOUSING Thames Valley Housing (TVH) is a forward-thinking and innovative housing association, unlocking new housebuilding opportunities in London and the South East. Through its diverse building model and range of innovative partnerships, TVH builds over 1,500 homes each year. TVH increases homeownership chances for struggling lower and middle incomers and helps people stay in their homes, all while growing the social fabric in communities. Providing a combination of traditional rented housing, private rented sector, shared ownership, key worker, private sale and student accommodation, TVH is changing the perceptions of affordable housing by creating high-quality homes that are tenure-blind, both on the outside and inside. Keen to stay ahead of the curve and demonstrate its genuine care for customers, TVH continually develops its customer journey. TVH has innovated the traditional shared ownership model and is the only housing association to offer the Shared Ownership PLUS scheme. TVH also offers other first time buyer schemes, including Help to Buy, shared ownership and resale.

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BEST SMALL DEVELOPMENT AFFORDABLE HOMES

buyer

HOW TO VOTE

READERS’ AWARDS

VOTE NOW FOR YOUR FAVOURITE IN EACH CATEGORY AT FTBAWARDS.COM AND YOU COULD WIN £250 IKEA VOUCHERS! Voting closes at midnight on 10 April 2017. FTB Award winners will be announced during the Awards Lunch at the Waldorf Hilton in London on 21 April 2017. A full list of winners will be published in the June/July issue of First Time Buyer.

TERMS & CONDITIONS • • • •

Your details will automatically be entered in a free draw to win £250 Ikea vouchers. Voting closes on 10 April 2017. The winner of the vouchers will be notified by email. Voting is open to First Time Buyer readers, aged 18 and over, with the exception of employees of shortlisted nominees, their immediate families, agents, or anyone else associated with the administration or production of these awards. Random authenticity checks will be made.

SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL OF OUR SPONSORS

Pre and post drinks sponsor

www.site-sales.co.uk

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Juicy

COMPETITION

WIN

Does it!

!

AS SLOWTELLAR WOR JUICER TH £ 200

HOW TO ENTER Step into the slow lane with a Stellar slow juicer, for the ultimate home-juicing experience Not only does fresh fruit taste delicious, it makes a really healthy addition to anyone’s diet, helping to succeed in getting those important five-a-day. When it comes to nutritional content, however, there’s juice and then there is cold-pressed juice and, if you are looking for the healthiest option, with the least waste, but maximum taste, it’s cold-press all the way. The new slow juicer from Stellar uses a cold-press technique, gently pressing fruits, vegetables and herbs, so that the juice is extracted with the minimum oxidation, meaning that it lasts longer and contains more nutrients and enzymes. Using stainless steel micro-fibres, the slow juicer ensures that drinks are perfectly smooth, while providing a far superior juice extraction when compared to traditional centrifugal juicers. It has a powerful, yet quiet motor, meaning it works efficiently, and can produce a tasty juice in minutes. The smart drip-prevention cap and separate jug for dry pulp means it is messfree and the device has also been designed for easy cleaning – just pour water through the system between uses. A bespoke scrubbing brush is also provided for any touch adhesions. The slow juicer ticks all the right boxes – it is healthy, efficient and cost effective and will make your fruit go further.

Answer the following question:

What technique does the Stellar slow juicer use? Send your answer with your full name, address and telephone number to: lynda@firsttimebuyermag.co.uk Closing date: 1 March 2017

THE PRIZE… THERE ARE 2 PRIZES OF A STELLAR SLOW JUICER – WORTH £200 EACH T&Cs The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternatives will be given. Competition is open to UK residents only.

www.stellarcookware.co.uk 0117 940 0000

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FIRST MEAL

FIRST HOME, FIRST MEAL Mark Rush, Head of Food Innovation at Revolution Bars Group, creates a flavoursome, healthy and colourful, warm super-grain salad, with pulled chicken. The perfect choice for a lunch or supper with friends and family

WARM SUPERGRAIN SALAD WITH PULLED CHICKEN

Ingredients (Serves 4)  4 small chicken breasts,         

     

skin removed ½ mango 1 lime 1 red pepper 1 red onion 1 green pepper 10ml vegetable oil 200g cooked beetroot, cut into wedges 10g rose harissa 1 x 250g packet of mixed cooked quinoa, lentils and wheat berries 100g Greek feta Pinch of coriander seeds Pinch of cumin seeds Pinch of mustard seeds 10g fresh mint 10g fresh parsley

Garnish  1 pomegranate  Drizzle of cold pressed extra

virgin olive oil

PREPARATION: This dish is all about texture, colour and flavour, so be sure to put everything into the mix and it will taste sensational. METHOD 1

Prepare and dice the peppers and onion to bite-sized pieces. Drizzle with a little vegetable oil and season, then roast them in a hot oven at 220c with beetroot wedges for around 10 minutes, or until they are a little charred. 2 Season and grill the chicken breasts. Next you need to pull the chicken, so use two spoons to pull the breasts into thin strips and toss then back together. 3 Prepare and dice the mango and blitz it to a puree with the juice from the lime. 4 Crumble the Greek feta, chop the herbs and de-seed the pomegranate. 5 Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl, apart from the pomegranate seeds and the cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, as we need them to garnish the dish at the end. (At this stage the mix can be kept in the fridge until you want it). 6 Heat the mix in the microwave to warm through. At this stage, the feta will go all jammy and melt into the mix, bringing it all together when you stir it at the end. 7 Spoon the warm mix on to the plates and garnish with pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.

Mark Rush is Head of Food Innovation at Revolution Bars Group PLC, parent company of Revolution Bars and Revolución de Cuba. With over 20 years’ experience and a plethora of industry awards to his name, he is a driving force within the expanding bar group. Mark took on his current role at Revolution Bars Group PLC in 2013. He leads a team of one development chef and two area chefs and consistently drives forward the food offering at both Revolution Bars’ and Revolución de Cuba’s 66 UK sites, embracing current trends from across the world. Mark began his career in the Royal Navy in 1992, where he gained classic culinary training at St Omer Barracks. During his time in the Navy, Mark cooked for the Royal Family and foreign dignitaries, and was awarded the former Yugoslavia’s Peacekeeping Medal in 1994. After leaving the Navy in 1997, Mark spent two years working and travelling across Ibiza, Mexico and Central America, before returning to his native Northampton as Head Chef at The Greyhound Inn. In 2000, Mark moved into the world of food development, carrying out several roles across the UK, focusing on business, menu and product development for a host of brands. In 2007, Mark joined Pizza Express/Gondala Group as Head of Food, playing a central role in the creation of exciting and innovative menus for 360 restaurants. From here, Barracuda Group recruited Mark, where he focused on product development and supplier relationships for the group’s 200+ pubs and bars.

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LEASEHOLD

FIRST TIME BUYERS CLUB

You cannot open a paper, or turn on the news, without mention of housing in some context or other. For the residential professionals, 2017 will herald a new Housing White Paper and this is eagerly expected. The Law Commission are looking at leasehold property and engaging with the profession as to areas needing improvement, or change. There is also no shortage of initiatives to aid the first time buyer and this is really exciting For any first time buyer, the prospect of getting on the housing ladder is exciting, but equally scary and challenging. The Government is certainly focused on how to aid and deliver housing stock that will facilitate your first step. The latest initiative sees a commitment for developments of houses only for first time buyers. It is essential, of course, that the first time buyer is equipped with all the knowledge they need, to be able to take on the commitment of owning a home with eyes wide open and aware of their liabilities and responsibilities. For housing estates, it is increasingly common to find they are sold with leasehold tenure. This means you own the property for a term of years under a contract called a lease, which provides specific obligations and liabilities. The reasons for this can be manyfold; it could be because the estate roads and land remain private with the houses and need maintaining, therefore the leasehold facilitates the governance and management of those areas; it could be because the developer owns the land leasehold; or it could just be that the developer is wanting to sell the ground rent income stream as well as selling the houses. This can be a lucrative source of income for the developer. Whatever the reason, if you buy a leasehold house, it is worth preparing yourself to understand your rights and responsibilities. It is always worth doing this, but especially

with houses, because the landlord and tenant legislation that exists generally does not offer as much protection for leasehold houses as it does for flats. For example, if you have a leasehold house, you cannot challenge the service charge at First-tier Tribunal for reasonableness, which you can with a service charge for a flat. If leasehold houses are to continue to multiply, then there needs to be some form of action from the Government with regard to legislative governance. For example, it would be very easy to remove all residential statutes and put in a place a single Act, which covers all the existing provisions that are operable. Over the years, as legislation is layered on top of itself, parts of Acts become redundant and parts of Acts become superseded. Therefore, a consolidating Act would put everything in one place and remove a heap of statutes from the legislative books. A

consolidating Act would also facilitate the extension of provisions to cover houses as well as flats, thereby affording leasehold house owners protection. There’s always Commonhold that could be promoted for houses with estate management. It is generally considered that the current legislation from 2002 is flawed and needs amendment to make it work. It would also require a wide-ranging education process, to ensure that all areas of the residential market understands the tenure type. Curently, there are only around 16 buildings held in Commonhold. Mortgage companies do not understand them and are reluctant to lend on them, while estate agents see them so rarely, that they do not appreciate what it offers. The need for educating the market should not preclude the use of Commonhold, but without parliamentary intervention, it will be hard

Roger J Southam, Non-Executive Chair of Leasehold Advisory Service

to see its widespread use – especially as developers have the option of selling the ground rent income stream that leasehold can offer. Consistent professional standards in property management are the other part of the jigsaw that is needed. An organisation called ARMA (Association of Residential Managing Agents) is doing good work in professionalising the residential property managers, however, they only account for around 25% of the market place. Anyone can set up as a managing agent, without any knowledge, controls, or professional indemnity insurance. When service charge monies collected from a site can amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds, then it is worrying. I do not know of any other industry or profession where the public’s money is taken without the need for control or regulation. Therefore, whilst Parliament generally dislikes regulation and has eased a lot of controls over the last couple of decades, it would be sensible to see regulation introduced in this arena. As we move through 2017 and ftbs are wooed and seduced by estate agents and developers to fill the homes coming their way, perhaps a thought or two on ‘what do I need to know?’ ‘How can I best educate myself?’ Of course, the guides on the Leasehold Advisory Service website are always there to help and educate. lease-advice.org

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FINANCE

Credit Clinic

Experian expert, Joe Green,, answers your credit-related questions If you have a question for Joe, please get in touch by emailing us at lynda@firsttimebuyermag.co.uk and you may see your question answered in the next issue.

Minimum payments I recently heard that, if you only make the minimum repayments on your credit card, it can affect your credit score. I currently only make the minimum payments each month on my two credit cards, as a first time buyer, will this affect my ability to get a mortgage? Ollie Garnett When you have a credit card, your main priority should be to stay within your credit limit and to make at least the minimum repayment every month. If you have any late or missed payments on either of your credit cards in the past six years, this is likely to impact your credit score, meaning that any credit you do apply for and manage to get might cost you more money. Credit card providers actually share a little more information than other lenders, through credit reference agencies like Experian. This can include details of whether or not you are making just the minimum repayment each month. If you do this on a regular basis, it could, combined with other information, suggest you might be struggling with your finances – unless you were benefitting from a cheap promotional interest rate, in which case, making the minimum payment is not seen as a warning sign. So it’s worth bearing this in mind. In the run-up to you applying for a mortgage, it could be worth, if you can, trying to pay down your balances as low as possible, as some lenders look at how much you are using of the credit you have available. Using no more than 50% of your credit limit could help – certainly try to avoid maxing out any single account.

How many searches? I am saving up for a deposit on my first home, and I want to get the best available mortgage deal possible.

However, I have been told that too many searches on my credit report can impact my credit score, so how do I get the best deal possible without affecting my credit score? Nick Richardson Too many searches on your credit report can affect your credit score, but it’s only searches created by applications for credit that lenders are interested in. Every time you make an application for credit, the lender will usually carry out a full credit check, which will leave a ‘footprint’ visible to other lenders. One or two footprints are unlikely to cause you problems, but a rush of recent credit report searches may worry prospective lenders as this is often a sign of financial stress, or even fraud. The effect of any footprint on your credit report is usually very short-lived as lenders are generally only interested in recent applications. After 12 months, they drop off your credit report altogether, but some credit reference agencies will retain them for two years. To avoid any visible footprints being registered on your credit report, it’s important to find the best deals suitable for you, using price comparison websites. Many lenders will be able to give you a credit quotation, which will give you an indication of whether you may be accepted and, if they need to check your credit report to provide this, the footprint this leaves behind won’t affect your credit score. An agreement in principle will leave a hard search, which other lenders will be able to see on your credit report – so it’s important to be aware of this.

Payday Loan I recently had a payday loan to help cover the costs of Christmas. Does this type of borrowing show up on my credit report? Will it affect it negatively as it’s a subprime loan? Laura Shawbell Taking out a payday loan to cover the cost of Christmas is certainly not uncommon,

even if it could be a very expensive way of borrowing over the festive period. If you have repaid your payday loan on time and in full, then any effect on your credit score might even be positive. This is because many payday and other short-term loan providers regularly share customer records with all three credit reference agencies. Importantly, when lenders check your credit report they are looking for evidence that you are a responsible borrower. Each lender’s own assessments will be based on how its past customers, who had used short-term credit when they made their applications, went on to behave. You may be worried about speculation in the press on whether customers who’ve used payday and shortterm loans are being refused mortgages, but the truth is, each lender will assess your credit history using its own criteria. While some may see a successfully settled and well-managed payday loan as a positive, there may be some lenders that might disagree. However, many lenders won’t differentiate between these and other forms of credit, provided you have managed them properly. It’s important that you make sure you continue to manage all your credit accounts sensibly, making payments on time and keeping within the agreed limits. If you can, it’s also sensible to try to refrain from applying for any other credit in the months leading up to your mortgage application. Taking all of this into consideration could be the key to a successful application. Before committing to a mortgage deal, you need to get yourself in the best possible position, so take some time to understand your current position by checking your credit report, and then you can start taking some steps to ensure it is in the best shape to support your mortgage application. You can check out our Mortgage Application Guide for more useful tips: experian.co.uk/ consumer/guides/mortgage-application.html

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Mortgage Clinic As a first time buyer, understanding mortgage terminology and knowing what mortgage is right for you can be difficult, so David Blake at Which? Mortgage Advisers has joined up with First Time Buyer to answer your mortgage-related questions

Q

What impact has the end of the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme had on first time buyers? David Blake has more than nine years experience in the financial services industry and prides himself on helping first time buyers get on to the property ladder. In his current role at Which? Mortgage Advisers, David and the entire team provide independent, impartial advice and search thousands of mortgage deals, to help buyers find the deal that is right for them.

A

The end of the Government’s Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme is an interesting time for mortgages. We are yet to see exactly what lenders may change for those with a 5% deposit, however, the initial outlook for first time buyers remains positive. Many lenders are continuing to offer 95% mortgages – clearly demonstrating that lenders have a strong appetite to lend. There are other schemes available to those with smaller deposits, such as the Government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme. The scheme is available to those buying a newbuild property. You put down a deposit of at least 5% and the Government lends you up to 20% of the property’s value as an equity loan, allowing you to take a 75% mortgage. Some lenders also offer family assist mortgages, where family members can take a charge against their own property, or provide part of the deposit direct to the lender, to enable children to step on to the property ladder. These products are very innovative, clearly showing that some lenders are thinking outside the box when it comes to traditional lending and trying to help those who need additional support.

Q

How long do mortgages take to arrange? What steps do I need to go through to get one?

A

Every case is different and so lenders will take need to undertake different levels of assessment. That said, on average, a mortgage application from start (application) to finish (offer) typically takes around two to four weeks. During this two to four week period, the mortgage lender will decide whether to approve you as the borrower and, if so, will conduct a valuation of the property. Often, you can significantly cut down the amount of time your mortgage

application takes by making sure you have all your documents to hand. To apply for a mortgage, the minimum you will need to have proof of is: ID (passport or driving licence), proof of address (driving licence, bank statement, or utility bill), proof of income (latest three months’ payslips and p60, or, if self-employed, latest two years accounts, or tax calculations), proof of deposit (bank statement) and proof of your bank account conduct (latest three months’ bank statements). The first part of any mortgage application is to obtain an agreement in principle (sometimes referred to as a lending certificate, proof of your mortgage funding, or a decision in principle), which is where the mortgage provider will check your credit rating, assess your income and expenditure and provide you with a generic answer as to whether they can lend to you. Remember, this initial ‘yes,’ doesn’t guarantee the mortgage lender will lend to you, or lend you the amount you have requested. We speak to lots of people who get an initial yes from a lender, but that initial yes turns into a no during the

underwriting stage. Therefore, it’s no surprise that most mortgages these days are arranged through mortgage brokers, as opposed to people arranging them directly. Of course, by using a mortgage broker, you are not only likely to save yourself time, you are more likely to be successful with your application first time, because they will make sure your documents are in order and you’re in the best possible position to apply. In a fast-paced property market, this can make the difference between you buying the property you want and missing out.

Q

I am a first time buyer thinking about buying, but I don’t know where to start. Can you help?

A

Most first time buyers will really benefit from taking independent advice before buying their first home – both on what their options are and who offers the best deals. Our expert mortgage advisers will search thousands of mortgage deals made available to us and pick out the one that’s right for your circumstances. They’re paid a salary – not a sales commission – so you can have confidence that you’ll receive truly impartial advice that’s right for you, not advice that’s right for us. Our independent advisers will be able to talk you through the next steps you will need to take in order to get yourself into the best position to buy. For further help and advice from Which? Mortgage Advisers, please visit which.co.uk/ ftbmortgages, or call 0808 159 4852

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EXPERT COMMENT With interest rates languishing at historical lows for several years and recently cut even closer to zero, it is all the more important for young people to ensure that they get on top of their finances and don’t put their heads in the sand. By taking action and putting their money to work now, young people can put themselves in a better position to turn dreams for the future into reality. One of the toughest financial challenges facing young people today is the low interest rate environment. Whereas their parents might have been lucky enough to earn more than 5% in a savings account in their younger days, people in their twenties now,

Better late than never Steep increases in house prices have meant that many people are now buying their first homes later in life. Kay Hill looks at the phenomenon and considers how to buck the trend

who are saving up for their first home, will be lucky to earn 0.5%. This means that people risk making a loss in real terms after they factor in inflation, which currently stands at 1%. But it’s no longer a binary choice between pitiful bank returns, or taking your chances on the stock market. Investing via a peer-to-peer lending platform, for example, does involve risk, but, in exchange, you can access healthy returns, which can help your money grow over time. Rhydian Lewis Co-founder and CEO, RateSetter

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Fifty years ago, the average age of a British house buyer was just 23; now in parts of the country buyers are likely to be in their mid-30s before they are able to purchase a property and, even in the most affordable areas, the average age is 27. Of course, social changes have played a big part in this. In the 1960s, most people left school at 15, with only 7% staying on for A-levels and less than 4% attending university. Today, around 40% take A-levels and more than 30% go on to university. Add in the fact that the average age of marriage has increased from 22 to 30 in that time, and it’s fairly obvious that both job security and the desire to take on a mortgage has been put back by several years. However, by far the biggest factor in this shift has been the sheer cost of getting on

the housing ladder – it is not a coincidence that there is a strong correlation between house prices, earnings and buyer ages. A new report by Halifax, for example, reveals that, while across the country the average age of first time buyers is 30, this varies dramatically; from 27 years old in Carlisle in the North West and Torfaen in Wales, up to 34 years old in nine areas of London and the South East. Housing affordability in an area can be measured by how many multiples of the average local annual salary you would need to buy the average local house. In the UK as a whole, this ratio is 5.8, but in Torfaen it is just 4.1. At the other end of the scale, in the areas with the highest first time buyer age of 34 the ratio stretches from 6.7 in Hastings and 7.4 in Windsor,

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THE PROBLEM IN FIGURES:

 The average age of a first time buyer in the early 1960s was 23, whereas most people saving for a house today expect to be 35 before they will actually purchase. Source – Post Office Mortgages  The national average age of a first time buyer is 30 – the youngest first-time buyers are 27 in Carlisle in Cumbria and Torfaen in south Wales, while the oldest average first time buyers are aged 34 in Slough and parts of London. Source – Halifax  The proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds who are owner-occupiers has fallen from 59% to just 36% in the past 10 years. Source – Property Millionaires: The Growing Housing Divide, report for Santander  In 1991, 65% of 25- to 34-year-olds in England who were household heads had bought their own home. By 2012 that figure had declined to 45%, while among 35- to 44-year-olds it was down from 80% to 65%. In the 1980s, one in three household heads aged 16-24 could afford to buy their own home, compared to just one in 10 today. Source – Office of National Statistics  Just 26% of those currently aged 20-39 will own their own home by 2025, whereas 64% of those born in the 1960s owned a house by the time they were 35. Source – PwC  A survey of 2,200 adults who had never owned a home found that a third believed they would never own a property, rising to two thirds amongst 45- to 54-year-olds. Source – comparethemarket.com

EXPERT COMMENT There has been a marked widening in the north/south property divide over the past two decades as prices per square metre have risen by 432% over this period in Greater London – more than twice the increase in areas outside of southern England. The majority of areas in the country, where the average age of first time buyers is below the national average of 30, are outside southern England,

up to an eye-watering 10.6 in Ealing. Demand for home ownership is as healthy as ever – a YouGov poll of 2,000 adults for the Council of Mortgage Lenders found that 80% wanted to be homeowners within 10 years – but there is a real fear of missing the boat. Research by comparethemarket.com found that, while two thirds of non-homeowners were confident that they would one day be owner occupiers, among those who had reached the age of 45, only a third still believed they could achieve that dream. So, what practical steps might you take to ensure that you aren’t still paying off your mortgage when you’re drawing your pension? Relocate: It may not be possible for everyone, but if you aren’t irrevocably tied to an area by your job or family commitments, then why not consider moving somewhere with a lower salary to house price ratio? You might not get such a big wage packet as you would in the City, but when you can buy a home for less than three times the average salary in parts of Scotland and Cumbria and less than four times in areas of northern England and Wales, it is definitely worth going to take a look. Join forces: So you haven’t met Mr Right yet? You don’t need to be partnered, or

married to buy a property – many mortgage companies will consider applications from small groups of friends, or siblings, who want to help each other get on to the property ladder. Make sure you get professional legal advice though. Increase income: The more you can earn, the quicker that deposit will mount up, so consider if you could take on overtime, or a part-time job, to supplement your main income. Don’t forget that, from April, there are two new tax allowances for Trading and Property income of £1,000 each, so you can earn a bit extra, tax free. Maximise savings: Can you cut back on your expenditure to put more aside? From little things like making your own packed lunch right up to moving back in with mum and dad to cut down on rent, every pound saved is a step closer to your goal. Also, make sure you are earning the best return on your deposit savings. Mortgage options: With house prices still increasing rapidly, if all that’s standing between you and your dream home is not enough deposit, or a slightly too low income, you might want to consider your mortgage options. While you will pay a higher interest rate for a high loan-to-value mortgage, and more overall for a longer than average 30or 35-year mortgage term, if the alternative is being forever priced out of the market, it might be a price worth paying.

mostly locations where house prices are lower, both in monetary terms and in relation to earnings – helping to reduce the size of the deposit needed. Although potential first time buyers are facing escalating house prices and deposit sizes, record low mortgage rates continue to make buying seem a more attractive option than renting. Our Halifax Generation Rent report found that non-homeowners aged 20-45 are prepared to save for around five and a half years for a deposit, while the average deposit paid by first time buyers increased by 13% in 2015 to £32,927. With the youngest average first time buyer now aged 27 in some areas, this is a stark reminder of how early aspiring homeowners should start thinking about what they will need to get on to the property ladder.

Chris Gowland Mortgages Director, Halifax

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MARKET

No fee, no win? Last Autumn’s statement brought the news that upfront tenant fees charged by letting agents are to be banned. It sounds like good news for renters trying to save for a deposit, but opinion is divided on what 2017 holds for renters and first time buyers Anyone who’s ever rented will know only too well the financial hardships that come with renting. Paying rental fees upfront are a major bugbear, with letting agents often taking full advantage, leaving would-be tenants with little idea of just exactly what they are paying for and with even less chance of recouping costs. Philip Hammond’s Autumn statement was widely interpreted to contain legislation aimed at ‘helping the little guy’, by targeting letting agents and axing all fees paid by the tenant, such as negotiating the tenancy, references, inventories and drafting contracts. However, whilst the proposed legislation aims to make renting more affordable, some experts are warning that affordability will become even more elusive and that rogue landlords will continue to flout the law, whilst reputable agencies find their financial burden increases.

of mortgage tax relief for landlords – which comes into force in April 2017 – and thinks this may result in substantial losses for landlords, leading them to leave the rentals market altogether. Whilst the ban on lettings fees still requires government consultation before it’s fully implemented, the impact on the UK housing market could be far-reaching. Agents warn that the proposals are naive as landlords will simply recoup any losses by hiking up rents. Critics believe that this is yet another unwelcome and haphazard government intervention in the rental market, which could lead to a backdoor rent rise for tenants. Paul Smith of Haart estate agents estimates that rents will, on average, increase by £21.25 per month, which is an extra £255 a year, as a direct result of this change – with tenants in London likely to be even worse off.

FOR AND AGAINST THE PROPOSALS

WILL LANDLORDS LEAVE THE MARKET OR LEAVE LONDON?

The charity Shelter spearheaded the campaign to abolish fees which they deemed ‘unfair and unnecessary’, but several politicians have since weighed into the debate with Baroness Hanham, (Parliamentary Undersecretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government) stating that the Government does not support a blanket ban on fees which she believes will ‘drive up the cost of rents’. Lettings agents are invariably against the proposals. Belvoir Lettings has a network of 300 franchised offices nationwide and predict a 15% rise in rents over the next three years, as a result of the legislation. The agent blames what it sees as a ‘raft of recent anti-landlord government policies’ over the past year, such as the increase in Stamp Duty costs for second home owners, the introduction of tougher mortgage lending criteria and the removal

Wider concerns are that targeting landlords and letting agents will result in less rental properties on the market and, therefore, price hikes as demand outstrips supply. Assetz Property, a buy-to-let estate agency with over 100,000 investors, are forecasting more conservative rent rises of 4% over the next year, as landlords seek to cover the impact of the new mortgage interest tax and capitalise on some potential reduction in the size of the rental property market. Assetz’ Stuart Law says that the UK’s rental sector has experienced what he calls a “sea change” over the past year as canny investors recognise that the North, not London, is where the best yields can be found. He notices that many buy-to-let investors started selling up in London last year and believes that this could increase throughout 2017. Law sees landlords reducing their mortgage debt by using cash,

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or by getting smaller mortgages in higher yielding locations, where property prices are cheaper, such as Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and other regional cities.

DEMAND FOR RENTED ACCOMMODATION RISES As more people are priced out of the property market, more renters means that good-quality rental homes are in short supply. Belvoir’s recent research revealed that 88% of offices had reported an increase in demand for houses to rent. Research shows that 86% of tenants – around six million households – had less than the £8,838 needed for a 5% deposit on the average home and are therefore unlikely to be able to buy a property. Overall, the agent says that the Government’s failure to increase the availability of social housing for rent has resulted in a real shortage of good-quality rental accommodation in the private rental sector.

ARLA’S PREDICTIONS FOR 2017 According to the Association for Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the number of new rental properties coming on to the market will fall in 2017, as a result of the increased Stamp Duty surcharge on additional properties. A survey of agents showed that over a third believe supply will drop. Over half of member agents expect rent prices to increase in 2017 as lower stock levels, combined with mortgage interest relief and the ban on letting agent fees, puts upward pressure on rents. ARLA agree that demand for rented homes will continue to rise and, with less stock available for prospective tenants, competition will be high in 2017. The association believes that, due to the rise in landlord taxes in 2016, landlords may be forced to sell some, or all of their buy-to-let properties and exit the market.

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MARKET

EXPERT COMMENT While the announcement of the abolishment of lettings fees appears to be good news for renters, experience shows that any savings to the tenant will likely be passed on to the landlord, who, in turn, could then pass them back on to the tenant through increased rent as they seek to cover their costs. This legislation is short sighted and is yet a further challenge to landlords who have faced a barrage of increased costs over recent months. We’ve seen a consistent reduction in the number of landlords buying

For prospective new investors, it will be more difficult to obtain buy-to-let funding in 2017, as lenders up their criteria.

THE PICTURE IN SCOTLAND Scotland have already banned letting agency fees and, following a reinforcement of the ban, a review by the Association of Residential Letting Agents found that many agents have gone out of business, raised fees to landlords, or that tenants’ rents have risen. Another Scotland-based organisation found that many agents simply flouted the law and continued to charge tenants fees.

GAP BETWEEN LONDON RENTS AND THE REST OF THE COUNTRY NARROWS For the first time since 2010, rents outside London have risen faster than in the capital, according to research by Countrywide Lettings PLC. The average London rent is now 60% higher than in the rest of the country, down from 62% in 2015. Last November, London rents fell 0.7% year-onyear and 11% of homes let in London saw a cut in asking rent – this compares to 5% in 2015. Over the course of the last year, London has gone from the region with the second fastest rate of rental growth in Great Britain to the slowest. Countrywide say that the narrowing gap between London rents and those in the rest of the country has been driven by a surge in the number

of homes available to rent in the capital. In November there were 32% more homes to rent in London than 12 months ago, while the number of would-be tenants rose by just 9%.  Rental growth has been driven by northern England; the North East, North West and Yorkshire & The Humber. Taking these three regions together, rents have risen faster than in any other part of Great Britain. A quarter (25%) of tenants renewing their contract in northern England saw their rent increase in November 2016, up from 16% in the same month of the previous year.  

investment properties since April this year, which means that fewer rental properties are now coming on to the market to serve the growing rental population.

Nick Leeming Chairman, JacksonStops & Staff

EXPERT COMMENT

MORTGAGE AFFORDABILITY AND IMPACT UPON THE RENTED SECTOR

The buy-to-let market is suffering,

Many agents believe that rents are likely to rise considerably faster than house prices and are calling on the Government to reverse the recent changes, or bring in incentives to help drive up the supply of rental properties, – which, in theory, could bring down rents and benefit tenants, making for a healthier rental sector. Agents warn that improving mortgage affordability criteria has recently become more stringent, and this is one possible solution to the issue, rather than bringing in punitive landlord legislation. Another problem with the recent ban on letting agency fees is that details so far have not yet been clarified and no timescale has been given, causing uncertainty among letting agents and landlords.

across the UK, and by 60% in

with Haart data showing that the number of landlords registering to buy has fallen by 25% annually London. We’re creating a timebomb for ‘generation rent’ by pushing landlords out of the market, as well as undermining housebuilders’ pipelines by cutting demand. The Government should concentrate on getting the market moving again, not penalising landlords – we don’t want to wait until the situation on the ground reaches a crisis point.

Paul Smith CEO, haart estate agents

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EXPERTS

Agony agent Our readers put their property questions to our guest panel of experts: solicitors, mortgage advisers, property gurus and Help to Buy providers

THIS MONTH’S PA N E L O F E X P E R T S

Gethin Lloyd Residential Conveyancing Partner, Knights

Photo © McVirn Etienne

Chris Madelin CEO, Magna Group

Simon Scott Head of Sales and Marketing, Origin Housing, and Chairman of the London Home Ownership Group (LHOG)

T E S T T H E PA N E L

We need your questions... If you have any queries, or difficulties in understanding the property buying process, our panel of experts is waiting to help. Send our team your questions on buying property, Help to Buy, legal issues, or your financial problems and we’ll find the best person from the panel to give the advice you need. Email your questions to: lynda@firsttimebuyermag.co.uk

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What should I look for in my first home?

Q

I am a first time buyer and I am about to start looking around to see what I can afford. As I have never done this before, could you advise me on what I should look for in my first home? Beth Harley, Streatham

A

I think the most important thing for every first time buyer to remember is that your first home is an investment. For some of you, ‘falling in love’ with your first home may steer you down the wrong path. Here are some key practical considerations that you should take into account: 1) Location – Where is the property located? Are there close transport links nearby? What is noise pollution like? What type of shops are on the high street? If you are close to a train station, this means more accessibility for yourself and potential tenants further down the line. Find out what growth or plans are in place for the local are, and try to visit the property during the day and at night to get a feel for the locality. 2) The Building – If you are paranoid about security, opt for a first floor flat, or above.

Bear in mind that, in some conversions, the person who lives just under the roof may be responsible for roof repairs and also annoying access from satellite engineers. If the flats have a lift, this may be a costly part of service charges. Is the property listed? 3) The Specification – Most first time buyer apartments may offer as little space or added value as possible, to maximise bottom-line homebuilder ROI (return of investment). Why not consider a Magna Group property, where affordable luxury is a pre-requisite for every home. Also, make sure you find out what fixtures and fittings are included and check things like water pressure, the state and size of windows and whether the quality of the shower unit, or bath is up to scratch? 4) Costs – Do the figures stack up? Can you afford your new home on your own as a one bedroom apartment, or could you stretch to a second bedroom and possibly rent out the spare room? What is the service charge and Council Tax band? Is the property energyefficient? Is the property Freehold? Do you need to spend money on a refurbishment? All of these questions need to be taken into consideration. If you can, try and negotiate a BMV deal (Below Market Value) and you will be on track to become a savvy property investor, even at the start of your journey. Best of luck! Chris Madelin

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EXPERTS

What are searches?

Q

I am a first time buyer and about to purchase my dream home. I am a little confused, though, and wondered if you could explain what searches are and why I need to pay the solicitor for them? Helen Bennett, Manchester Searches are required to check for any adverse issues that may affect the property. Mortgage lenders require these searches, but any prudent cash buyer will request them as well. The usual searches carried out as part of the conveyancing process are: 1) Local authority search – a list of 80 questions and answers from various departments of the local authority. The search checks the planning and building regulations history, so you will know if the relevant consents were obtained for extensions and structural alterations. The search will also confirm if the property is in a

A

conservation area, or smoke control area. It will confirm if the road fronting the property is publicly maintained and if there are nearby road and railway schemes. Various other questions are also included. 2) Drainage and water search – this checks if the property is connected to the public foul and surface water sewers and the mains water supply. It will also reveal if there are any public sewers, or water mains within the property boundaries. 3) Environmental search – includes a contaminated land assessment and information on other environmental matters, such as ground stability and radon gas. 4) Flood search – includes a flood risk assessment and can be helpful when arranging buildings insurance. 5) Energy and infrastructure search – checks for nearby fracking sites, solar or wind farms and infrastructure e.g. HS2 6) Mining search – required in former mining areas, to see if there are any issues as a result of mining works. 7) Planning search – usually

Is shared ownership an option?

Q

I am a 28-year-old professional, on a salary of £34,000, currently living in a rented flatshare in Camden. However, I would really like buy somewhere and have my own space, but I need to stay in London and, ideally, I would like to live somewhere central.  I don’t think I can afford to buy on the open market in the areas I’m interested in living, but I’ve heard my friends talking about something called shared ownership.  Is this an option I should be considering and where can I find out more information?   Fiona Sharps, Camden   Yes, shared ownership is a great way for first time buyers to make their first move on to the property ladder. Shared ownership is designed to help people, such as yourself, who may find it a challenge to save up the large deposits that are required to purchase on the open market.

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an optional search if you want to find out about nearby developments, or planning applications made by neighbouring properties. Not all the searches will be done on every transaction, but the local, drainage and environmental searches

Shared ownership schemes allow purchasers to buy a percentage share in a property (a minimum of 25%) and they then pay a subsidised rent on the part that they do not own. These properties are often brand new developments. If their financial circumstances change, purchasers have the opportunity to buy more shares in their home – a process known as staircasing – which can eventually allow them to own 100% of the property. Saving for a deposit of a shared ownership home is more manageable as purchasers are only required to have a deposit worth a minimum 5% of the property value. Candidates are subject to eligibility criteria – including minimum and maximum income levels and, in some cases, those who already live, or work in an area will be given priority. Housing associations, such as Origin Housing, are offering a plethora of different homes across the capital – designed

will generally be done on all transactions. Whether the other searches are done will depend on the property location. Your solicitor will advise which searches are appropriate for the property you decide to purchase. Gethin Lloyd

to suit all requirements. These range from one and two bedroom apartments, perfect for young professionals, to duplexes and houses, for those thinking about a growing family. Simon Scott

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Buyers’ guide FTB EXPLAINS ALL THE OPTIONS TO HELP FIRST TIME BUYERS

Your options What are your funding options if you want to get on the housing ladder?

FIRST STEPS

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR A GOVERNMENTBACKED SCHEME? The government runs several Help to Buy schemes to help people get on to the property ladder. To be eligible for Help to Buy your household income needs to be less than £60,000 a year. For more details, contact a Help to Buy Agent. Help to Buy Agents are housing associations that handle the application process for Help to Buy products. Details of Help to Buy Agents start on page 124.

BUYING ON THE OPEN MARKET

FUNDING OPTIONS

JARGON EXPLAINED

G O V E R N M E N TBACKED SCHEMES

EQUITY LOAN

HELP TO BUY The government will provide you with a 20% equity loan that is interest free for the first five years with interest charged at 1.75% in the sixth year and at annual RPI (retail price index) inflation plus 1% after that. The loan must be repaid when the property is sold or within 25 years. Buyers need to raise a deposit of 5% and a 75% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage. Only new build homes valued up to £600,000 can be bought. The scheme is available for ftbs and movers.

NEWBUY Available on all newly built properties offered by homebuilders participating in the scheme up to the value of £500,000.Under the scheme, the house builder will put 3.5% of the sale price into an indemnity fund, and the government provides an additional 5.5%. The mortgage lender is then able to offer 90-95% LTV mortgages, and the purchaser only needs a 5-10% deposit.

NEW BUILD HOMEBUY, ALSO KNOWN AS SHARED OWNERSHIP OR PARTBUY, PART-RENT

Most people buy property on the open market. Homes are either offered for sale by estate agents or sold privately. These include flats, houses and former local authority properties.

This scheme gives buyers the chance to purchase as little as a 25% share in a property and pay the rest in the form of subsidised rent. In the majority of cases, there is the opportunity to own the rest of the property outright by a method known as ‘staircasing’.

PRIVATE INITIATIVES

RENT TO HOMEBUY

Some house builders offer first time buyer incentives on new build homes. These include cash back, a loan to help you with costs or paying your mortgage for a set period of time. To find out more, contact developers directly.

With this scheme you rent a newly built property for up to five years and pay a reduced rent. This gives you the chance to save for a cash deposit so you can apply to buy a share of the home later.

This is a loan for a certain percentage of a property’s value. If you remain in the property, you repay the equity loan within 25 years. If you sell the property, you repay the percentage of the property price the loan was for. For example, if the equity loan was originally £30,000 on a £100,000 property (30%) and you sell the property for £200,000, you’ll have to repay £60,000 (30% of £200,000).

HOMES AND COMMUNITIES AGENCY This is a government organisation that funds affordable homes including those under Help to Buy.

STAIRCASING This applies to New Build HomeBuy schemes and occurs when the resident tops up the number of shares they own in their part-owned, part-rented home until they own the maximum share or own the property outright. The shares can be bought in 10% increments.

FUNDING OPTIONS BUYING ON THE OPEN MARKET & P R I VA T E I N I T I A T I V E S

To buy on the open market or from a house builder you’ll need to get a mortgage from a bank or other mortgage lender. To do so you’ll need to save a deposit and meet the lender’s lending criteria.

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The ftb process TIPS

Buying your first property can be a daunting experience. It’s a big decision, so it’s important to get it right. We take you through all the steps involved

F

Unless you have enough money to buy a property outright you’ll need a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan used to buy a property and is normally repayable over 25 years. The loan is ‘secured’ on the property, which means the mortgage lender could repossess your home if you fail to make repayments on time. For this reason it’s vital only to buy a property you can realistically afford. Before you start, find out how much money you can borrow. A mortgage adviser at a bank will need details of your income, outgoings, savings and credit history – they will then be able to give you an ‘agreement in principle’, which will state, in theory, how much they will be able to lend you. An agreement in principle, however, doesn’t tie you, or the bank, to anything. Instead, it will just give you a rough idea of how much money you’ll be able to borrow. You’ll also need a deposit, normally at least 10% of the property price. The bigger the deposit, the better the mortgage rate you’ll be offered. Each mortgage product will have a maximum loan-to-value or LTV.

inance

APPLICATION You will need to have at least three months of bank statements, payslips or tax returns, a valid passport and information on any outstanding loans. Banks will look at your outgoings to assess how much you can afford to pay on your mortgage each month. The bigger deposit you have and the better your credit score, the better the mortgage rate you’ll be offered.

BUDGET Work out how much you can afford to repay each month. Look at your income and outgoings, including bills, council tax, food, insurance and travel. If you are buying a leasehold flat, you’ll also have to budget for service charges, so find out how much they will be.

MORTGAGE BROKERS VS BANKS CREDIT SCORE Get a credit report from Experian or Equifax, and make sure there are no default accounts, CCJs (county court judgements) or missed payments. If you are making lots of enquiries to find the best deal, make sure the lenders log your enquiry as a ‘quotation’ (soft) search rather than an ‘application’ (hard) search. Too many applications will leave ‘footprints’ on your credit score and can affect your rating. To improve your credit score, make sure you’re on the electoral roll, and pay your bills and any loan repayments on time.

You can apply for a mortgage via a mortgage broker (or financial adviser) or direct from a lender. A broker can look at the deals available and advise you which one would be best for your circumstances. Some mortgage products are only sold through brokers, not directly to customers. A broker will help you with the paperwork and deal with the lender on your behalf up until completion. You may have to pay them a fee or they may earn commission from the lender – find out how they are paid before committing to anything. Mortgage advisers in banks will only be able to sell you products offered by that particular bank, so it’s unlikely they will be able to offer you the very best deal for your circumstances. It’s important to shop around. You can compare mortgage deals yourself using websites such as SET A BUDGET

FINANCE

118

Work out how much money you have for fees, deposit and the monthly mortgage you can afford.

CREDIT SCORE

Make sure your credit rating is sound, and pay off any debts you can.

moneysupermarket.com or moneynet.co.uk, then apply directly to your chosen lender.

FIXED-RATES Some mortgages are fixed-rates. This means you’ll pay the same rate of interest for a certain period of time, and your repayments won’t change. If interest rates go up, you’ll be protected from the increase, but you won’t benefit from any fall in interest rates. Normally at the end of the fixed period your mortgage rate will revert to the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) for the rest of the term. You can either pay this rate or remortgage to another lender. Remortgaging to another lender will usually mean you have to pay a fee or early redemption charge (ERC).

VARIABLE-RATE MORTGAGES Variable-rate mortgages are either linked to the lender’s SVR or the Bank of England base rate, and the rate you pay can change. Lenders can change their SVR whenever they want, but they normally only change it when the Bank of England base rate changes. ‘Tracker’ mortgages have repayment rates directly linked to the base rate and are liable to fluctuate, so you need to be sure you could afford higher repayments if rates rise.

REPAYMENT OR INTEREST-ONLY You can either pay your mortgage on a repayment or interest-only basis. If you choose a repayment mortgage, your monthly payments will pay off some interest and some capital. At the end of the term, you’ll own your home outright. With an interest-only mortgage you’ll have smaller monthly payments, but these only pay the interest on the loan. At the end of the term you’ll still owe the original mortgage sum. If you take out an interestonly mortgage, you’ll need to have a plan in place (such as an investment) as to how you’ll pay off the capital.

SHOP AROUND

Speak to a mortgage broker, but also look at lenders’ direct products and search the internet for the best deal.

RESEARCH

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TIPS

RESEARCH AN AREA

T

a floor plan. Sign up with as many estate agents as you can (and your local HomeBuy Agent housing associations if you’re looking at shared ownership properties). They should send you new properties that match your description, but it’s worth phoning agents regularly.

Buying a home is a big investment. You need to buy a home you can afford and one

horough research

you’ll be happy living in.

LOCATION IS KEY The first step is to shortlist the locations you feel you’d like to live in, then check if you can afford the house prices in those areas. It’s also worthwhile visiting places you like: it may be that there’s an up-and-coming hot spot just down the road you didn’t know about that’s much more affordable. Ideally, you will have rented in the area before buying, but if this isn’t the case, at least spend some time there, check out the commuting time to work, and visit local pubs, shops and leisure facilities. Visit the area at night, too.

PROPERTY SEARCH Once you have found the right location, go online and check out what’s on offer. Most properties are listed on property portals such as findaproperty.com or propertyfinder.com or estate agents’ own websites. Most of the properties featured have pictures and descriptions and some have DECIDE ON A LOCATION

Be practical. Think about the commuting time and if you can afford to buy in the area.

RESEARCH THE AREA

Check out crime rates, future regeneration or new transport links.

Check online for prices of sold properties in the area, and make sure properties you like fit your budget. You can search for recent sold prices of property in any area at nethouseprices.com, although be aware that prices have dropped significantly in the past year. If you like a property, aerial shots of the area can be viewed at earth.google.com

VIEWING Once you see a property you like, arrange a viewing. Most people see at least 10 properties before putting in an offer. It’s worth bringing a friend or relative and also arranging a second viewing to check out any bits you may have missed. Don’t get taken in by the furnishings and décor too much. Remember that a property that is slightly run down can still be a great investment and may only need a touch of paint and a change of furniture.

Before you put in an offer, visit the street at different times to make sure it’s safe. Ask neighbours and local shop owners about the area.

BEFORE YOU BUY When looking at buying apartments, check exactly what is included in the service charge and how much it is. Also, ask about the terms of the lease and its length. If the lease has less than 80 years left, use this as a negotiating tool and make an offer below the asking price.

ESTATE AGENTS It’s a buyers’ market, so make use of agents’ legwork in finding properties that fit your requirements. Be aware that estate agents are paid commission by the seller on the sale, so try to inspect the property yourself rather than just the parts the agent shows you. Don’t get sucked in by the hard sell. SEARCH

Register with local estate agents, and use the internet to search for properties.

VIEWINGS

Look at several properties, and visit ones you like more than once and with someone else.

OFFER

When making an offer, don’t be afraid to ask for less than the asking price. If the property needs work done on it, use this as a negotiating tool.

SURVEY

BUYING

Make sure you get a survey done – it could save you money in the long run.

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B

uying process

BUYERS’ COSTS SURVEYS AND VALUATIONS

Once your offer is accepted, tell your mortgage lender. They will do a valuation to ensure the property is worth the money being advanced. At the same time, instruct a surveyor to carry out a survey. If this shows problems, find out how much they would cost to rectify and use this information to renegotiate the sale price. Or, tell the seller certain repairs need to be carried out before contracts are exchanged.

SOLICITOR’S/CONVEYANCING COSTS £500-£1,500

MORTGAGE FEE £0-£1,000

VALUATION £0-£300 (depending on your mortgage deal)

SURVEY £300-£500 (depending on the type of survey you have done)

SOLICITORS After the offer is accepted, you will also need to appoint a solicitor or conveyancer who will oversee the contract, deal with the finances and exchange the deeds. Your solicitor will carry out searches, check the terms of any lease and tell you how much stamp duty you have to pay. The seller will also appoint a solicitor, and the two legal teams will be in regular contact to make sure the purchase goes as smoothly as possible.

TIPS

A QUICK SALE Push the seller to take the property off the market. This will limit the chances of being gazumped (another buyer making a larger offer). The seller can insist on continuing to show the property, especially if you haven’t offered the asking price.

EXCHANGE AND COMPLETION Once the mortgage offer is in place, the contract is satisfactory and buildings insurance has been organised, both parties will agree an exchange date. On exchange of contracts, you pay a deposit, and a completion date is set. At this point, there’s no going back – the seller could sue you if you pull out, and you could lose your deposit. The exchange can be on the same date as the completion, but they are usually a week to 10 days apart. On completion, the final paperwork is done, and the property is legally yours.

Use a recommended solicitor who you know to be reliable and can move fast. Never get pressured into an exchange and completion date without knowing all your finances and documents are in place. If you can’t complete, you may have to pay the seller’s costs. English property law is different to Scottish law: in England, if you put in an offer and then have a change of heart, you can legally back out of the deal or negotiate up until the exchange date. But, in Scotland, an agreed price is binding.

SOLICITORS

Compare quotes from solicitors, and ask your friends if they can recommend someone. A good solicitor can make a big difference to a purchase completing or falling through.

120

LOCAL AUTHORITY SEARCH FEES £300 (included in your solicitor’s bill)

LAND REGISTRY FEES £50-£920 (depending on the property’s value, e.g., £200 on a property costing between £100,000 and £200,000).

MORTGAGE BROKER’S FEE 0-1%

STAMP DUTY 0% for properties costing up to £125,000

2% for properties costing between £125,001 and £250,000

5% for properties costing between £250,001 and £925,000

10% for properties costing between £925,001 and £1,500,000

BUILDINGS INSURANCE £300 per year, payable monthly or in advance. Buildings insurance can cost a lot more if your property is at risk of flooding.

TIME SCALE From offer to completion usually takes about six weeks to three months, but don’t feel pressured or rush into anything you’re not sure of just because the seller or estate agent wants you to exchange.

SEARCHES

Look at the results of searches your solicitor has done. They will tell you, for example, if a main road is about to be built at the end of your garden.

INSURANCE

After you’ve exchanged contracts, arrange buildings insurance – this will be a condition of your mortgage offer.

REMOVALS

Shop around for a removals firm, and find one that can move your possessions on completion day.

SERVICE CHARGES AND GROUND RENT ON LEASEHOLD FLATS £100-£4,000

COMPLETION

Your solicitor or estate agent will call you to tell you the property is yours. The solicitor will have some final paperwork to do, and you will then have to pay the solicitor’s bill and your stamp duty payment (if applicable).

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Home buying glossary Confused by financial acronyms and industry terminology? Buying your first house is daunting enough without having to decode property lingo. FTB’s home buying glossary is here to make the process a whole lot easier to understand AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE

DISBURSEMENTS

The initial document your lender will give you outlining the amount you are likely to be lent. An agreement in principle is not a guarantee of getting a mortgage.

These are additional charges incurred during the home buying process such as stamp duty and Land Registry charges. You must give the money to your conveyancer or solicitor who will then pay the charges on your behalf.

APR APR stands for annual percentage rate. It is the interest rate you’d pay over a year. It takes into account not just the interest on your loan but also any other additional charges.

EARLY REPAYMENT CHARGE

ARREARS

EQUITY

This is a term used to describe payments that haven’t been made on time.

The difference between the value of the property and the value of the mortgage you have secured.

BASE RATE The interest rate set by the Bank of England. Lenders use the Bank of England base rate to set their own charges.

BROKER

This is an amount of money you have to pay a lender if you decide to move mortgage providers or if you pay off your mortgage quicker than expected.

EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS This is when you exchange contracts with the seller. When this has happened, both sides are legally bound to complete the transaction.

A broker is someone who gives you advice on your mortgage. Some are independent, while others work for lenders.

FREEHOLD

BUILDING SURVEY

When a seller accepts an offer and then later on rejects it in favour of a higher offer from another bidder.

A survey carried out by a qualified surveyor to spot any structural problems or faults in the home you are buying.

COLLATERAL Something of value that is offered as a guarantee against a loan. With mortgages, your home is collateral.

COMPLETION The finalisation of the sale. Completion day is when all money is transferred and you become the legal owner of your new home.

CONVEYANCING The legal process of transferring ownership of a property.

A freehold is when you fully own a property and the land it stands on.

GAZUMPING

GUARANTOR A person, usually a parent, who guarantees that you can pay your mortgage repayments. You often need a guarantor if you are struggling to get a mortgage based on your own income. If for some reason you cannot pay your mortgage, your guarantor has to pay it for you.

HIGHER LENDING CHARGE If you take out a large mortgage on a property, some lenders charge you an extra fee. This is because the more money you borrow the more of a risk the lender is taking.

LAND REGISTRY FEES This is a fee you have to pay in order to register your ownership of the property with the Land Registry.

LEASE A type of contract where you buy the right to occupy the property for a fixed period of time. You usually have to pay annual ground rent each year.

LTV This stands for loan to value – the ratio between the amount of money you have taken out as a loan and the valuation price of the property.

LUMP-SUM REDUCTION In order to reduce your mortgage, you can make a lump-sum reduction. This is where you pay more than you owe each month in mortgage repayments.

REDEMPTION Paying off your mortgage in full is known as redemption.

REPAYMENTS The amount you have to pay back each month to your mortgage provider

STAMP DUTY Stamp duty is a shortened name for stamp duty land tax. This is an amount of money that the government tax you when you purchase a new property. Your solicitor or conveyancer will organise the payment for you.

TITLE DEEDS The legal documents that outline your rights and liabilities in relation to your new property. The title deeds also act as proof of ownership.

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Pathway to home ownership You find the home you want, get a mortgage offer and it’s time to actually buy a house, but you can’t move in overnight. Adele Barker is Director of Conveyancing at Beaumont Legal – First Time Buyer’s Best Law Firm for Conveyancing for the past three years – and she explains the process you’ll go through… before you can pick up the keys!

Step 1 – Find a conveyancer ‘Conveyancing’ is the term for the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one person to another. You need legal expertise from either a solicitor, or licensed conveyancer to do this – it’s not something you can do on your own, especially if you’re buying with a mortgage. The conveyancer’s job is to look into the legal aspects that could catch you out and make sure the new property legally becomes yours.

Step 2 – Consider getting a surveyor Conveyancers help look at the legal title, Land Registry plans and obtain searches to identify any problems that might come up, such as the risk of flooding, or future subsidence that may affect the property. Surveyors look at the physical property – the actual building and problems it may have, such as damp or structural problems. The older the property, the more likely you’ll want a surveyor to look at it. If the surveyor notices something serious, you may be able to use it to negotiate a lower price.

Step 3 – Choose your searches Property searches give information about the property you’re buying, such as checking whether it could be at risk of flooding. They also give other local information, like any developments planned to be built nearby, or whether the property is built on contaminated land. Your conveyancer is likely to recommend a package of searches, but you may want extras to give you more assurance before proceeding. Your mortgage provider might insist on some searches being carried out, for example, if the home you’re buying is in an area where coal mining has taken place.

Step 4 – Title and lease checks This is where the legal expertise really begins to be needed – your solicitor will look at the title of the property you’re buying and, if it’s a flat, they’ll look at the lease. If you’re buying through a shared ownership scheme, there will be further agreements to be checked around that as well. The solicitor’s job is to act in your interests and to look for anything that could cause concern – such as a lack of clarity over a boundary, conditions in the lease that mean you have to pay more money than you think, or restrictions that mean you can’t do something – such as keeping a pet in a property.

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Step 6 – Contracts The next step is that you will sign the contracts that have been checked by your conveyancer on your behalf. You should receive a full explanation of the contract details, and all matters relating to the title deeds and the property that you need to be aware of, before proceeding. Once you have signed the contract, provided your mortgage offer has come through, you’ll be able to get to the crucial part of exchanging contracts.

Step 5 - Questions Once your legal expert has checked the key information, they may have extra questions for the person you’re buying a home from, or their conveyancer. Thankfully, nowadays, there are standardised forms for areas such as fixtures and fittings, which confirm what will, or won’t be included with the property you’re buying. These forms help to make the process smoother. Delays can happen when dealing with any questions, because you are reliant on the seller and their solicitor getting back with answers quickly. And, of course, if the answers aren’t what you want, it can mean further negotiation might be needed.

Step 8 – Completion This is it – the point where the final balance is paid – and your new home is finally yours. The day of completion can be a long one for solicitors, especially if you’re buying as part of a long chain. Each home’s completion needs to take place one after another, as the money passes up the chain. When this is done, you can collect the keys from the estate agents and move in!

Step 7 – Exchange This is the point where a deposit is paid and the purchase is legally binding – signed contracts are exchanged and, after this, neither buyer nor seller can pull out of the transaction without potential legal action being taken. When this point is reached, there is a confirmed date when you’ll be able to move in, so you can start to plan the actual moving day.

Step 10 – Registering the Title The owner of every property in the country is logged at the Land Registry and your legal expert will sort this out for you, making sure the title is changed from the previous owner to you. It’s not something you need to worry about and is completed after you move in. You should expect to receive a copy of the deeds, showing you as the new owner of the home, within a few weeks of completion.

Step 9 – Paying Stamp Duty For you, the process effectively ends at completion, but your solicitors still need to complete some other tasks on your behalf. The first is paying Stamp Duty Land Tax (often abbreviated to SDLT), which has to be paid within 30 days for every property that costs more than £125,000. This is something you shouldn’t need to worry about, as your solicitor will complete it for you.

Beaumont Legal is one of the UK’s largest providers of conveyancing and winner of First Time Buyer’s award for Best Law Firm for Conveyancing in 2013, 2014 and 2015. For a free quote, visit Beaumont-legal.co.uk, call 0345 122 8080, or email quote@beaumont-legal.co.uk

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Directory

ZONES, HELP TO BUY AGENTS, HELP TO BUY PROVIDERS AND MORE... HELP TO BUY NORTH EAST, YORKSHIRE & THE HUMBER Tel: 0113 243 6893 helptobuyneyh.co.uk

HELP TO BUY NORTH WEST Tel: 0300 790 0570 helptobuynw.org.uk 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

Cumbria Lancashire Merseyside Greater Manchester Cheshire

1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7)

1 2

Northumberland Tyne & Wear Durham North Yorkshire West Yorkshire South Yorkshire East Riding of Yorkshire

3

1

HELP TO BUY EAST AND SOUTH EAST

HELP TO BUY MIDLANDS Tel: 0345 850 2050 helptobuymidlands.co.uk

Tel: 03333 214044 helptobuyese.org.uk

4

1) Shropshire 2) Staffordshire 3) Derbyshire 4) Nottinghamshire 5) Lincolnshire 6) Herefordshire 7) Worcestershire 8) West Midlands 9) Warwickshire 10) Leicestershire 11) Rutland 12) Northamptonshire

1) Norfolk 2) Cambridgeshire 3) Suffolk 4) Bedfordshire 5) Buckinghamshire 6) Hertfordshire 7) Essex 8) Surrey 9) Kent 10) West Sussex 11) East Sussex

7

2

5 4

3

6

5

3

5

4

2 HELP TO BUY SOUTH

8

Tel: 0800 456 1188 helptobuysouth.co.uk 1) 2) 3) 4)

Gloucestershire Oxfordshire Bristol Bath & NE Somerset, Mendip and North Somerset 5) Wiltshire 6) Berkshire 7) Hampshire 8) Isle of Wight

7

6

1

5

5 7

8 1 HELP TO BUY SOUTH WEST Tel: 0300 100 0021 helptobuysw.org.uk Cornwall Devon South Somerset Dorset

7

1 9

8

4

1) 2) 3) 4)

6

6 4

3

4 2

3

2

12

9

3 2

1

11

10

1

10

11

HELP TO BUY LONDON Tel: 0300 500 0996 helptobuylondon.co.uk 1) London

Map supplied by Help to Buy South

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USEFUL CONTACTS ZONES, HELP TO BUY AGENTS & HELP TO BUY PROVIDERS – RECEIVE ADVICE ON PROPERTY FUNDING OPTIONS

LONDON

LONDON

MIDLANDS

Help to Buy London

guarantee, please contact the participating lenders

Tel: 0300 5000 996

Tel: 0345 850 2050

0300 500 0996

directly.

helptobuylondon.co.uk

helptobuymidlands.co.uk

helptobuylondon.co.uk Shropshire Share to Buy sharetobuy.com/firststeps

EAST & SOUTH EAST

Staffordshire Derbyshire Nottinghamshire

Please note:

Tel: 03333 214044

Lincolnshire

Help to Buy agents administer the Help to Buy: equity

helptobuyese.org.uk

Herefordshire

loan scheme but not the mortgage guarantee scheme.

Worcestershire

They have the authority to give the go-ahead for you

Norfolk

West Midlands

to purchase a home with help from the equity loan

Cambridgeshire

Warwickshire

scheme. The agents make other key decisions during

Suffolk

Leicestershire

the purchase process. For the Help to Buy: mortgage

Bedfordshire

Rutland

Buckinghamshire

Northamptonshire

Hertfordshire

NORTH WEST

Essex Surrey Kent

Tel: 0300 790 0570

West Sussex

helptobuynw.org.uk

East Sussex

Cumbria Lancashire Merseyside

SOUTH WEST

Greater Manchester Cheshire

Tel: 0300 100 0021 helptobuysw.org.uk Cornwall

NORTH EAST, YORKSHIRE & THE HUMBER

Devon South Somerset

Tel: 0113 243 6893

Dorset

helptobuyneyh.co.uk Northumberland

SOUTH

Tyne & Wear Durham

Tel: 0845 604 11 22

North Yorkshire

helptobuysouth.co.uk

West Yorkshire South Yorkshire

Gloucestershire

East Riding of Yorkshire

Oxfordshire Bristol Bath & NE Somerset, Mendip and North Somerset Wiltshire Berkshire Hampshire Isle of Wight

ADVERTISE IN THIS SPACE Speak to our advertising team to find out the best ways to give your organisation maximum exposure. Call 020 7258 1777 or email lynda@firsttimebuyermag.co.uk

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USEFUL CONTACTS HELP TO BUY PROVIDERS – OFFERING NEW BUILD SCHEMES, INCLUDING HELP TO BUY (SHARED OWNERSHIP) AND RENT TO BUY PROPERTIES Newlon Housing Trust

Shepherd’s Bush Housing

Affinity Sutton

Circle Living

newlonhomeownership.

sbhg.co.uk

affinitysutton.com

circleliving.org.uk

co.uk

020 8996 6666

0300 100 0303

0845 304 1002

0800 058 2544 Southern Home

Aster Group

Estuary Housing

Notting Hill Housing

Ownership

aster.org.uk

Association

nottinghillhousing.org.uk

sho.org.uk

01380 735 391

estuary.co.uk

020 8357 4444

020 7553 6420

01702 462 246 Chelmer Housing

LONDON

Octavia Housing

Swan Housing

Partnership

Family Mosaic

octaviahousing.org.uk

Association

chp.org.uk

familymosaicsales.co.uk

020 8354 5500

swan.org.uk

0300 555 0500

020 7089 1315

Gateway Housing

0300 303 2500

Association

One Housing Group

CHS Group

First Wessex

A2Dominion New Homes

gatewayhousing.org.uk

onehousinggroup.co.uk

Thames Valley

chsgroup.org.uk

firstwessex.org

a2dominion.co.uk/

020 8709 4409

0800 234 6242

Housing Association

0300 111 3555

0800 0191 470

newhomes

tvha.co.uk Genesis Homes

Origin Housing

genesishomes.org.uk

originhousing.org.uk

033 3000 4000

0800 040 7989

Guinness

Paradigm Housing

wandle.com

Partnership

paradigmliving.co.uk

0300 2000 116

Catalyst Housing

(South)

0845 337 4877

chg.org.uk

guinnesspartnership.com

0845 601 7729

0300 111 321

0800 783 2159 Affinity Sutton

Wandle Housing Association

affinitysutton.com 0300 100 0303

0845 351 2345

Peabody

SOUTH EAST

peabody.org.uk Circle Living

Hexagon

circleliving.org.uk

hexagon.org.uk

0845 304 1002

020 8778 6699

Clapham Park Homes

Home Group

metropolitan.org.uk

homegroup.org.uk

020 3535 3535

0845 230 2074

East Thames

Hyde New Homes

east-thames.co.uk

hydenewhomes.co.uk

0845 600 0830

020 8297 7555

Estuary Housing

Islington and Shoreditch

Association

Housing Association

estuary.co.uk

isha.co.uk

01702 462 246

020 7226 3753

Family Mosaic

London and Quadrant

familymosaicsales.co.uk

lqgroup.org.uk

020 7089 1315

0844 406 9800

Gallions Housing

Metropolitan Home

Association

Ownership

gallionsha.co.uk

mho.co.uk

0300 123 1141

020 3535 2555

020 7021 4444

A2Dominion New Homes

Places for People

a2dominion.co.uk/

placesforpeople.co.uk

newhomes

0845 850 9571

0800 783 2159

Sanctuary London

Accent Nene

sanctuary-housing.co.uk

accentnene.org

0800 781 4755

01733 295 400

Servite Houses

Accent Peerless

viridianhousing.org.uk

accentpeerless.co.uk

0800 012 1442

0800 294 2280

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USEFUL CONTACTS HELP TO BUY PROVIDERS

SOUTH WEST

Flagship Homes

Hyde New Homes

Origin Housing

Rosemary Simmons

Swan Housing

flagship-homes.co.uk

hydenewhomes.co.uk

originhousing.org.uk

Housing Association

Association

01603 255 444

020 8297 7555

0800 040 7989

rsmha.org.uk

swan.org.uk

Aster Group

01372 461 440

0300 303 2500

aster.org.uk

Genesis Homes

Jephson Homes Housing

Orwell Housing

genesishomes.org.uk

Association

Association

Sanctuary South East

Thames Valley

033 3000 4000

jephson.org.uk

orwell-housing.co.uk

sanctuary-housing.co.uk

Housing Association

Cornerstone Housing

01926 339 311

01473 218 818

0800 781 4755

tvha.co.uk

cornerstonehousing.net

0845 351 2345

01392 273 462

01380 735 391

Guinness Partnership

Knightstone Housing

Paradigm Housing

Sentinel Homescope

(South)

Association

paradigmliving.co.uk

sentinelha.org.uk/

London

CURO

guinnesspartnership.com

knightstone.co.uk

0845 337 4877

homescope

and Quadrant

curo-group.co.uk

0300 111 321

01934 524 300

01256 338 800

lqgroup.org.uk

01225 366 000

Peabody

0844 406 9800 DCH

Hastoe Housing

LHA-ASRA Group

peabody.org.uk

Servite Houses

Association

lha-asra.org.uk

020 7021 4444

viridianhousing.org.uk

Town and Country

dchgroup.com

hastoe.com

0116 257 6716

0800 012 1442

Housing

01752 856 037

Places for People

0800 783 3097

tchg.org.uk Elim Housing

Metropolitan Home

placesforpeople.co.uk

Soha Housing

Home Group

Ownership

0845 850 9571

Soha.co.uk

homegroup.org.uk

mho.co.uk

0845 230 2074

020 8920 7777

Association

Southern Home

spinnakergroup.co.uk/

GreenSquare

Housing Solutions Group

Moat

raglan.org

Ownership

westernchallenge

greensquaregroup.com

housingsolutions.co.uk

moat.co.uk

0800 011 6420

sho.org.uk

01425 283 600

01249 465 465

0800 876 6060

0300 323 0011

Worthing

Guinness Partnership

Howard Cottage Homes

One Housing Group

Association

Sovereign Housing

Homes

(Hermitage)

howard-cottage.co.uk

onehousinggroup.co.uk

rosebery.org.uk

sovereign.org.uk

worthing-homes.org.uk

guinnesspartnership.com

01462 683 307

0800 234 6242

01372 814 000

0845 712 5530

01903 703 100

0300 303 8034

01235 515 900 Raglan Housing

01892 501 626

elimhousing.co.uk Western Challenge

01454 411 172

Housing Association

020 7553 6420 Rosebery Housing

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USEFUL CONTACTS HELP TO BUY PROVIDERS Hastoe Housing

Severn Vale

Acis Group

East Midlands

Association

Housing

acisgroup.co.uk

Housing

hastoe.com

Svhs.org.uk

0800 027 2057

Association

0800 783 3097

01684 272 727

emhomebuy.org.uk Asra Housing Group

Jephson Homes

Signpost

asra.org.uk

Housing Assoc. Ltd

Housing Association

0116 257 6716

jephson.org.uk

sha.co.uk

01926 339 311

0800 783 7837

Association family-housing.co.uk

Housing Group

0121 766 1100

Sovereign Housing

bcha.co.uk

nectarhomes.co.uk

sovereign.org.uk

0121 561 1969

0845 850 4505

0845 712 5530

Friendship Care and Housing

Jephson Homes

Midland Heart

Bromford Group

fch.org.uk

Housing Assoc. Ltd

midlandheart.org.uk

08456 019 095

jephson.org.uk

0345 60 20 540

Places for People

Synergy Housing

bromfordgroup.co.uk

placesforpeople.co.uk

Part of the Aster Group

0845 601 0878

0845 850 9571

synergyhousing.co.uk

Raglan Housing

Family Housing

Black Country

Nectar Homes

01202 308600

0844 892 9000

01926 339 311 Heantun

Muir Group

Caldmore Accord

Housing Association

Longhurst and Havelok

yourownspace.org.uk

caldmoreaccordha.org.uk

heantun.org

Homes

01928 728 0399

0300 111 7000

01902 571 100

longhurst-group.org.uk

Association

Westcountry

raglan.org

Housing

0800 011 6420

westcountryha.org.uk

De Montfort

Home Group

01803 200 300

Housing Society

homegroup.org.uk

Merican Housing Ass.

Association

Rooftop Housing Group

demontforthousing.co.uk

0845 230 2074

mercian.org.uk

ncha.org.uk

rooftopgroup.org

0116 223 3700

0121 322 7373

0845 650 1204

0800 0421 800

0845 309 0700

MIDLANDS

Nottingham Community Housing

Guinness Derwent Living Housing

Partnership

Metropolitan Home

Orbit

Sanctuary Southwest

Accent Nene

Association

(Northern Counties)

Ownership

HomeBuy Agents

Sanctuary-housing.co.uk

accentnene.org

derwentliving.com

guinnesspartnership.com

mho.co.uk

orbithomebuyagents.co.uk

0800 083 9283

01733 295 400

01332 346 477

0845 605900

020 8920 7777

0345 850 2050

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USEFUL CONTACTS HELP TO BUY PROVIDERS Places for People

Equity Housing

placesforpeople.co.uk

equityhousing.co.uk

0845 850 9571

0800 733 233

Raglan Housing

Guinness

Association

Partnership

raglan.org

(Northern Counties)

0800 011 6420

guinnesspartnership.com 0845 605900

Riverside Housing Association

Headrow Limited

riverside.org.uk

headrow.org.uk

0845 111 0000

0133 250 4337

Rooftop Group

Home Group

rooftopgroup.org

homegroup.org.uk

0800 0421 800

0845 230 2074

Sanctuary Midlands

Jephson Homes

sanctuary-housing.co.uk

Housing Association

0800 131 3348

jephson.org.uk

buyer

Friday 21 April ftbawards.com

NORTH EAST

Tees Valley Housing

Cosmopolitan Housing

Outlook Homes

Group

Association

outlookhomes.com

Accent Foundation Ltd

teesvalley.org

cosmopolitanhousing.

0161 248 2363

08000 461600

co.uk

01926 339 311 Servite Houses viridianhousing.org.uk

Leeds Federated

accentgroup.org

0800 012 1442

Housing Association

01274 717 500

0113 386 1000

Housing Association ssha.co.uk

Longhurst and Havelok

0800 096 8690

Homes

Staffordshire Housing

Association

Eden Housing

bernicia.com

threerivershousing.co.uk

Association

0844 800 3800

08000 461 452

edenha.org.uk

Progress Housing Group

01768 861 400

progressgroup.org.uk

Two Castles Housing

0845 309 0700

erimushousing.co.uk

Association (North East)

Equity Housing

01642 707910

twocastles.org.uk

equityhousing.co.uk

Regenda Homes

0191 261 4774

0800 733 233

regendahomes.co.uk

01782 744 533

Housing Association

Gentoo Sunderland

manninghamhousing.

gentoohomes.com

Waterloo Housing

co.uk

0191 525 5000

Association

01274 771 144

0344 736 0063

NORTH WEST Accent Foundation Ltd

Muir Group

Partnership

accentgroup.org

yourownspace.org.uk

(Northern Counties)

01274 717 500

01928 728 0399

guinnesspartnership.com 0845 605900

wmhousing.co.uk

01772 450600

Guinness Partnership

Guinness

waterlooha.org.uk

YORKS/ HUMBER

0845 850 9571

Erimus Housing Ltd

Manningham

01214 574604

placesforpeople.co.uk

Bernicia

staffshousing.org.uk

WM Housing Group

Places for People

longhurst-group.org.uk Association

0121 355 4501

0151 227 3716 Three Rivers Housing

lfha.co.uk South Staffordshire

VOTE NOW

READERS’ AWARDS 2017

Adactus

(Northern Counties)

Riverside Housing

guinnesspartnership.com

Association

0845 605900

riverside.org.uk 0845 111 0000

Home Group homegroup.org.uk

Sanctuary North

0845 230 2074

sanctuary-housing.co.uk

Housing Group

Outlook Homes

0800 781 0401

outlookhomes.com

Home Group

adactushousing.co.uk

Impact Housing

0161 248 2363

homegroup.org.uk

01942 608 715

impacthousing.org.uk

Servite Houses

03448 736290

viridianhousing.org.uk

0845 230 2074 Arcon Housing

Places

0800 012 1442

for People

ISOS

Association

Irwell Valley Housing

Accent Foundation Ltd

placesforpeople.co.uk

isoshousing.co.uk

arcon.org.uk

Association

Your Housing Group

accentgroup.org

0845 850 9571

0300 300 1505

0161 214 4120

irwellvalleyha.co.uk

yourhousinggroup.co.uk

0800 035 2212

01925 236 400

01274 717 500 Rosa Homes

Live Smart

CDS Co-operatives

Acis Group

rosahomes.co.uk

livesmarthome.com

cds.coop

Knowsley Housing Trust

acisgroup.co.uk

0845 077 0027

0800 028 3629

020 7397 5700

k-h-t.org

Sanctuary North

Places

Chester and District

Broadacres

sanctuary-housing.co.uk

for People

Housing Trust

Liverpool Housing Trust

broadacres.org.uk

0800 781 0401

placesforpeople.co.uk

cdht.net

lht.co.uk

0845 850 9571

0808 100 7701

01928 796000

0800 027 2057

0151 290 7000

01609 767 900 Wakefield and District Crucible Homes

Housing

Sanctuary North

Contour Homes

Muir Group

cruciblehomes.co.uk

wdh.co.uk

sanctuary-housing.co.uk

contourhousing.co.uk

yourownspace.org.uk

0114 421 3430

0845 850 7507

0800 781 0401

0845 602 1120

01928 728 0399

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LAST WORD

Spotlight on... TONY HARKER SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR, EAST THAMES

Buying a house for the first time can often be quite daunting. We talk to some of the key players in the property world to get their views on what is happening in the market and how to get on the ladder Tony has worked in the housing industry for over 13 years – the last 12 years in the affordable homes sector – and currently heads up the Sales and Marketing and Leasehold Sales Service at East Thames. He has sold affordable homes to thousands of first time buyers, who wanted the ability to get a step on to the property ladder, and has been heavily involved in the regeneration of areas such as Shadwell, Colindale, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Ipswich, turning run-down locations into vibrant modern sustainable communities and creating places people want to live. Specialising in regenerating east London and Essex, Tony has witnessed the challenges for first time buyers, particularly within the capital. He is passionate about giving everyone an equal opportunity for home ownership, through schemes such as shared ownership. How do you identify an area which is being regenerated? There are usually a few common denominators to identify an area undergoing regeneration. Firstly, upgraded, or newly-established transport connections or businesses is always a good indication of regeneration. Look out for the ripple effect, areas in the next zone from popular hot spots. You might see new business retail outlets opening local shops, or small boutique shops appearing in these areas. Look at Local Authority websites and planning portals, to find out about regeneration masterplans, particularly for disused buildings/ wasteland, or low-quality homes in need of major repair. When you notice hoarding beginning to appear, this is a sure sign

130

of future activity from developers. Identifying these areas requires vision as buying early with less facilities available could often improve the growth of your future investment. What impact does regeneration have on the wider community? Regeneration projects are not just about building new homes, investment is also placed in schools, community centres, local meeting places, sport and leisure facilities, commercial space, as well as green spaces. This helps to improve the overall community, creating an inclusive neighbourhood for everyone. In addition, when an area is highlighted as a regeneration hotspot, this creates a knock-on effect and other businesses begin to open up in the area. As a result, employment rates often go up and there are further opportunities for development. What established regeneration projects do East Thames currently offer? We have a great track record of working on regeneration sites. In the last decade, east London has seen extensive regeneration and The Ocean Estate in Stepney is one of our established schemes. The £220m programme, in partnership with Tower Hamlets Council, has transformed the deprived estate, with 819 new homes created and 1200 existing council homes refurbished in the first four years. The homes have been built around landscaped courtyards and new community facilities are now available, creating a diverse environment for those living there. In 2017, the latest phase at The Ocean Estate will be available for purchase, offering a range of shared ownership accommodation, so keep your

eyes peeled for that. We are also working on New Union Wharf, Chobham Farm, and the Gascoigne Estate in Barking. Which of East Thames’ new regeneration projects should we look out for? We are currently working with Barking and Dagenham Council on what will be a major regeneration project at Gascoigne Estate, in Barking. A range of one to four bedroom homes will be available through a mixture of affordable rent, shared ownership and private sale, expected to be ready for purchase by 2018. Our overall masterplan is to also create a primary and secondary school on-site, a community centre and more open green spaces. New Union Wharf in Tower Hamlets is another of our regeneration schemes to look out for. The regeneration is taking place on a tired, 1970s estate, replacing this with 399 modern homes, also expected for sale in 2018. Tell us a little bit about East Thames Following our merger with L&Q, we are now the largest provider of affordable homes in the country and have ambitious plans for the future. Our vision is to deliver 100,000 new homes in east London and Essex, with over half of these being genuinely affordable to people on average and lower incomes. As a housing association, we also provide support services, for example, we offer care as well as employment and training programmes to our residents. Regeneration is a major part of our work, redeveloping those areas of London that just need a little more love and attention in order to reach their full potential!

First Time Buyer February/March 2017

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First Time Buyer February March 2017  
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