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the Ultimate Guide to... GETTING ON THE LADDER, THE PROPERTY MARKET AND HELP TO BUY October/ November 2017 £3.95






“Once you buy your first home you will probably end up paying less than you did when renting, as rents have gone sky-high!” Jasmine Harman


TV and radio presenter

9 771758 973014

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E D I T O R I A L – 020 7258 0036

Editor-in-Chief SARAH GARRETT

Welcome Although shared ownership has been around for a long time, there are many first timers who do not fully understand how it works. Shared Ownership Week, which runs from 21-27 September is a national week-long campaign to raise awareness and help homebuyers understand the scheme. Do go to pages 22/38 to find out more about it.

Editor LYNDA CLARK Senior Editorial Assistant DAWN HARKER

Junior Editorial Assistant PHOEBE DAWSON-WATTS

Creative Director RYAN BEAL



Director of Advertising/Exhibition Sales LYNDA CLARK Special Events EILIDH MACLEOD – First Time Buyer Home Show – First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards

We are very excited that we have two FTB Home Shows planned. The first is on September 30 at the Croydon Conference Centre. Croydon is a real first time buyer hotspot and is undergoing a huge development programme. The second, in partnership with Help to Buy NW, is on October 7 at the Lancashire Country Cricket Club in Manchester, which is the true powerhouse of the North and again has a very buoyant first time buyer property market. Turn to pages 43-46 to see what homes are available in the area. At each of our shows there is a chance to meet housing associations, developers, legal and financial experts plus find out about the Help to Buy scheme. They are free to attend and useful seminars on key topics run all day – so do go to and register now. I hope you find this issue packed full of useful information to help you buy your dream home. If you are struggling to understand or decide which mortgage to take then our guide on pages 80-82 gives a comprehensive round-up of what’s on offer. We also have a fascinating and very personal interview with celebrity Denise Welch who is a mental health ambassador for both Home Group and Mind, page 62. Until next time, happy house hunting

Accounts DAVID SELF Managing Director SARAH GARRETT Public Relations RACHEL COLGAN


@firsttimebuyer SUBSCRIPTIONS 020 3874 1649


For many people shared ownership is a brilliant way to own their first home

SWITCHBOARD 020 7258 1777 FAX: 020 7258 1787 THE ULTIMATE GUIDE COMPANY LTD, 37 IVOR PLACE, LONDON NW1 6EA All advertising copy for December 2017/January 2018 must be received before 10 November 2017. Send all copy to: lynda@ 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 2008-2017. 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.

We’ve seen strong demand across the North West with a 36% increase in buyers using the schemes

Alison Gittins, Celebrating the North West, Page 43

Sandy Macmillan, Get on the ladder with shared ownership, Page 22

My first flat was in Shawlands, and I almost died at how much it was at the time Baroness Mone of Mayfair OBE At home with, Page 12

The research also reveals that first time buyers are heavily reliant on their parents for advice.

Chris Browne, Reality Check, Page 92

I’m not a feng shui sort of person by any means Denise Welch, Home is where the heart is, Page 62

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What’s in… 53

For sale


Chantal Epp and her partner Thomas Bean were renting in Wandsworth but had to quickly move out due to a change in the use of the property. They discovered a shared ownership apartment through Thames Valley Housing and have never looked back!



9 FTB loves... A round-up of our favourite hot buys.

Greet the new season with shades of orange and purple, which are bang on trend.

12 At home with... Baroness Mone of Mayfair OBE

22 Get on the ladder with shared ownership

Lady Mone is an entrepreneur turned Parliamentarian and founder of Ultimo, the UK’s leading lingerie brand. She talks to Lynda Clark about her new interiors range, her love of Britain and her first home.

14 House Hunter We try to find Georgia Banks her dream home in east London.

16 Developer’s doctor


18 The View: Jasmine Harman Jasmine has just celebrated her 300th episode of A Place in the Sun and A Place in the Sun: Home or Away? She talks to Lynda Clark about her fascinating career, her lovely new home and, with all her property knowledge, she gives some excellent advice to first time buyers.

10 Living



Sonny Gowans, MD at Unique Property Group answers your property question.

To celebrate shared ownership week from 21-27 September, our simple guide explains everything you need to know about how it works, who is eligible and what the buying process is. This week long national campaign aims to educate aspiring first time buyers to get on the property ladder.

36 How So Resi is making shared ownership more understandable Thames Valley Housing is on a

mission to make shared ownership available to more people. As a result, they have launched their new brand – So Resi which aims to make the process a lot easier.

43 Celebrating the North West As we hold our First Time Buyer Home Show in Manchester on 7 October we look at some ideal starter homes in the region.

48 Hotspot We look at Liverpool as a place to live.

50 Hotspot We look at Manchester as a place to live.

62 Home is where the heart is Denise Welch, actress and mental health ambassador for both Home Group and Mind, and architect Liz Gibney, Head of Place at Home Group talk to Lynda Clark about happiness in the home.

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Jasmine Harman


answers your questions about all things to do with your credit.

108 Finance Kay Hill looks at house prices across the country and assesses what they mean for ftbs.

85-87 The best FTB properties.

110 Market Ginetta Vedrickas looks at the latest local government initiative – The Housing Advisors Programme.

67 Competition Win an exclusive Best of Kentish Living gourmet hamper worth £350, courtesy of Orbit and Kiln View at Peters Village.

115 Buyer’s Guide Check out FTB’s Buyer’s Guide, which walks you through the property-buying process from start to finish.

120 Conveyancing – The Questions


Competition Win a set of Denby Elements tableware worth £180.

Alasdair Muir, Senior Solicitor and Head of Affordable Home Ownership at Prince Evans Solicitors explains the legal process in 10 easy steps.

72 Hotspot We look at Croydon as a place to live.

122 Directory

80 Multiple choice

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

With so many mortgages on offer, Kay Hill looks at which ones are specifically good for ftbs.

130 Spotlight on...

92 Reality check Property website Zoopla has just published some fascinating results following their in-depth research of first time buyers. Kay Hill analyses the details.

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. This issue we speak to Murray Smith, MD of SiteSales.

104 Mortgage Clinic David Blake of Which? Mortgage Advisors answer your mortgagerelated questions.

106 Credit Clinic The latest in our series in which Experian’s credit expert, Joe Green

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FTB SAYS: There are several pieces of information you will need when making a mortgage application. You will need proof of identity and proof of address, as well as a credit history report. You should also have your last three months’ bank statements, as well as your last three months’ payslips. You will also need to show that you have the required deposit needed for the apartment. It is also helpful if you provide details or any credit cards, loans or other monthly payments you have along with contact details of your landlord if you are renting a home. This issue’s star letter wins a Judge slate platter worth £18.48. Part of the serving range from Judge, this easy-to-clean platter is timeless, stylish and ideal to use when sharing food with guests. The natural hardwood and slate is not only elegant, but also practical, providing the perfect surface for serving both hot and cold foods. The platter comes in five different sizes. 0117 940 0000

My parents have been saving for many years to help me with a deposit on my first new home, but we are unsure how this works. We know we will need to show that the money is a gift but what proof will I need to provide when applying for my mortgage? Leon Bell FTB SAYS: How wonderful that your parents are helping you get on the ladder. You will need a gift letter from your parents, as

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

I have been in the process of buying my first home for the last six months, and have found a fantastic shared ownership apartment that I love. I am now beginning to look at mortgages but I have no idea where to begin. Is there any particular information I need to provide for a mortgage application? Jane Smedley



well as proof of their identity and a copy of their bank statement showing that the funds are available. The gift letter needs to be signed and confirm a few details including – the full name of the person gifting you, their relationship to you, and confirmation of the amount they are gifting you. You will also need confirmation that the gift money is non-refundable and that they will have no financial interest in the property.

FULLY COVERED I recently bought my first apartment through a shared ownership scheme. It’s a new build property and has an NHBC warranty, but I’m not sure what this means. It’s exciting to be in my new home, especially as it took such a long time to save up for my deposit. However, as a first time buyer I am still learning the ropes, so could you please explain what this warranty is for? Lauren Bermund FTB SAYS: Congratulations on being able to buy your first home. To answer your question, to protect the buyer, builder or developer your purchase needs to be registered by the NHBC, which stands for the National

House Building Council. New builds are protected by a 10year warranty, which offers protection if the builder goes bankrupt while building the property. It also protects against structural flaws for eight years, and for defects that become apparent in two years. Although it is important to have this warranty, it is still vital to have an independent survey done, even on new builds. You may find it useful to look at the NHBC website,, for more information on warranties.

HOW TO GET ON THE LADDER? I have been living in rented accommodation in Manchester for a long time now, and think it is time for me to seriously consider buying my own home. I have looked online at prices in my area to see what’s available, but as a first time buyer I have absolutely no experience of what I should do, or where I should even start? Millie Wilde FTB SAYS: It is a big step to buy your own home, especially when you are just starting out on the property ladder, but there is a lot of help available to you. Looking online is a great place to start, but also consider speaking to developers and visiting show homes. This can give you a feel for what’s currently available, as well as give you an idea of what you might like. We have our Manchester Home Show on October 7th, where we will have developers, housing associations,

conveyancers and financial advisors on hand to give you advice and guidance - this could be a great way for you to gather the information that can help to get you started.

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

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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

Humidity Free Humidity can cause damage to your health as well as your home. In the wet winter months as we warm up our homes, we increase the levels of humidity, trapping moisture inside, which can cause rot and mould. We love EcoAir’s DC12 dehumidifier for keeping moisture levels regulated. The design is sleek and compact and its touch screen control panel makes it easy to use. The dehumidifier can extract up to 12L of water a day and has options for either continuous draining or storing water in the large 3.5L water collection tank. EcoAir’s DC12 also comes with a two-year warranty. EcoAir DC12, £129.96, EcoAir

The Right Recipe Food has a wonderful way of bringing people together, and there’s nothing quite like sharing a meal with your friends or family. This beautiful recipe collection tin allows you to store family recipes with ease, and its eye-catching citrus print means it’s not only practical, but looks great in the kitchen too. The set comes with 12 letterpress dividers and 24 recipe cards, so you are all set to go. Citrus floral recipe tin, £34, Papermash

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Everybody loves a celebration and the whimsical Alice in Wonderland range is perfect for throwing your very own Mad Hatter’s tea party. The colourful range has everything you need to be the perfect hostess, from cake stands to mini cake domes, you’ll have everything you need for a wonderland-themed afternoon - just remember the jam tarts! Alice in Wonderland range, from £4.99, Lakeland

Bedt ime Bund le of Joy

Having friends to stay? Planning a camping holiday, or attending a festival? Then bundle beds are the essential portable bed that make bad sleep a thing of the past. The self-inflating mattress comes with a built in duvet and pillow. Quick and easy to use, you just unclip, unroll and unzip and the bed is ready to go! This practical design also makes them simple to both store and carry. Bundle bed, £199.99, Bundle Beds

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Homepage LIVING

Shades of autumn

Table lamp, £75; duvet cover, £91; throw, £125; cushions, from £30, Debenhams

Be inspired by the change in season and use autumnal shades of purple and orange in your interiors. These colours will add warmth and create a cosy atmosphere in your new home

Set of three storage jars, £28, Next Trailing leaves mirror, £169, M&S Swan 1.7L pyramid kettle, £34.99, Very

Blackwood retro lounge & desk chair, £159; Karish brass plated wall light, £110; Lico wood mobile drinks cabinet, £495; Agate tall side table, £160; Art Nouveau burnt orange tub chair, £475; Bawang cow hide rug, £795, Cuckooland

Copper effect scale, £12, Wilko


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Homepage LIVING

Wave knit cushion, £29.50, M&S

Strathmore check cushion, £16, JD Williams

Freya coffee table, £199, M&S

Ben Di Lisi cushion, £22, Debenhams

Sherlock chair, from £450; reactive vase, £14, set of four mugs, £16, Next Copper lamp, £150, Debenhams

Ben Di Lisi vase, £28, Debenhams

C O N TA C T S » Cuckooland » Debenhams » JD Williams » M&S » Next » Very » Wilko

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Homepage LIVING

At home with:

Baroness Mone of Mayfair OBE Lady Mone is renowned as one of the UK’s most influential ladies. The multi-award winning entrepreneur-turned-Parliamentarian is a true advocate for female equality in business and founder of Ultimo Brands International, the UK’s leading lingerie brand. She is a life peer and was awarded an OBE for her outstanding contribution to business. She talks to Lynda Clark about her new interiors brand, her motivation and her love of everything British


Photos © Dan Kennedy

FTB: Tell us about your first property experience. MM: My first flat was in Shawlands [in Glasgow], and I almost died at how much it was at the time – it was £42,000. It was a one bed apartment and I was pregnant with my daughter Rebecca. I remember thinking, ‘How will I ever pay this off?’ and being totally overwhelmed at how expensive it was. FTB: You grew up in the east end of Glasgow and left school with no qualifications after your dad fell ill and was declared paraplegic. Do you think it was this experience that gave you the drive which turned you into a successful entrepreneur? MM: My parents are my biggest inspiration – they are so hard working and caring. Growing up in the east end of Glasgow in a very poor, but loving family, made me want to strive for more. The fear of failure and having nothing drives me on and that’s my secret.   FTB: You founded Ultimo, the UK’s leading lingerie brand. Have you always had an eye for design, or is it something you fell into? MM: Design has always been a big part of my life, from designing the perfect bra with Ultimo, to my best-selling jewellery range on QVC and my new venture, Michelle Mone Interiors. Over the years I’ve personally designed my own homes to a very high standard – so it’s a personal and professional passion of mine. But as I said, it was my drive and fear of failure that I really owe to the brand’s success. I remember, just after I had my first child, standing outside Selfridges refusing to move until I had spoken to the buyer to ensure that Ultimo was stocked there!   FTB: How did you move from lingerie design into interior and architectural design? MM: Although I am ultimately labelled as an entrepreneur, global speaker, author, innovator and parliamentarian, being a designer has been a huge part of my life. Owning my own luxury interiors company was always the next step for me. Having been a dream of mine for the last couple of years, now is the right time. We have our own team of interiors specialists and architects to ensure Michelle Mone Interiors delivers only the very best for our clientele.   FTB: Can you tell us more about your new interiors brand?

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Homepage LIVING

“ALWAYS START WITH THE ESSENTIALS – GET THE FOUNDATIONS RIGHT AND WORK BACK FROM THAT” MM: Michelle Mone Interiors create beautifully crafted interiors that make exceptional homes for discerning clients across the globe. Our signature is to deliver British inspired elegance, with a twist of contemporary design and functionality that is created from the highest quality materials and craftsmanship. My team are talented, friendly, skilled and driven with the passion and creativity to make every project we work on individual and tailored to the client’s distinctive style. Our current projects reflect the team’s experience in creating luxurious, sophisticated and timeless interiors for private clients, property developers, hoteliers and super yacht owners. Whilst at the moment much of our work is currently focused on private residential and commercial properties in London and the UK, we also work

internationally – with recent commissions in the Middle East and the Caribbean. Most excitingly, my move into the interiors sector sees a collaboration with leading designer, Julie Chapman. This allows me to combine my business attributes and unique design flair with Julie’s unrivalled experience and expertise as Head Designer. Together, we create beautifully crafted interiors that make exceptional homes for discerning clients across the globe. FTB: You often use British inspired elegance within your work, why does Britain inspire you? MM: We are a nation of greats across every walk of life from business to design, to fashion and sport. Although I now spend a lot of my time travelling, Britain is my home and I’m proud to call it so. This is why a lot

of British elements run through my interior designs and my own personal homes too. FTB: What are your plans in the future? MM: Michelle Mone Interiors is my main focus for now and we hope to expand quickly. I am also continuing to speak worldwide and seeing the success of other projects, especially my jewellery line, grow.   FTB: What advice can you give first time buyers when decorating their homes? MM: Always start with the essentials – get the foundations right and work back from that. Invest your money initially where you don’t see it, those are the things that can come back to bite you and cost you a lot of money in the long run!

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What we found… THE COUNTRY CONNECTION Arena Place, Colchester

FROM £230,000

THE ONSITE FACILITIES Traders’ Quarter at Royal Wharf, Silvertown

FROM £96,250*

This month, FTB goes on the hunt with Georgia Banks, who is after a one bedroom home in east London


Name Georgia Banks, 31 Occupation Public relations executive Maximum budget £280,000 Requirements A one bedroom home within a short commute of work at Canary Wharf, with outdoor space, and supermarkets and amenities in walking distance

What she wanted… I have been living in east London ever since I moved to London five years ago, and I love it. It’s so convenient for getting to my office in Canary Wharf, and because I travel to Europe a lot for work, it’s really great for getting to London City Airport. I’ve been sharing flats with friends for years, but now I’ve hit my thirties, I really feel like it’s time to find a place of my own, and have been saving hard for a deposit. I would ideally like to stay in east London, to be close to my friends and keep my commute under 30 minutes. And, seeing as I don’t drive and often work quite late, I’d love to be close to shops so that I can easily pick shopping up on my way home from work. I am also a big fitness fan, so being close to a park or a good gym or leisure centre would be amazing!”

A series of historic military buildings have been restored on this site to create a stunning new collection of two to four bedroom homes. The Essex town of Colchester, which has fantastic shopping and local amenities, is under a 10-minute walk, as is Colchester Town rail station, from where London Liverpool Street can be reached in around 50 minutes. The two bedroom coach houses here are bright and spacious, with quality fitted kitchens and an en suite from the master bedroom.

Traders’ Quarter forms part of the larger Royal Wharf development, which will eventually comprise around 3,500 homes with shops, cafes, bars and a gym. The one and two bedroom apartments available through shared ownership feature spacious interiors with wooden flooring, integrated appliances and quality fittings with a balcony or terrace. Thames Barrier Park is a short stroll away, and travel connections are fantastic. West Silvertown DLR station is under five minutes away for services to Canary Wharf in around 10 minutes. *Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £385,000

What she thought… It is very interesting to see that I could actually afford a two bedroom property on my budget. Having more space would be amazing – I love the idea of having friends and family to stay and offering them more that just my sofa. Of course, the compromise is that I’d be a lot further east than I am now – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just something I hadn’t considered. I think it could be a lot of fun having a bit of countryside on the doorstep.”

This development is very impressive indeed! Not only are the apartments really lovely, but there are some great onsite facilities too, including a gym. This could save me a lot of money on my current membership, which is a real bonus. It’s a great location, right by the river and also really close to work. Some of my colleagues live in nearby Canning Town and they really enjoy it. I could join them for a Saturday morning jog along the Thames.”

14 First Time Buyer October/November 2017

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THE NEW NEIGHBOURHOOD Weavers Quarter, Dagenahm



THE WILDCARD East City Point, Canning Town

FROM £320,000

First choice! TH E WATE RS ID E LIF E Royal Albert Wharf, Beckton

There will eventually be more than 1,575 new homes at Weavers Quarter, which is part of an exciting regeneration project in the borough of Barking and Dagenham. The first 421 homes launch this autumn, with over half available through shared ownership. Local amenities are excellent, while Barking station, on the District line and Overground, is around a 10-minute walk – the journey time to Canary Wharf is just 20 minutes from here.

Located in the heart of Canning Town, this collection of one to three bedroom apartments is proving to be very popular. The contemporary one bedroom homes feature open-plan living/ dining areas that open to private balconies, open-plan living/dining areas, and quality fitted kitchens with integrated appliances. There’s also plenty of natural light thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. From Canning Town, Canary Wharf can be reached in around five minutes, and the West End in around 20, via the Jubilee line.

I really like the look of these apartments, and of course, the location. In terms of getting around, it really is ideal. I could probably cycle or walk to most places – or just a short bus ride would suffice. The river is within walking distance too, which would be exciting for when people come to visit. I think I’d be the envy of lots of friends. Although the apartments are stylish, I think parking might be a bit trickier.”

This is a lovely development, in a fabulous location. I absolutely love the interiors – the kitchens are sleek, and I’m really impressed with the amount of natural light coming through the huge windows. The balcony space is very generous - I can certainly see some al fresco dining opportunities. Travel for work would be really easy from here. The station and the airport are both close by – along with some great bars and restaurants.”

FROM £105,000*

collection Brownfield site, this new Occupying a previously the home of into in Bas ert Alb ing turn of 1,500 new homes is which are . The waterside homes, a thriving new community London am dre a the Thames, are only a stone’s throw from walk, te inu ve-m fi a und DLR is aro location: Gallions Reach and ng nary Wharf, while shoppi for speedy services to Ca p. rste doo amenities almost on the eating out is easy, with and d, dar stan h hig finished to a Inside, the apartments are . ace terr or y con bal ate from a priv all residents will benefit

e of £420,000 e of the full market valu *Based on a 25% shar


“I’ve been very focused on finding my first home, so have already spoken with a mortgage advisor and have a mortgage agreed in principle. I’ve also been exploring Beckton and the surrounding area with my mum, who is the first person I go to for advice – she thinks it’s a great spot to buy in and is just as excited as I am.”

I absolutely love the look of these gorgeous apartments. They are beautifully designed and so stylish. They’re worlds apart from the shared conversion flat I live in at the moment! And I love everything about the location, too; it would be a dream come true living by the water and so close to the Thames. I would really enjoy bringing my family to see the views, and exploring the wharf and river. It’s also really close to the DLR station, so getting to work and around town in general would be a cinch. London City Airport is also pretty close, which would be so great for me when I’m travelling for work – as I use that airport all the time.”

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Developer’s Doctor Sonny Gowans is Managing Director at Unique Property Group and is a highly experienced property developer with many years in the industry. Having worked on several global and high profile residential projects, Sonny is about to launch his first development as the founder of Unique Property Group in Crouch End

Question… I’m looking to buy a property in London – ideally in the north or west. Thanks to some money recently left to me, I’m in a position to buy with a reasonable enough deposit, but I’m not sure if it’s better to pay more for a central location or look a little further out and maybe get a bigger property. Any advice, please?

Answer … The London market remains strong and the fact that the average asking price for properties in the capital are more than double compared with the rest of the UK, proves that the market is one that has a mind of its own. The usual struggle for first time buyers in London is managing to save enough of a deposit to be able to cope with the demand that house prices in the capital pose. In fact, the average deposit required by first time buyers in the capital (without the help of a scheme) is just short of £100,000, which is a considerable sum for anyone setting out on their homebuying journey. Luckily, thanks to the fact that you have a good deposit, it sounds like you are in a position to widen your search criteria, but you may wish to consider several factors to make sure that your purchase is also a sensible investment. The key thing to consider is establishing your mid-term needs and whether you actually need more or less space, as square footage in London most definitely comes at a price. There’s no point in buying a small studio if you are thinking about potentially moving in with a partner or friend any time soon. Stamp Duty is a major cost of homebuying in London and could set you back a fair few thousand pounds, so you don’t want to be buying in the near future. To the same tune, there’s no point in buying a three bedroom property in the outer zones


of London if you have no plans to rent out a room or if you quite like the idea of being able to walk to work. Unless you are dead set on living in zone 1, you should be able to find some great value pockets in north and west London. To give you an idea of what’s available, Unique Property Group will be launching a fantastic new development in fashionable Crouch End – The Printworks. Crouch End is a well-established residential area and an appealing choice for north London homebuyers, with a two bedroom apartment at a guide price of around £750,000. These converted properties boast great character as part of the trendy conversion project and are set to be a very desirable place to call home. If this is a little out of your budget, you may look to consider another area, or even a brand new apartment in part of a larger development. To the west of London, Hounslow is an area primed for great things in terms of property, especially as the area is one of the few locations which is expected to benefit from the planned Crossrail in 2018. We have a


Sonny Gowans, Managing Director, Unique Property Group

development, Habito, launching there next year and due to some of the apartments being priced at under £600,000, we will be able to offer Help to Buy London equity loans on some of them. This means that you may be able to secure a brand new home with only a 5% deposit. Although you mention your deposit not being a problem, using Help to Buy London may mean that you are able to afford to buy a slightly bigger property upfront. Remember though: the 20% equity loan with Help to Buy does need to be repaid, so it’s worth factoring this into your plan. Ultimately it sounds like you have lots of decisions to make based on your personal circumstances and preferences; including how long you plan to live in your home and whether you wish to invest in an established area or one that’s more up and coming. The fact that you have a good deposit will give you a fantastic start to buying your first home and will definitely open your options up considerably in a notoriously expensive housing market.



The Printworks by Unique Property Group in fashionable Crouch End, N8, is set to launch in the New Year. The conversion of this landmark heritage building, originally a printworks in the 1800s and home to the Hornsey Journal, will see this retro building transformed into six spacious apartments with terraces and balconies, as well as three mews houses, all set within a private enclave. Unique Property Group will keep the building’s original 1920s façade and restore it to its former glory. Internally, the building will be redesigned, utilising the existing structural heritage, and feature the latest trends in designer homes, including exposed steel beams, Moso white textured bamboo floors and industrial-style materials for ceilings, stairways and entrances, with edgy designer interiors. Crouch End has superb transport connections, with The Printworks located within a 10-minute walk of Hornsey rail station, providing travel times into central London of less than 20 minutes. London City Airport is less than 12 miles away. Residents of The Printworks will also benefit from free car club membership and secure bicycle parking at the development. Prices for apartments at The Printworks are expected to start from approximately £750,000. 020 8348 5515

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Living life to the full! 18

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Photos: Sarah Cresswell |

Having trained as a fitness instructor, Jasmine Harman never dreamt of being on TV. However, there was a twist of fate and she's now a top presenter. She has recently celebrated her 300th episode of A Place in the Sun and A Place in the Sun: Home or Away? She talks to Lynda Clark about her exciting career, and with her property knowledge and experience, gives some excellent advice for first time buyers Jasmine is a very busy lady; she has recently had her new house completely renovated and with two young children running around and a full schedule of filming to organise, she hardly has a spare moment. She regularly presents A Place in the Sun and A Place in the Sun: Home Or Away? and has also presented a host of television shows on prime time TV. The filming of Britain’s Biggest Hoarders for BBC1 hit close to home for Jasmine, who has first hand experience of the troubles, heartache and desperation of people who literally can’t throw anything away, as her mother is a compulsive hoarder. It's hard to imagine that she grew up in a difficult situation and that her life was not always easy as she seems totally grounded. She loves nothing better than spending time at her new home with her cameraman husband, Jon and their two adorable children. Jasmine was born in Hackney, east London, and comes from a ‘big Greek family’. Her father is British, her mother, Greek Cypriot, and Jasmine has six younger siblings, so home life was always hectic. “Even though my parents separated I've always been close with both of them. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a vet until my mum told me the job involved putting animals down. I was so upset at the thought of it that I went right off the idea and decided to become a vegetarian. Then I wanted to be a pop star, even though I can’t sing! “I was quite academic at school, but I was also very creative. I enjoyed science and maths as much as drama and English literature, but in the end, I decided to focus on the more creative subjects. After taking my A levels, I decided to train as a fitness instructor. It’s an involved process as there are many different components to it, like anatomy, nutrition and, of course the physical side of things.” Jasmine got her first job in a health club in Islington, north London and stayed there for a couple of years before becoming assistant manager at another club in Muswell Hill. “It was 2000 and I was offered the opportunity to go to Portugal and become marketing manager of a health spa. I was headhunted for the position and as I have a real sense of adventure and love travelling, I decided to go. It was a very exciting opportunity, and although I had never been to Portugal before, I felt that with the right attitude, I would make it work. It was absolutely amazing and I loved every moment of it. The lifestyle, social life and the people were all fantastic. It really made me broaden my horizons and, having grown up in Hackney, I suddenly felt that the world was my oyster and I could do and achieve anything I wanted.” Jasmine was responsible for the marketing budget, and decided to advertise on the Algarve’s popular radio station Kiss FM. “I went along to the meeting to sort out what we were going to do and requested that we have a female voiceover for one of the ads. They informed me that they had a lot of guys, but no female presenters who could do it. So they suggested that I do it myself and after securing a good discount for the adverts, I agreed. A week later I was left in the studio, live on air and it was a real baptism of fire! I coped though, and managed to get through it, before staying there for three years to present a twice-weekly magazine-style show!”


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THE VIEW It was at the end of 2003 that Jasmine had a life-changing birthday. She explains: “I was turning 28 and had been thinking that I needed a new challenge. I was out for my birthday with friends and after a few margaritas we were feeling a little merry, and they suggested that I return to the UK and become a TV presenter! It may have been suggested in jest, but it put the thought in my head. I had the idea of making a travel show, so I made a pilot in the Algarve. When I returned to London, I decided to approach production companies and see if they were interested. I sent the showreel off, and received an immediate response from a company asking if I would go in and talk to them. When I phoned them, the girl who answered spoke Portuguese and as I speak the language too, we chatted away and I think it broke the ice. She asked me to do a screen test and a couple of months later I was back in the Algarve filming A Place in the Sun: Home or Away? It couldn’t have worked out better, as I knew the area, so I could really advise the house hunters about living in Portugal and give them some inside information. I've been presenting the show ever since. There have been a few milestones recently as I have worked on A Place in the Sun for 13 years and celebrated my 1,000th house tour and 300th episode. I was actually filming for A Place in the Sun: Home or Away? in the Lake District, so we took a commemorative photograph by the lake and had some champagne, which was lovely. It feels quite special as I have changed so many peoples lives whilst making the show and it’s been an amazing experience.” Although Jasmine lived at home with her family until she moved to Portugal, she had the insight to save for a deposit. “I was in my early 20s and a close friend and I decided we would buy a large house together and maybe rent out a couple of rooms to help with the costs. But we ended up in a contract race and didn’t get it. It took about four or five months and during that time the prices had gone up so much that a three bedroom house went from around £150,000 to £200,000, which we couldn’t

afford. When I went to the Algarve I was given an apartment as part of my contract so I was able to save quite a lot of money while living there. I eventually came home and rented a room for a couple of months. I started dating Jon, who was our cameraman on A Place in the Sun and soon afterwards, we moved in together. Jon gave up his flat and we were planning to rent somewhere, but as we had managed to scrape together enough for a deposit, we decided to buy instead, which made more sense. It was quite a whirlwind and just to be on the safe side, we saw a solicitor who drew up a trust deed, which ensured we would both be covered if anything went wrong. We bought a Victorian three bedroom garden flat in Tooting, which we still own and are letting out.” After a couple of years the couple decided to buy a house, and found a perfect one in Sutton. Jasmine adds, “We bought it with the intention of moving in, but then got the news that we were going away filming for a long stretch and it seemed too much of a hassle to move in and then go away for six months, so we decided to let it out instead. Finally, in 2008 we really did want to move as we needed a home which didn’t need much maintenance as we were always away and never had time to do all the various jobs. We found a house, which was about two years old, that had been built by an Australian lady. It was a complete one-off and didn’t look like a typical British house at all because of her influence. There was a huge concertina glass door at the back, which allowed the outside space to become part of the living room. “In 2013 we bought another house, which was exactly what we had been looking for, but needed a lot of renovation. It is in an area that we didn’t know very well, but it ticked all our boxes so we decided to buy it. It's just into Surrey and even though it’s only about a 15 minute drive to our old home, you get so much more for your money. I basically took my own advice and looked a little


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THE VIEW further afield and was pleasantly surprised as you wouldn’t normally get anything like this size of house at the price we paid. I was brought up in Hackney, which was very urban and gritty but has been so gentrified, that the prices have gone sky high. In Streatham, where we lived before, you could just about get a small terraced house with a tiny garden at this price. Living in the suburbs has proved to be lovely and we're close to the station, so it only takes half an hour to get into central London. It’s a beautiful detached 1930s house, which originally had six bedrooms, a swimming pool and a big garden. The area is great, with a lovely little high street, some great parks and several excellent schools nearby too. Initially we planned to rent it out so we could save up to do some work on it, but things didn’t quite go to plan and so we moved in instead. Again, I took my own advice and we lived in the house for about a year before making any major changes, which is very important as you get to know the place and see it in all the different seasons. It had been extended in the 80s and was typically decorated in that era. The ensuite off the master bedroom was enormous and had pink carpet, which had actually been custom-made and stitched into place. There were curved steps leading up to a Jacuzzi and even though it was certainly not to our taste, it was the perfect example of what would have been very fashionable at that time. “We decided to move out so the builders could start with the renovations and actually moved back into our first property. It was perfect timing because the tenants who had been there for around seven years were moving out and buying their own home. It was a little different living there this time as we now have two children, but there are three bedrooms and a garden so we managed very well.” Jasmine and Jon completely changed the house under renovation and knocked through walls so it's now open plan, with a huge family space. They kept a formal living room, which Jasmine keeps locked during the day, “It’s nice to have a room where there have been no jammie fingers or chocolate faces! We don’t really use it that often but sometimes it’s nice to spend time in there and relax after the children have gone to bed.” They also have a new kitchen, bathrooms and the annex, which was only accessible from the outside, has been turned into a utility room and Jon’s office. Jasmine continues, "We also changed the layout of upstairs and we now have five double bedrooms, which is fine for what we want. We did think about also doing a loft conversion, but we decided we really didn’t need any more space or bedrooms. I think we will stay in the house for a long time as we are all very happy here.”

"WHEN I BOUGHT MY FIRST APARTMENT I RENTED A ROOM OUT AND IT HELPED SO MUCH AND YOU ALSO HAVE SOMEBODY ELSE TO LOOK AFTER YOUR HOME IF YOU GO AWAY. IT’S A GREAT IDEA AND IS A WONDERFUL SAFETY NET TO ENSURE YOU CAN AFFORD THE MORTGAGE REPAYMENTS EACH MONTH" Jasmine has worked on many different types of programmes, even presenting a documentary called Britain’s Compulsive Shoppers for BBC1. She said, “These people are very like hoarders, but have a different set of problems. I also did a documentary called, The Zoo Next Door for BBC1 where I met animal lovers who have given up their lives for their pets and had taken animal ownership to another level. I presented Collectaholics for BBC 2 and The Truth About Your Teeth for BBC1, which was filmed at the Dental Institute at King’s College Hospital. It followed the progress of a series of people who are terrified of the dentist and was a complete eye opener for me as these people have extreme fear and despair with no apparent way of getting over it, but the programme was very positive and changed people lives, which was very uplifting.” But, it is A Place in the Sun and A Place in the Sun: Home or Away? which are closest to Jasmine’s heart. She said, “My mum comes with me when I am away filming; which is lovely. She enjoys spending time with the children, even though it can be very tiring - it works well for me too! I've probably spent more time with my mum since she began travelling with me and the children, than I have since I was 10! I'm off to Portugal next, which is always great fun and rather like going home.” Having had so much property experience, Jasmine has some excellent advice for first timers, “Everyone has an idea of their dream home in their dream location but it often makes sense to look at properties which are in an area which is up and coming. They will be more affordable to start with and once the area has been regenerated, the prices will go up, so it would be an excellent investment. It is advisable not to be too rigid with your criteria and try and think more laterally. Look at an area where you'll be able to buy a property and make a few improvements

to add value to it. Most first time buyers will not stay in their first home forever, so when it comes to selling, it means your second step is much easier. If you are looking to buy a one bedroom property, it is possible that by widening or slightly altering your search area to somewhere more affordable, you may find you are able to buy a two bedroom or an even larger property. The reason I feel this is a worthwhile and strategic endeavour, is from my own experience. It means that if needs be, you can let your second bedroom to a lodger, which may help to ensure you can still afford your mortgage repayments if you ever run into financial difficulties.  When I bought my first apartment I rented a room out and it helped so much. It also means you have somebody else to look after your home if you go away. It’s a great idea and is a wonderful safety net to ensure you can afford the mortgage repayments each month. “Once you buy your first home you will probably end up paying less than you did when renting, as rents have gone skyhigh! You may well find yourself in the fortunate position of being able to make overpayments on your mortgage. Most first time buyers are likely to be saving at least £100 per month when they move from renting to owning their first home and even if you are restricted on overpayments, most lenders allow up to 10% per year so this would remain within that limit. And if you’re a couple, that's only £50 each per month! It certainly makes quite a difference and is a substantial saving.” As Jasmine gets ready to fly off to film another series of A Place in the Sun, she added, “I have the best of all worlds - a wonderful family, a fantastic home and a great job – I’m always so busy but I love it and enjoy every new challenge that comes along.” A Place in the Sun: Home or Away? is on Channel 4 from 11 September.

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Get on the ladder with shared ownership

Confused by shared ownership? Think it’s just for key workers? Or just for first time buyers? Then think again! A week-long national campaign is returning for its fifth year, to raise awareness of the affordable alternative to homeownership More than half of potential homebuyers could be missing out on their opportunity to get on, or move up the property ladder, according to new research by Shared Ownership Week¹. Lifting the lid on this potential homeownership lifeline for thousands more budding property buyers, the Shared Ownership Week campaign returns on 21st – 27th September 2017. Ensuring buyers take note of the scheme, designer Wayne Hemingway MBE is backing the campaign, voicing his support for a sector that has “demonstrated considerable progress in bridging the affordability and home ownership gap.” Shared Ownership Week 2017 aims to help homebuyers understand how they could be eligible to secure a property with this pioneering scheme, which was first introduced in the 1980s. Brand new research commissioned by the team behind Shared Ownership Week has revealed 54% of 21 to 30-year-olds have never heard of shared ownership¹. The campaign aims to change this, and educate aspiring homebuyers about how the scheme can help them on to or up the property ladder. Wayne Hemingway MBE, who through his previous roles as Chair of Building For Life, a member of the Trustee Board of Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and HemingwayDesign’s various


housing projects, understands the importance of good quality, affordable housing. Wayne said, “I am delighted to be involved in Shared Ownership Week 2017, raising awareness of the important work of housing associations, helping people attain homeownership. Shared Ownership Week has come a long way over the last five years; it now not only champions affordability, but also the sheer variety of homes and vibrant communities they help create, in a wide range of locations.” The awareness week is backed by many of the major housing associations including Guinness, The L&Q Group, Notting Hill Sales, Newlon, Southern, Hyde New Homes, Thames Valley Housing, Peabody, Clarion, Moat, Metropolitan and Network. Each will be showcasing their new build shared ownership developments throughout the week, sharing their expertise with potential buyers, and providing information on how the scheme works and where it is available. The dedicated website contains a wealth of information for prospective buyers too, including case studies, videos and links to shared ownership homes currently available. Shared ownership has been available since the 1980s, but has been restricted with local councils dictating who should be a priority based on a wide of range of factors from salary to profession to where the buyer comes from. Following a relaxation to the eligibility criteria last year, the scheme is open to people of any occupation, and ensures second steppers, those who have owned before, are given equal priority with first time buyers. Furthermore, there is no longer a cap on the number of bedrooms an applicant can request, providing they earn less than £80,000 a year, or £90,000 in London.

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Shared ownership enables buyers to purchase a share in a brand-new home that they can afford – usually a minimum of 25% of its market value – with as little as a 5% deposit. The buyers pay a subsidised rent on the remaining share of the property, usually resulting in lower monthly costs than renting on the open market, and can buy further shares at any time, known as staircasing right up to 100% and outright ownership.

The freehold of the property will normally be owned by the housing association and they will be your landlords. They will give you a lease for the property for the percentage that you have purchased, which will normally be for 99 or 125 years. You are the leaseholder and will be responsible for the property. The lease will set out what you have to do and what your landlord has to do so you need to read and understand this. You will be responsible for any repairs inside your home but communal repairs or maintenance will be carried out by the housing association and then charged to you through your service charge. The housing association may ask you to pay into a sinking fund, which is used to cover things like expensive repairs to the roof or lifts and for any communal decorations.

ELIGIBILITY You can buy a home through shared ownership if: 9 You are a first time buyer (or you used to own a home, but can’t afford to buy now). 9 Your household earns £80,000 a year or less with the exception of London where the threshold is £90,000 a year. 9 You rent a council or housing association property. 9 Only military personnel will be given priority over other groups through government funded shared ownership schemes. However, councils with their own shared ownership home-building programmes may have some priority groups, based on local housing needs.

KEY FACTS 9 You will need a smaller deposit, as you only need to find the deposit for the share you buy. 9 You will need a smaller mortgage, as you are only buying the percentage you can afford. 9 There will also be a service charge on the property, so it is important to check what this is likely to be. 9 You will need to take out a mortgage to pay for your share of the home’s purchase price. 9 Shared ownership homes are always leasehold. 9 You can sell your home at any time. The housing provider will have eight weeks to find you a buyer and during this time you cannot sell your home privately or through an estate agent. If they find a buyer, they will usually charge you an administrative fee, so you should ask them whether this is a fixed price. If they cannot find a buyer after eight weeks, you will be able to sell your home privately or through an estate agent. 9 Housing associations offer resale properties, which have already been bought through, shared ownership in the past, and the owner is looking to sell their share and move on. You buy

OVER HALF, 64%, OF THOSE AGED 21-30 THINK IT WILL TAKE OVER 11 YEARS FOR THEM TO RAISE A LARGE ENOUGH DEPOSIT ON A HOME.* *Results from an independent survey of 2,000 people across the UK and Northern Ireland, commissioned by Shared Ownership Week


The current average age for a shared ownership buyer is 33, with shared ownership widely recognised as one of the best ways to get on the housing ladder for young professionals who have been priced out of the open market. But for older people looking for security the scheme is also a viable option. David Walton, 57, a maintenance worker at the University of Chichester, is due to move into a shared ownership home in Chichester. He has been living in rented accommodation in Bognor Regis after splitting up from his wife three years ago. David is paying £68,750 for a 25% share in a two bedroom house at the Roman Walk development through Clarion Housing Group. “I know a few work colleagues who have bought through shared ownership and after asking a few questions, I realised it might be a good option for me.” He was able to use some of the funds from the sale of his family home and income from a pay rise to raise a £50,000 deposit. As soon as he viewed the property at Roman Walk he knew it was where he wanted to live. David said, “The location is perfect and the quality of the finish is excellent. It’s going to mean everything and I can’t describe how much happiness it’s going to bring me. I was worried about being stuck wasting money by renting privately but shared ownership has given me a way out. It’s just great that I have been able to do it by myself. And I even hope to be able to staircase up towards full ownership in a few years when I am due a lump sum of my pension.” David will be spending around £650 a month on the mortgage, service charge and rent at Roman Walk, which is a saving of over £150 a month compared to the cost of renting. “The fact that I’ll be saving money through shared ownership is the icing on the cake.”

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Sean and Holly Roberts, both 33, had been on the hunt for a property in the capital for two years, and finally found an ideal home thanks to shared ownership at Notting Hill Sales’ Horizons Tower in Poplar, E14. Digital Marketing Director Sean said, “We had been looking for a property to buy for a long time, but nothing seemed to quite fit the bill. It had always been our dream to own our home, so we very quickly realised that shared ownership was going to be the best way for us to achieve this. We certainly couldn’t have afforded what we have now without it, particularly in a location like this and in London’s current property market!” Holly and Sean bought a three bedroom apartment at Horizons Tower, purchasing a 25% share for £148,000. The couple said, “We had visited many properties in our search, but nothing compared to the space and specification of Horizons Tower. It was by far the nicest we had seen, with plenty of storage and lots of room for friends and family to stay. The building even has a concierge, who is very friendly, and an amazingly well-equipped gym, making it great value too. The best part is that our home has a lovely big balcony with a view of the river Thames, which is really great to sit on in the summer!” Photographer Holly continues, “Notting Hill Sales were really communicative throughout our buying process, so we knew what was happening at all times. This was especially important as I am self-employed, so there’s a lot more paperwork involved, but they made it really simple and smooth. Our combined monthly outgoings of rent, mortgage and service charge are around the same as the rent on our smaller, two bedroom rental apartment, and after such a long search it’s lovely to finally be able to say that we are homeowners.” Horizons Tower, which overlooks the Poplar Dock Marina, offers a contemporary collection of one, two and three bedroom apartments, situated close to the Thames, and only a short walk away from Canary Wharf. The development boasts a 24-hour concierge and an on-site gym, offering residents an exceptional living experience. The homes enjoy spacious, open plan living areas and each apartment comes with its own private balcony or terrace, ideal for dining, entertaining and relaxing. In the two and three bedroom apartments, the master bedroom benefits from a built-in wardrobe. The homes also have an entry phone system. With a high quality specification, the kitchen includes a range of integrated Electrolux appliances including a stainless steel oven, fridge/freezer and dishwasher. A washer/dryer and Ecobin are also provided. The bathroom features a white Villeroy and Boch bath, heated towel rail, and attractive cream tone wall tiles. The development is ideally located next to excellent transport links; Blackwall DLR station is only 0.5km away, connecting to the underground network via the interchange at Bank station. Canary Wharf station is also within close proximity, providing access to the DLR and Jubilee line. The area further offers a selection of bus routes, with a service running from the Blackwall DLR through to Trafalgar Square, while other routes give residents access to the local amenities. Unfortunately, all the homes at Horizons Tower are now sold. However, if you wish to get on to the property ladder with Notting Hill Sales, there are one and two bedroom shared ownership apartments at the Traders Quarter development in E16. Price start from £96, 500, based on a 25% share of a one bedroom apartment, with a full market value of £385, 000.

the share they are selling and pay a subsidised rent on the remainer. It is unlikely that you can buy fewer shares than the current owner has, but it may be possible to buy more. Remember that these homes will obviously be older and in more established communities.

APPLYING FOR SHARED OWNERSHIP To buy a home through shared ownership you should contact the Help to Buy agent in the area where you want to live. See page 122 for details.

WHAT TO CONSIDER AND QUESTIONS TO ASK 9 Can you staircase up to 100% if you wish? 9 Can you start staircasing immediately? 9 What are the maximum times you can staircase? 9 What is the minimum share you can buy at any one time?


9 How well does the housing association maintain the property? 9 Look at your finances and ensure you keep on top of your mortgage, rent and service charges. 9 Think about what you really want. Is it location or property size that is important to you? 9 Your rent and service charges are likely to increase with inflation so you should ask yourself if this fits into your budget. 9 Ask to see an estimate of the service charge. 9 If you don’t understand the lease then ask.

STAIRCASING Buying the rest of your home is fairly straightforward and is known as staircasing. You can buy an additional percentage of your property at any point. Normally the minimum extra percentage you can buy is 10% at a time. Most people try to buy them in larger chunks as there are fees that you have to pay each time, so it can become quite expensive

if you just buy 10% at a time. When you have staircased to 100% you will no longer pay any rent to the housing association. In order to staircase you will need to get an up-to-date valuation and you will buy the additional percentage at the current value. This maybe higher or lower than when you first purchased your property. You will also have to cover all the legal fees as well as Stamp Duty. It is always advisable to talk to your conveyancer who will be able to explain what you need to pay and when.

MOVING ON If you want to move and sell your home then you have the option to resell the percentage you own. The housing association has the option to sell this to another shared owner but if they don’t find a buyer in eight weeks you can then sell it on the open market. When you decide to sell your property you should contact your housing provider and you will be asked to choose a surveyor to value your home. The housing association should be able to give you a list of surveyors.

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EXPERT COMMENT When Help to Buy ends in 2020, shared ownership could become the only way for many people to afford their own home, so it’s vital this flexible scheme, which is often misinterpreted, is made more readily understandable by explaining it in simple, straightforward language. This is what we plan to do with our shared ownership homes by rebranding them to So Resi. Its purpose is to equip first time buyers with all the information and help they need from the start with clear definitions and transparent explanations to make the right decisions long-term, which includes our unique So Resi Plus scheme, a more cost-effective way of buying more shares in a home over time.

Kush Rawal Commercial Director at Thames Valley Housing

You will have to pay a fee for the valuation; the valuation will set the price of your home. From this the housing association will then be able to work out the value of your share.

ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE You will need to ask an Energy Performance Certificate provider to produce an EPC. You will not be able to start selling your home until you have confirmed that an EPC has been applied for. An EPC gives important information on the energy efficiency of your home and will make recommendations on how it can be improved. The EPC must be provided within the first 28 days of marketing the property as it is a legal requirement. For more information on Shared Ownership Week, visit or follow @SOWeekLive on Twitter for the latest news

High quality materials, modern design, better insulation and efficient heating systems are just a handful of reasons why owners of new build properties could save up to £1,400 a year on utility bills, compared to living in a Victorian equivalent. Thanks to shared ownership from Notting Hill Sales, first time buyer Fiona McDonnell was able to make the leap from renter to buyer and escape the Victorian flat she and her partner Adam were renting, buying a brand new two bedroom apartment at Oval Quarter in SW9. Fiona, 28, said, “Adam and I were renting a one bedroom, ground floor flat in Clapham Junction, which was a converted Victorian house. Being such an old property, it had many problems – it was cold, damp and mouldy, and very expensive to heat as a result. After this experience, we knew that when it came to buying our own house, it would be a new build. We had been saving for a while, and Adam is an avid reader of the property pages in magazines and newspapers, which is how we discovered Notting Hill Sales. We liked what they were offering, and decided to visit two of their nearby developments, one of which was Oval Quarter. “We visited the show home and knew that this was exactly what we were looking for. It was well located, as I can get a bus from right outside to where I work at University College Hospital, and Adam can cycle into Farringdon. The apartments are spacious, the design was modern and most importantly it was warm and dry. We applied, and two weeks later, we were excitedly beginning the process of buying our first apartment.” Using shared ownership, Fiona and Adam bought a 40% share in their apartment, valued at £450,000. Fiona added, “Shared ownership was our only way on to the ladder; we were completely priced out of the market otherwise, and we were desperate to get out of our old rental flat. I didn’t know much about shared ownership before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was super easy – Notting Hill Sales even recommended us a mortgage advisor, so the whole process was so quick, yet ran so smoothly. Our monthly outgoings are roughly the same as our old rental flat, but it is so much nicer! The community here is wonderful. Everyone is so friendly and we all get on well - we even have a litter pickup scheme between ourselves and are redeveloping the communal gardens, which is lovely to be involved with. We can’t believe how lucky we have been to find such a wonderful home.” Just seven apartments remain in the final phase of apartments at Oval Quarter. The development is just 10 minutes to the heart of the capital, making the location remarkably central but surprisingly quiet and leafy. The development brings more than 800 new homes creating a smart, central and popular location to live. Oval station, which is just a short walk away offers connections on the underground by way of the Northern line, which now runs 24-hours over the weekend. Bank, London Bridge, and Waterloo are all easily reachable, as well as the Eurostar from Kings Cross St Pancras. With just a quick change to the Victoria line at Stockwell, there are even more connections and destinations to choose from. Prices for the new homes at Oval Quarter start from £222,800 based on a 40% share, with a full market value of £570,000 for a two bedroom apartment.

1 Survey of 2,000 UK residents, June 2017, by Censuswide, commissioned by Shared Ownership Week

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EXPERT COMMENT As property prices continue to


rise, particularly across London and the south east, more and more first time buyers are turning to alternative homeownership


St Mark’s Square


schemes to help them get on to the property ladder. An increasingly popular route is shared ownership, a trend we expect to continue for the foreseeable future. In fact, L&Q have recently partnered with The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to invest £8 billion into 20,000 new homes across the capital - 12,000 of which will be affordable including shared ownership homes. This partnership firmly cements shared ownership’s place in London’s property market, and will see thousands more hopeful buyers

An exclusive collection of one, two and three bedroom apartments, just a few minutes away from Bromley South train station, St Mark’s Square is a new residential and leisure quarter with a beautifully landscaped public square and surrounded by a multiplex cinema, cafés and restaurants. Each apartment for shared ownership comes with its own balcony. The apartments also come fully fitted with a contemporary high gloss kitchen with integrated appliances. With excellent transport links from Bromley South it takes just 16 minutes to Victoria. The collection also includes a three bedroom wheelchair accessible apartment that is available to people who are registered as disabled. It is anticipated that these homes will be available to reserve in autumn 2017 and ready to move into from spring 2018.

getting on to the property ladder with L&Q in the years to come.

Alice Turner Marketing &


Property Events Manager at L&Q

EXPERT COMMENT For many people shared ownership is a brilliant way to own their first home. It’s up to 25% less expensive


Deptford Foundry

Deptford Foundry offers a collection of one and two bedroom apartments for shared ownership in the heart of one of south east London’s most creative neighbourhoods. Anthology Deptford Foundry sits on the site of a former metal foundry, formed in 1831 by engineer, Josiah Stone. Residents at the development will have access to a stunning communal landscape garden and also offers a communal work space. There are excellent transport links from the nearby stations of New Cross and Deptford. To be considered for these properties you must either live, or have a work connection, to the borough of Lewisham. It is anticipated that these homes will be launched in January 2018.

than buying a property outright and requires a third of the savings

they would ordinarily need to get a mortgage. Plus, it usually compares very favourably with renting; and the best thing is that there’s no compromise on quality. 

BRENTFORD Reynard Mill

It’s a much more conventional option now than it once was, and it has really stood the test of time. Shared ownership is more popular with customers than ever before, particularly as they realise it’s one of the best ways for them to find a home to call their own.

Sandy Macmillan Director of Sales and Marketing,

Providing a range of brand new homes in a variety of styles and tenures, Notting Hill Sales’ latest development Reynard Mills in Brentford TW8, makes use of a derelict brownfield site in an otherwise pleasant, traditionally residential area. A mix of apartments and family houses, the properties are designed to aid local people on to the housing ladder and FROM redevelop the existing neighbourhood. £TBC The well-considered masterplan, which encompasses 195 high quality homes with a mix of tenures and property types, is designed to complement the existing community. The development includes plenty of green spaces, two play areas for children and wheelchair and adaptable homes. Homes will include private sale, shared ownership and affordable rent, ensuring there is something suitable for everyone. Shared ownership homes will be launching in early 2018, with prices to be confirmed nearer the time.

Southern Housing Group


For more information or to register your interest, please visit

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Reverend Michael Petitt and his wife Stella made 2017 a year to remember as they became the proud owners of a new, three bedroom house in Chellaston, a leafy residential suburb to the south of Derby. The couple, who had spent 35 years living in vicarages provided by the Church, were assessing their options as they planned Michael’s recent retirement, looking for a home in the Derby area so that they could both support and care for elderly relatives nearby and have a home where their daughters could easily visit. “We found out about shared ownership through a local estate agent, who were working on behalf of Metropolitan and so we booked a viewing at the development", explains Stella. Part of the new Milldale development by Bellway, Metropolitan’s range of new two and three bedroom houses for shared ownership in Chellaston offer an opportunity to buy a new home more affordably. With shared ownership, you buy a share in the value of a home (as large a share as you can afford between 25% and 75% of the full market value) and pay a subsidised rent on the remainder, plus a service charge for any communal facilities (such as gardens, lighting or parking areas). By having a smaller mortgage and subsidised rent, your monthly outgoings are kept lower than if you were to buy or rent the same home privately. Shared ownership also lowers the levels of savings needed to be able to buy a home because you only have to pay a deposit on the share you are buying. In the Petitt’s case, the couple had been saving (with the Church also providing a retirement payment which the couple could use towards buying a home) covering both their deposit and their 35% share, meaning that they could afford to pay their rent and service charge from their pensions. Michael said, “The location and property type were just what we were looking for. As a retired clergyman who had always lived in a Vicarage, it was pleasantly surprising that we could afford to buy. The process was quicker than expected and very straightforward.” Without the need for a mortgage application, the buying process was a fast one, from their initial viewing and financial assessment the couple were formally offered their new home by Metropolitan and completed their purchase swiftly, moving in just over a week later. The couple are now settling in well and enjoying their new home. “As well as the location and the convenience of the development the doctors’ is around the corner and the shops are only 15 minutes away - we’re enjoying the warmth of our new house too, with our heating and lighting bills being around a third of what we were paying before.” Having made their move, Michael and Stella are now busy making future plans and the couple intend to staircase soon and Michael plans to balance relaxing during his retirement with some part-time work. “We’re very happy here, we’d never thought about shared ownership before but now, we’d recommend it without hesitation.” says Stella.


FROM £154,000*

South West 9

When the development is complete it will offer 81 shared ownership apartments with 24 one bedroom, 56 two bedroom and one three bedroom and currently there are 39 for sale. They all come with fitted kitchens, fitted bathrooms, video entry system, laminate flooring in kitchens/living rooms, carpeting in bedrooms, balconies and the ground floor apartments have small gardens. Brixton underground station is a seven minute walk and you can be in central London in 15 minutes. For green space then Loughborough Park and Wyck Gardens are close by. Brixton Village is 10 minutes walk where you can find a variety of restaurants and bars. *Based on a 35% share with a full market value of £440,000


FROM £118,500*

Rye Green

Rye Green offers eight one bedroom, 13 two bedroom and one three bedroom apartment all for sale through shared ownership. They come with fitted kitchens, fitted bathrooms, video entry system, Amtico flooring in the living room, bathroom, kitchen and hall and carpets in the bedroom. Each of the apartments have balconies, and there is a communal terrace on the 7th floor. It is a short walk to Peckham Rye train station, which takes you into London Victoria in 13 minutes, 25 minutes to Clapham Junction and it is a five minute walk to Peckham Rye Park. There are many amenities close by including a supermarket, Peckhamplex cinema, and a gym. *Based on a 30% share with a full market value of £395,000


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FROM £157,500*


The Wren Building The Wren, situated within Oval Quarter, consists of a collection of one and two bedroom apartments available for shared ownership. In an enviable location, the development is within walking distance of a number of stations. Oval, on the Northern line, is just five minutes from Waterloo and seventeen minutes from Kings Cross. Stockwell is a similar walking distance and benefits from the Victoria line. *Based on a 35% share with a full market value of £450,000

HACKNEY North Point


£TBC North Point offers a collection of one, two and three bedroom apartments set within the Carpenters Wharf canal side development in Hackney. The development is the former site of a renowned furniture maker in the area, which has been commemorated in the design of North Point, allowing old to meet new in this landmark building. Located opposite Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the development is just a five minute walk from Victoria Park. Apartments offer a high specification, providing flexible living spaces with lots of natural light. Residents will be able to enjoy the fresh canal side air from their balcony or terrace. To be eligible for this development, purchasers must live or work in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.





Pimento is Newlon Housing Trust’s shared ownership scheme, which forms part of the wider Goodman’s Field development on the border of Whitechapel and the City of London. The development adjoins a brand new landscaped piazza with a supermarket, cafes and a cinema. Ideal for commuting it is just a short walk to three underground stations (Aldgate, Aldgate East and Tower Hill), Tower Gateway DLR station and Fenchurch Street mainline station, giving access across London and beyond. The development is also within a short walking distance of Spitalfields Market. Newlon are offering 52 one and two bedroom shared ownership homes, which they will be selling off-plan in autumn 2018, with completion in late 2019.

The New Union Wharf is an exciting regeneration project, which is taking place in Tower Hamlets. Located on the Isle of Dogs, the development, which is expected to launch in the spring of 2018, boasts a prime riverside location, with beautiful views of the Thames and London. L&Q will be investing in the estate to improve the quality of the local area and provide much needed housing. The result will see 399 high quality homes including a range of properties from one bedroom apartments to four bedroom houses. Properties will be available for sale, shared ownership and affordable rent. All homes will feature a high quality specification, specifically built to include modern energy saving features and benefit from spacious outdoor areas including winter gardens and balconies.



New Union Wharf

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According to data from Land Registry1, the average first time buyer in England needs to save nearly £23,000 to pay for upfront fees on purchasing their own home, including costs such as raising a deposit, stamp duty and legal fees. However, Molly Sylvester, 22, and her partner, Warren Day, 27, have stepped on to the property ladder, with upfront fees of over 50% less than this figure through shared ownership at St John’s, Chelmsford, Essex by East Thames, part of the L&Q Group. Molly, a HR business partner and her partner Warren, a landscape gardener, rented a home together for nearly two years before deciding to move back to live with their parents for a year in order to save up for a deposit. They have now bought a 25% share of a two bedroom apartment at East Thames’ development in Chelmsford. Molly explains, “We did consider buying outright and looked around at other properties but we found these expensive. Through using shared ownership we were able to get a lot more for our money. Without the scheme, it would have been more of a financial struggle to buy our own home, but this way we were able to buy the percentage of the property that we could afford. Our plan is to continue to save and staircase into eventually owning 100%. Our deposit was £6,850 and with legal fees and other costs we paid approximately £10,000 upfront. Our monthly outgoings are now £1,300 which includes our rent on the remaining 75% of the property.” Located in the leafy, cathedral city of Chelmsford, St John’s comprises a collection of 20 new one and two bedroom apartments. The development is situated on the site of a former hospital, boasting surrounding green space and parking spaces for residents. Molly comments, “We are delighted with our new apartment, it is great to have our own space. The bedrooms are a good size and we have a kitchen/diner area which is perfect for entertaining. We also have an ensuite to the master bedroom and there is plenty of storage space.” For those keen to escape the urban centre, Chelmsford is the perfect haven with plenty of green space to enjoy, from parks, allotments, sports pitches and play facilities. The Grade II Listed Hylands House is also less than one mile from St John’s, boasting over 500 acres of landscaped grounds. The park is home to a number of community events, including the popular V Festival which runs every August. The festival is host to top performing acts, with Chelmsford residents getting ticket priority on this music event. Molly added, “The Chelmsford area appealed to us as it is really up-and-coming. We are both from the area and have noticed its development, particularly over the last five years since the town was given city status. The centre is great and there are plenty of shops, restaurants and bars as well as a retail park. This is all only a stone’s throw from St John’s, so we are really well placed in terms of location.” Ideal for commuters, Chelmsford rail station is less than two miles from St John’s, offering a frequent service to London Liverpool Street in 35 minutes and linking to Stratford in as little as 25 minutes. All the homes at St John’s have now sold out but go to the website for more properties for sale. 1




Electric Quarter


Just moments from the heart of buzzing Brixton this development offers 133 new shared ownership homes ranging from one to three bedroom apartments. The homes are bright and spacious, each with wooden floors, fitted kitchens and a private balcony or terrace. Private parking and landscaped gardens add to the development’s appeal. Located in zone 2, Brixton tube, rail station and Loughborough Junction is around a 12 minute walk away with a quick commute time to central London and there is a wide range of restaurants, bars and shops nearby.

Coming soon, Wing, a new development from Hyde New Homes offers contemporary one, two and three bedroom apartments through shared ownership, right in the heart of Camberwell – an area renowned for its creativity, style and vibrancy. Offering excellent transport connections into central London and beyond, it is a great place to eat, drink and shop and there is an abundance of green spaces nearby, including popular Burgess Park.


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A new generation of house hunters are finding themselves relying on the rental market and unable to find a home of their own. In 1991, 67% of 25-34 year olds were homeowners, but by the end of 2014 this number had declined to 36%1. Unfortunately Daniel Ward, 22, found himself on the wrong end of these statistics and struggling to change his situation. As a Police Officer working irregular hours, Daniel was left with little time for property hunting, but was keen to find his own patch on the streets he helps to keep safe. For Daniel, like most 20-somethings, homeownership is a high priority, but rising house prices made purchasing his first property seem impossible. Daniel was growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of affordable options available to him in an area near to work and friends. This all changed though when he found the perfect solution at Hyde New Homes’ development The Coppice in Maidstone. Daniel purchased a two bedroom shared ownership apartment at the development. Daniel said, “It was the easiest way for me to get a foot on the property ladder. My salary alone would have been too stretched to get a private sale mortgage and still have money left to spare for everything else. “I had looked around at other shared ownership developments that just weren’t right for me. However, once I found Hyde New Homes, it was a smooth process. I had put a deposit down within a month. “My main aim was to find a property near work and friends. Now I live closer to work and have time to relax after a long shift.” The Coppice offered Daniel the blank canvas he required and the freedom to personalise his home without the constraints of renting, while also meeting eco considerations that keep heating bills down. “After viewing the development I realised how much nicer and cleaner it was compared to many of the other properties I had viewed. New builds have a better style with important things like insulation making a huge difference.” Just like Daniel, other first time buyers are discovering the value of the area to take advantage of all that Maidstone has to offer. Well situated for a number of fantastic local eateries and activities. Maidstone Leisure Centre hosts respected sports clubs and golfers can enjoy themselves at Mote Park Golf Course whilst the famous Bluewater in Kent or Ashford Outdoor Designer Outlet is nearby. With major roads and public transport servicing the development from both of Maidstone’s train stations, regular services to the rest of the country mean a weekend getaway is within easy reach. All properties a The Coppice are now under offer. Please note that original prices started at £116,000 for a 40% share of the full market value of £290,000.

BATTERSEA So Resi Battersea

Located just 400m from Clapham Junction, So Resi Battersea by Thames Valley Housing is an FROM exclusive collection £TBC of new one and two bedroom apartments, which are going on sale through shared ownership this autumn. The interior of each home is bright and airy, with an open-plan living/kitchen area with stylish fixtures and fittings. Bedrooms are generously sized and the bathrooms are completed to a high standard. Every apartment has its own spacious private terrace and benefits from secure cycle storage. So Resi Battersea is within walking distance of a good range of local amenities, great transport links and the area’s vibrant arts and culture scene. Northcote Road Market is open each weekend; The Pumphouse Gallery, with its collection of contemporary art, hosts exhibitions, talks, workshops and film screenings throughout the year; and Gordon Ramsay’s critically-acclaimed London House restaurant is open daily. In addition, Battersea Park and zoo, is just a mile from So Resi Battersea. Nearby Clapham Junction provides quick journey times of five minutes to Vauxhall, 10 minutes to London Waterloo and 25 minutes to Gatwick Airport.

WOKINGHAM So Resi Wokingham


For more information about Hyde New Homes’ alternative shared ownership properties go to or call 0345 606 1221

This new collection of one and two bedroom apartments £98,000* and two to four bedroom homes in Wokingham will be available to purchase through shared ownership with Thames Valley Housing from September At So Resi Wokingham, part of the Matthews Green Farm development, there are homes to suit everyone; one bedroom apartments are ideal as a first time buy while growing families will find ample space in the four bedroom houses. The homes are built to a high specification, with spacious living areas and stylish fittings adding a touch of luxury. Every house has its own private, enclosed rear garden and turfed front garden, while the apartments benefit from landscaped communal grounds. Allocated parking spaces are provided for all the homes. For commuters, the mainline station is 1.8 miles away, with trains reaching Reading in nine minutes, Guildford in 28 minutes and London Waterloo in 68 minutes. When the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) opens at Reading station in 2019, passengers will be able to travel through central London without needing to change trains.


uk/ (Accessed November 2016) *Based on a 40% share of the full market value of £245,000


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FROM £181,500*

LONDON, E4 Millharbour


Peabody's latest development, Castilla situated in the heart of Elephant and Castle, offers 64 one and two bedroom apartments through shared ownership, making it an affordable option to get on the property ladder in a prime zone1 location. Located within the regeneration area of Elephant and Castle, which will be transformed into a hub with the introduction of a pedestrianised town centre, green spaces and an additional 450,000 sq ft of retail space. Situated just a four minute walk from the Elephant and Castle rail and tube stations, Castilla provides residents with easy access to the rest of London and beyond. Bank station can be reached in four minutes via the Northern line while the Bakerloo line sees keen shoppers reach Oxford Circus in just 10 minutes. All apartments at Castilla come with their own private outdoor space as well as spacious interiors. Finished to a high specification, the apartments come with underfloor heating and all residents will have use of the 24-hour concierge service. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but buyers will be able to purchase a 25% share of a one bedroom apartment with just a 10% deposit.

Like many young professionals in London, Amelia Price had been renting for many years and was finding it difficult to cover the cost of living, while simultaneously saving for a deposit to buy her first home. Forced to move across London each time her tenancy ended, she was struggling to find somewhere she could really call home. Aware that this is becoming an increasingly familiar story for many, housing association L&Q’s PricedIn Living helps demonstrate how alternative homeownership options like shared ownership can promote stability and help buyers put down roots in the capital. Amelia said, “I had wanted to buy my own property for a while, but I think like most people in London, I really struggled to get a deposit together while still renting. I wasn’t really aware of shared ownership, but I saw an advert in the Metro for Stadium Place with L&Q. If I hadn’t bought at Stadium Place, I’d still be renting for at least the next four to five years in order to save for a deposit. Shared ownership has allowed me to finally buy my own place and give me that much-needed security that I haven’t been able to get through renting. I bought a 40% share of my apartment, which cost £160,000, and I paid a deposit of £8,000. My approximate monthly costs are around £1,500 which is affordable.” Within weeks of registering her interest with L&Q, she was getting ready to move into her new home; “The process moved along really quickly– one minute I was applying for the flat and the next I had the keys in my hand and was stood in my new home! “A great thing about shared ownership with L&Q is that they put you through a very thorough financial eligibility process. This can seem a bit challenging at the time but it’s worth it as it protects you and ensures you don’t overstretch yourself financially. I personally felt really comfortable that I had gone through all my finances and I knew I could afford the property. Best of all, I still have money left over to spend on little day-to-day amenities. This was so important to me because I didn’t want to have my first home and then not be able to enjoy the benefits of living in London.” For Amelia, the most important aspect of homeownership and her newfound sense of security was no longer having to worry about pushy landlords and unreliable short-term tenancy agreements. She said, “I know that this is my home, and I’m not going to have move for many years, and when I do move it’s because I have chosen to, not because my tenancy has ended. “In the past, I’ve had to keep all of my furniture and decorations neutral because I knew that I would have to move in a year or two and didn’t know what colour my next home would be. Now I know that I’m going to be here for a long time, I’ve been able to design the flat exactly as I want... I’ve personalised everything, and chosen all of the furniture that I’ve always wanted.” Amelia says that owning her own property has truly changed her life for the better. She loves the surrounding area of Walthamstow, particularly the shops, pubs, and cafes for brunch at the weekend. She added, “I really like the fact that Walthamstow is a short journey into London, but you’ve also got Epping Forest on your doorstep, so for me it’s a good balance between country and city living.”

Network Homes is launching 12 contemporary shared ownership homes at 45 Millharbour, a £40 million development project in E14, moments from Canary Wharf. The new shared ownership homes will consist of one, two and three bedroom apartments, with a high specification throughout, private balconies and access to a spacious communal roof terrace. Residents will have the opportunity to live in one of London’s most contemporary districts, with a wide array of retail, eating and drinking options on the doorstep, set against the glimmering backdrop of Canary Wharf. 45 Millharbour enjoys an enviable position next to the River Thames and has excellent transport links with South Quay, Cross Harbour and Canary Wharf stations a short walk away. Canary Wharf station will be given a further boost in 2018 with the arrival of Crossrail, providing a direct link to the City, West End and Heathrow Airport. Priority for the new homes will go to people that live or work in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

*Based on a 25% share with a full market value of £726,000



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First time buyers take on average 10 years to save a deposit to buy a home. When Help to Buy ends in 2020, shared ownership could become the only way for most people to afford to buy their own homes. It’s been around since the early 1980s, so why is the scheme still often misunderstood or considered complicated?

Thames Valley Housing (TVH) is on a mission to make shared ownership available to more people and easier to understand. Kush Rawal, Commercial Director at TVH, explains, “From speaking to customers and carrying out tons of research over the years, we know there’s a lot of confusion around shared ownership. We believe it doesn’t have to be this way. So Resi is far more than just a new name, it’s about how we explain shared ownership to people, making it easier to understand with simple, straightforward plain English.” Buying a So Resi home is simple: you start by buying between 25% and 75% of your home. That means your monthly mortgage payments and deposit are smaller than they would be if you bought your home outright. There’s also a monthly So Resi payment for the share of your home that you don’t own. You can buy a bigger share of your So Resi home in the future, and even own 100%. However, Kush Rawal says, “Our research showed that homebuyers found the process of increasing the share in their home confusing; as a result, very few went on to buy further shares.” To make this process easier to understand, So Resi has its own unique So Resi Plus scheme, which lets homeowners


Kush Rawal, Commercial Director, Thames Valley Housing

CGI of So Resi Wokingham, launching soon

buy an extra 1% of their home each year for 15 years, as long as the total share doesn’t go above 79%. Kush Rawal says, “Since launching So Resi Plus, 97% of suitable homeowners have taken advantage of the scheme. It’s easy and simple because they don’t have the cost and hassle of arranging a solicitor each time they want to buy a new share.” A big challenge for shared ownership is that many people think their design or location is not as good as those on the open market. So Resi raises the bar by providing high-quality contemporary homes in great settings, as two of its new developments prove. So Resi Battersea, a collection of stylish one and two bedroom apartments - each with a private terrace - is just a quarter of a mile from Clapham Junction and close

to Battersea’s vibrant arts and culture scene. For those who prefer a more peaceful setting outside the capital, So Resi Wokingham in Berkshire offers a choice of one and two bedroom apartments and two to four bedroom homes in a thriving new community in a village setting. If you think shared ownership is too complicated to consider, think again. It’s a great scheme which, as So Resi’s strapline says, ‘makes homeownership possible’. So Resi offers shared ownership homes which are either new or resale, which are homes that have been purchased through shared ownership before, across London and the south east. To find out more, call 0208 607 0550 or visit

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With an increasing number of homes available for shared ownership and Help to Buy, it is clear that more and more Londoners are turning to alternative homeownership schemes to get a foot on the property ladder However, these different schemes can seem confusing at first and often raise a number of questions: How do the schemes differ, and which one would be right for me? Will I meet the eligibility criteria? Is the process complicated? Taking the stress out of getting on to the ladder, L&Q has launched its new campaign, PricedIn Learning, which aims to offer a clearer understanding of the homeownership options – including a guide to how shared ownership differs from Help to Buy. Independent Mortgage Advisor Helen Wyles summarises some of the key differences between the two schemes, “Shared ownership is a fantastic way to get on to the housing ladder, it means you can buy a home of a higher value than you would have on the open market, and the monthly payments are really achievable.” Shared ownership allows buyers to purchase a share in a property, renting the rest at a subsided rate. The deposit required can be as little as between 5-10% of the value of the share of the property. Helen continues, “The government’s Help to Buy equity loan is great if you’ve got the funds to cover a 5% deposit for the full value of the property along with all the costs of buying a home – the loan is interest free for five years, but after that, you will have to pay a monthly charge on it, and it must be paid back within 25 years.” L&Q has a wide selection of new homes available for both shared ownership and London Help to Buy. For example, set to breathe new life into a long abandoned area


of land, The Quarry in Erith is a collection of up to 600 homes, which will offer both shared ownership and London Help to Buy. In the first phase of the launch of the eco-development, 27 out of 47 homes will be available to buy through L&Q’s shared ownership scheme. Help to Buy will also be offered at the developments official sales launch this autumn. Due to The Quarry’s Zone 6 location in the London Borough of Bexley, properties will meet the requirements for the 40% London Help to Buy equity

loan; this will be available on all of the homes at The Quarry, which qualify for the government scheme. For a complete guide to the differences between shared ownership and Help to Buy, and to view properties available for shared ownership, visit   To view the full selection of shared ownership and Help to Buy properties, go to @LQPricedIn #PricedInLearning

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Celebrating the North West

The North West consists of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside and is one of the most beautiful areas of the UK, with three National parks and three Areas of Outstanding Beauty. It is also a real first time buyer hotspot We know that buying your first home can be daunting and saving for a deposit probably means going without some treats like takeaways, holidays and the gym. There is help for first time buyers though, with the assistance of an affordable housing scheme such as shared ownership (see pages 22-38 for everything you need to know about shared ownership) or a Help to Buy equity loan. With Help to Buy, you pay as little as a 5% deposit on any new home up to the value of £600,000, homebuyers can then borrow 20% of the value of the property in the form of an equity loan. This loan is interest free for five years and means that homebuyers can then secure a regular mortgage from a lender. Interest rates typically associated with a 75% loan-to-value mortgage can be sought when using Help to Buy, which means that monthly payments will be more affordable than they would be with a 95% loan-to-value mortgage. Help to Buy statistics from June 2017

show that there were more than 120,000 completions that have taken place through the scheme and the North West local authorities featured in the top 20 in terms

of completed sales with Manchester 10th, Liverpool 13th, Cheshire West and Chester 15th and Cheshire East 17th so the property market in the north west is doing very well.


































Countrywide research for Bairstow Eves shows the north west top 10 towns where first time buyers bought a home and the average price they paid.

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FROM £70,000*


Hampton Lea


FROM £74,000*


These stunning two and three bedroom properties are near to the town of Malpas and are built to a high specification. Each home comes equipped with a modern fitted kitchen, integrated oven and hob along with vinyl flooring. All rear gardens are turfed and each home also has a dedicated parking space. *Based on a 40% share with a full market value of £175,000

Brooklands is a stylish development of three bedroom homes, located in Holmes Chapel in the heart of Cheshire East. The development is close to the charming Cheshire towns of Holmes Chapel, Goostry and Knutsford, and is also just a short commute to the lively cities of Manchester and Chester. The properties offer high quality fixtures and fittings and there are nine three bedroom homes available through shared ownership. *Based on a 40% share with a full market value of £185,000



Arkwright Place Arkwright Place on Melland Road is located in the south east Manchester suburb of Gorton and will offer over 130 two, three and four bedroom homes with over seven different house styles available There is also the option to personalise your home when reserved off-plan. This stunning collection of contemporary homes contains 28 shared ownership properties, and a further 30 homes are available for market rent and 72 for outright sale. Arkwright Place is located less than four miles east of Manchester city centre, Gorton boasts fantastic transport links, making it the perfect home for commuters to the city or further afield. It is also close to a range of local amenities, including retail hotspot the Trafford Centre and the world-class sporting and leisure facilities at SportCity. All of the homes are a generous size, with spacious gardens and offroad parking available.


FROM £56,000*

Taylors Lane

A mixture of two and three bedroom properties are now available for shared ownership in the peaceful village of Pilling, Lancashire. Located within easy commuting distance of both Lancaster and Preston, Taylors Lane offers the opportunity to live in a peaceful rural home whilst remaining close to the hustle and bustle of city living. The properties benefit from beautiful open views from the rear and are available in a variety of styles. *Based on a 40% share with a full market value of £140,000

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As the Help to Buy Agent for the North West we’re delighted to be helping first time buyers take that first step on to the ladder through both the Help to Buy Equity Loan and shared ownership schemes. We’ve seen strong demand across the North West with a 36% increase in buyers using the schemes this year, with 82% of them being first time buyers. Both schemes are designed to help first time buyers purchase a home in a more affordable way so it’s great to see so many people taking advantage of this.

Alison Gittins Head of Help to Buy North West

FROM £41,250*

WINSFORD Whitby’s Lane

This new development offers a collection of three bedroom semidetached and detached properties situated in Winsford, in the heart of the Cheshire countryside, arranged around a cul-de-sac with trees and shrubs to create a natural environment. The energy efficient homes offer a spacious lounge, dining area and modern kitchen with integrated appliances plus well-proportioned bedrooms and a landscaped front and rear garden as well as driveway parking. Located near the picturesque banks of the River Weaver, and within a short distance to the Nat Lane retail park there are a host of local amenities all within walking distance which include a local Tesco Express, GP surgery, convenience stores, local pub, and local park. The development benefits from excellent public transport links and is close to Winsford rail station offering quick connections to Liverpool, Birmingham and beyond and is also a short drive from the M6 motorway.

Adewunmi Victor Soneye from Manchester used shared ownership to purchase his first home. The Royal Navy Intelligence Analyst from Manchester was renting privately in the city when he decided to look for a home of his own. He said, “I was fed up of paying rent and wanted to be more independent. I’d not heard of shared ownership before but when I was told about the scheme I thought it was a really good idea so I started looking for homes in my area.” Shared ownership allows you to buy a share in a new home, ranging from 25% to 75%, depending on what you can afford. A housing association owns the remaining share, and you pay a reduced rent on this share. This means that you need to get a smaller mortgage to buy the property, and will also need a smaller deposit. Members of the Armed Forces are also a priority group. It didn’t take long to find a home he was interested in and the home he went on to buy was actually the first home he saw! He added, “The first home I saw was a resale home on a 50% shared ownership basis. The location really sold it for me as it was really accessible for work, so I decided to go ahead.” The home he bought was a shared ownership resale from Wythenshawe Community Housing Group. A resale is a property that has been bought through shared ownership in the past, which the owner now wants to sell. They offer the chance to buy an older home in a more established community, however the application process is exactly the same. Now a homeowner, he is actually paying less for his own home than what he was renting privately. He’s also relishing his career in the Navy, something he had wanted to do for a long time. “It was a childhood dream of mine to be in the Navy so when the opportunity came up I took it and really enjoy what I do. I work in Manchester and living so close to work is great. Shared ownership really helped me to get on the property ladder and I would recommend it to anyone. Owning a home really gives you responsibility and ownership so the quicker you can do it the better and shared ownership can really help with that.”

*Based on a 25% share with a full market value of £165,000

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FROM £160,000

Mere’s Edge

Lancet Homes’ Mere’s Edge development in Helsby gives buyers a first home with a Cheshire postcode, a large living space, off-road parking and a garden, all with the option of using Help to Buy. There is a range of house types available, including a bungalow, semi-detached, mid-mews and detached properties boasting two to four bedrooms. Each home is designed to the highest specification and you can also work with the developer to add your own personal taste before completion. Helsby village is located in rural Cheshire on the edges of the market town of Frodsham. An array of shops, restaurants and cafes are all within easy reach and Helsby’s well-connected train station is less than a mile from the development. The M56 motorway is only a short drive away, making Helsby an ideal location for commuters to the North West’s major cities of Manchester, Liverpool and Chester.



£38,999* The Woodlands is on the edge of the countryside, but with all the modern amenities on the doorstep. Currently there is a range of three bedroom houses available, with two bedroom houses coming soon. Nearby Parbold railway station is just 2.5 miles away and offers regular services to Southport, Manchester and Leeds. The development is a few minutes’ drive from junction 4 of the M58 and Liverpool city centre is just 17 miles away. A post office, minimarket, deli, hairdressers and a pharmacy are a short walk from The Woodlands. *Based on a 25% share with a full market value of £115,995


Hock Kit Soo Hoo and his family have recently moved into their new home in Manchester city centre, thanks to the Help to Buy scheme. The 34-year-old engineer and his wife Jane were renting a studio apartment in Manchester when their son Kai was born. They soon realised that they would need a bigger space and thought the time was right to buy their first home. An increase in their rent also spurred them on to find a property of their own. Hock Kit said, “When you rent things are out of your control and that makes it hard to plan. So when my landlord increased my rent by 20% for the coming year I knew it was time to get our own house. We wanted a bigger home, ideally with a garden, but still close to the city centre. A couple of friends had recommended Help to Buy so we started looking.” Then based on a recommendation from friends, they went to view Axis @ The Way, a Lovell Homes development in Manchester city centre, which ticked all the boxes. “We went to view the homes but they were all reserved so we put our names down on a waiting list and crossed our fingers. We waited about two months and one day we got a call to say someone had dropped out and we had been accepted. We are now very happy in our new home and we don’t have to worry about the rent going up each year and we actually pay less now for our mortgage than when we renting. The house is so spacious and has a big garden, which is great for spending family time in.

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HOTspot Fall in love with Liverpool


Average property price (June 2017) – £123,920 Property breakdown* (Liverpool) Detached – £236,309 Semi-detached – £147,948 Terraced – £105,589 Flat – £102,106 *According to the Land Registry House Price Index, June 2017

Friendly, diverse, and culturally significant, Liverpool is a vibrant and popular place to live, work and play – and with many new homes arriving in the area, it’s a win-win destination for first time buyers Liverpool has a string of accolades to its name. The 2008 City of Culture was named in 2014 as one of the friendliest places to live in the UK, and regularly features on the lists of ‘best places to live in the country’ – and the famous waterfront, including the Royal Albert Docks, is a designated World Heritage Site. The north west city has also given us some of the best artistic and sporting talent the world has ever seen. It is a lively district with a lot to offer first time buyers.

HOMES AND RESIDENTS Liverpool is home to some 2,500 listed buildings, and as such, there’s a great deal of wonderful architecture to take in. Much of this centres on the historically important Albert Docks, where there are many recognisable landmarks. Much of the famed waterfont has been earmarked for regeneration. A huge scheme, Liverpool Waters, is bringing new life to the northern part of the docks. This will include thousands of new homes with fantastic waterside views. New housing, including family properties, is also springing up further south, in areas such as Garston Docks.

OUT AND ABOUT For dinner, drinks and music, head to the

Baltic Triangle, hailed as the coolest area to live, play and shop in Liverpool. Try Camp & Furnace on Greenland Street, which was recently named second coolest restaurant in Britain by the Guardian, and Baltic Market, a recently opened converted warehouse space with great food and a Makers’ Market. Lovers of film and art must head to Crown Building Studios, which runs exhibitions and shows movies in its small cinema. In the centre of town, Bold Street has become a byword for cool among locals and is known to have the largest number of independent shops and restaurants in the city, also be sure to make a visit to the laidback Bold Street Coffee. When it comes to exploring the great outdoors, walk the Sefton Coastal Path and visit Crosby Beach (home to the Anthony Gormley iron figures). The beautiful Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is also well worth a wander. Alternatively, get the adrenalin going at Peak Pursuits, where you can try climbing, kayaking and ziplining.

SHOPPING There are several large and well-equipped shopping malls in the centre of the city. Liverpool One is home to almost 200 high street stores, while at St John’s and Clayton Square you’ll also find all the big names.

S O M E FA M O U S RESIDENTS • Many music legends, including The Beatles • Footballer Steven Gerrard • Screenwriter Lynda La Plante • Actor Alison Steadman • Comedian John Bishop

Once you have your big-ticket items, visit the many independent and interesting shops and markets. In the Baltic Triangle, try Hobo Kiosk for quirky vintage homeware. Local shoppers also love the historic Grand Central Hall, a beautiful domed building which houses several independent shops, and is soon to run cinema events. The city is also home to many permanent and regular markets, including five farmers markets, which can be found in the city centre and surrounding areas.

TRANSPORT Liverpool benefits from an excellent transport infrastructure. Merseyrail links the city to the surrounding areas in all directions, enabling quick connections to Wigan, Manchester and Preston. Mainline rail services provide speedy links to several other major UK cities. From Liverpool Lime Street, services reach Manchester in 44 minutes, while you can get to London Euston in just over two hours. Travel further afield is made easy with John Lennon Airport, which operates flights to many European and North African destinations. Meanwhile, from Liverpool ferry port, you can travel to Dublin, Belfast and the Isle of Man by boat.

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HOTspot spot Northern soul


Average property price (June 2017) – £160,617 Property breakdown* (Manchester) Detached – £282,225 Semi-detached – £193,242 Terraced – £146,931 Flat – £145,836 *According to the Land Registry House Price Index, June 2017


A thriving city with its finger on the pulse of the arts, entertainment and education, this northern powerhouse is a natural choice for first time buyers The buzzing northern city of Manchester is one that people are proud to live in, and it’s easy to see why. The UK’s ninth largest city leads the way when it comes to arts, entertainment and restaurant culture, not to mention its world-class sporting facilities, museums and universities. Whether you’re after vibrant 24-7 life, or something more peaceful in the many outlaying towns of the city and the county, Manchester has something for everyone.

HOMES AND RESIDENTS The city boasts a varied and cosmopolitan population, and with four universities in Greater Manchester, the high number of students means there’s a youthful energy and drive to be on the cutting edge. New homes close to the city are significantly more affordable than in London. In the surrounding towns, such as Gorton, you can buy a two bedroom house for as little as £154,000. Homes throughout Manchester range from period properties and ’60s apartment blocks to brand-new developments, many of which include affordable housing.

OUT AND ABOUT For independent shops, cafes, trendy burger joints and craft beer, head to the


ever-popular Northern Quarter. The buzzing enclave close to the city centre is a favourite with locals, and is a great place to catch live music – a key part of the city’s identity. Meet up for brunch or dinner at Spinningfields, a hub of restaurants and bars in the heart of the business district. Arts and theatre are taken care of at the magnificent Lowry Centre, Royal Exchange, Opera House and Palace Theatres. Come evening time, Mancunians are truly spoilt for choice. Restaurant culture is big in this city, which has the fastest growth of new restaurants in the country. Manchester also sits on the doorstep of some of the UK’s finest countryside, making it a great place to pursue outdoor activities. Pack up the car and head to the Peaks for beautiful walks and mountain biking, and stop off in one of the many beautiful country pubs that dot the district.

• Comedian Chris Addison • Musician Morrissey • Actor Maxine Peake • Comedian Caroline Aherne • Artist LS Lowry

SHOPPING Manchester boasts some world-class shopping facilities. Its two huge shopping malls, the Arndale and Trafford, are home to more than 200 stores. The Arndale also hosts a permanent market, for fresh, locally sourced food and household goods. Independent stores are king at the Northern Quarter, where shoppers will find pop-up shops selling everything from trainers and vinyl to vintage clothing.

TRANSPORT Metrolink tram services run through the centre of the city north to Rochdale and as far south as the airport. Metroshuttle, a free council-funded bus services links many of the main train stations with the shopping and business districts and run regularly during the week. Intercity rail links are excellent: London can be reached in two hours, and Liverpool in just 30 minutes. The arrival of the HS2, which is set to halve current journey times (though not until 2033), will no doubt make the city even more of a viable option for commuters looking to travel regularly between the cities. And of course, it has great international connections, too, with Manchester City Airport flying to hundreds of destinations worldwide.

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FOR SALE THE CREAM OF THE CROP We have scoured the market for the best affordable and family homes in the North West. So, if you are searching for your dream home, we hope you will enjoy our selection.





ER ALL-R★O★U★ND Affordable homes p54-55 LIVERPOOL, MERSEYSIDE





LOC★A★T★ION Family homes p56-57

Shared ownership p58

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FROM £185,895



Albion Gate These new family homes are just a few minutes’ walk from Leyland town centre, great local amenities and excellent transport links, and are just perfect for families and young professionals alike. The three and four bedroom homes available here are finished to the highest standard, with smart, fitted kitchens, integrated appliances, and plenty of space for the whole family – with separate living and dining rooms. The homes are ideally located for work or play in Preston, with trains taking just nine minutes to reach the city. Taylor Wimpey 01772 280 507


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FROM £160,000

O L D H A M , G R E AT E R M A N C H E S T E R

FROM £162,995

Mere’s Edge The latest phase of this popular development has just launched, with 50 new two, three and four bedroom homes available. Located in rural Cheshire, on the edge of pretty Helsby, the development is perfect for growing families and is close to good schools and local amenities. The two bedroom


semi-detached homes are finished to a high spec, and feature a downstairs w/c and separate living room and kitchen. The bustling cities of Liverpool and Manchester are both well under an hour’s drive away. Lancet Homes 0161 969 4919

FROM £183,995

St Augustine’s With bustling Oldham on its doorstep, and with Manchester and the beautiful Peak District a short drive away, this new collection of homes offers the best of both worlds. The three bedroom mews houses feature open-plan living/dining areas, with doors opening to a rear garden, while residents can park


on their own private driveway. Local amenities are excellent and local transport links are great, too. Local buses reach Oldham in just 15 minutes, while a trip to Manchester only takes around 35 minutes. Linden Homes 0161 822 0623

FROM £57,750*

Wesley Chase There will be a total of 140 new homes at Wesley Chase when it is completed, creating a new community just five miles from lively Preston and close to a range of local amenities. The homes on offer range from two bedroom terraces to four bedroom detached properties, all designed with modern living

in mind and finished to a high standard. The three bedroom properties feature a separate living room and kitchen, with doors opening to a rear garden, with bedrooms upstairs and an en suite from the master room. Barratt Homes 0844 273 4607

Woodford Grange This three bedroom mid terrace chic home offers stylish living, with a kitchen/dining area to the front of the house and a rear garden. The second floor has three generous sized bedrooms and plenty of storage. Located on the edge of the open countryside, there’s plenty of natural beauty to explore. Everything you need for

daily life is on your doorstep with Winsford Cross shopping centre just a few minutes drive away, where you’ll find a choice of supermarkets, coffee shops, banks, a Post Office, independent stores and a gym. Help to Buy NW 0300 790 0570

*Based on a 35% share with a full market value of £165,000

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FROM £239,995



Aigburth Grange This new collection of two, three and four bedroom homes lies just three miles south of the thriving city of Liverpool, and within easy commuting distance of Chester and Manchester. The homes have been built with energy saving in mind, and feature high efficiency central heating and high performance windows. Interiors are finished to a high standard, with quality, fitted kitchens, integrated appliances and tiled bathroom suites. All of the homes benefit from a downstairs w/c and storage room, while the larger properties feature separate living and dining rooms – perfect for growing families. Elan Homes 0845 250 8677


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FROM £257,995

Booth Hall Just three miles north of Manchester city centre, the town of Blackley is home to this collection of two, three and four bedroom properties. The two bedroom homes are arranged over two storeys, with a large open-plan living and dining area on the ground floor, with doors opening to a private garden. Upstairs, the


two well-sized bedrooms share a tiled master bathroom. Lovers of green space will adore the beautiful Boggart Hole Clough park, which is just a few seconds from the front door. Taylor Wimpey 0161 871 1067

FROM £213,750

Summerhill Park Set in a peaceful residential area, yet just a 10-minute drive from Liverpool’s centre, these homes are perfect for combining city life with quiet time at home. The two, three and four bedroom properties are available in a range of styles. The three bedroom detached homes are spacious with generously sized rooms arranged over two floors,


with a w/c on the ground floor and plenty of storage throughout. Transport links are excellent – Broad Green rail station is under a five-minute walk, for speedy services into town, where the options for entertainment are endless. Redrow 0151 515 4141

FROM £199,999

Woodland View With quirky shops, pretty parks and excellent commuter links, Prestwich is becoming increasingly popular with homebuyers. This new collection of three and four bedroom homes has impressive views, with beautiful Phillips Park on the doorstep, all just under a mile from the town centre. The three bedroom properties

feature spacious kitchen/dining rooms with separate lounge, while upstairs, there’s a family bathroom and en suite. Lively city life lies under five miles away in Manchester, easily accessible by road and public transport. Redrow 0161 638 7599

Pendle Hill View This charming new waterside development is superbly located on the outskirts of pretty Clitheroe. The homes range from two bedroom bunglows to four bedroom detached properties, all of which have been designed and finished beautifully. All homes feature private rear gardens and ample parking, and many

benefit from a private garage. Historic Clitheroe, complete with picturesque castle and museum, is around a 10-minute drive, where rail services from Clitheroe rail station run regularly to Manchester and Blackburn. Bloor Homes 01254 367 677

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Shared ownership: Trafford, Greater Manchester Management accountant, Louise Blissett, 29, was struggling to get her foot on the property ladder in Trafford – until she discovered shared ownership at the First Time Buyer Home Show After saving for a deposit with her boyfriend, the two unfortunately parted ways and her savings alone were not enough for a deposit. However Louise was determined not to resort to renting again because she knew the high prices in the area would drain her savings. After a few weeks of staying with friends, she attended the First Time Buyer Home Show, where she found Plumlife. Louise said, “Plumlife was the last stand I visited at the show, and when the sales advisor, Simon, told me about The Acorns I couldn’t believe it. I have always lived and worked in Trafford and the development was fantastic – such a peaceful, pretty place to live… and within my budget! From then on I had my heart set on the apartment. I rang every week religiously until they went up for sale, just so Simon wouldn’t forget me! “It was everything I was looking for – around £100k, the perfect size, economical, safe and close to friends and family. Plus, everyone who visits comments on the area – I feel very lucky.” With help from the Government through a Help To Buy ISA, Louise put down £11,000 for a 40% share. She added, “The ISA was great as it really boosted my savings and helped towards solicitors fees, which can be a major cost, particularly as a young first time buyer. Within four months of reserving, the apartment was mine.” Louise was shocked by the affordability of the apartment, paying just over £400 per month for her mortgage, rent and service charges combined. “I don’t think you could get anything else in this area, rented or purchased, for such a reasonable monthly cost. It’s a great option for someone like me who is buying alone for the first time. Because Plumlife are part of a housing association, I felt safe knowing they wouldn’t sell or rent at anything other than a reasonable cost. It’s in their best interests to look after you, and the flexibility that shared ownership offers is perfect if you are unable to afford a property outright.”



Property: One bedroom apartment Market value: Around £100,000 Deposit: £11,000 Share purchased: 40% Monthly outgoings: Just over £400 for mortgage, subsidised rent and service charge

“PLUMLIFE WAS THE LAST STAND I VISITED AT THE SHOW, AND WHEN THE SALES ADVISOR, SIMON, TOLD ME ABOUT THE ACORNS I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT. I HAVE ALWAYS LIVED AND WORKED IN TRAFFORD AND THE DEVELOPMENT WAS FANTASTIC – SUCH A PEACEFUL, PRETTY PLACE TO LIVE… AND WITHIN MY BUDGET” Part of one of Manchester’s leading housing groups, Great Places, Plumlife is dedicated to providing affordable home ownership solutions to residents across the north. The organisation offers highly desirable new homes for sale through Help to Buy schemes, designed to reduce the costs of homeownership by lowering the deposit required by lenders, and keeping monthly repayments down.    “Plumlife literally changed my life. I could have ended up renting for years and

losing my savings overnight, as there was nothing else in the area I could afford on my own, despite how hard I’d worked for a deposit. I now have a beautiful home in a peaceful area where the sun shines through my windows all day. I have to pinch myself from time to time and thank my lucky stars for being able to buy my own home as a single person. I’ve never been so happy.”

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Ahead of this year’s Northern Home Show, shared ownership specialists Property Booking share their enthusiasm for a product that offers homeownership hope to first time buyers At Property Booking, we’re big supporters of shared ownership and welcome all attempts to highlight on a national level just how crucial, successful and versatile the scheme is, which is why we’re delighted to be exhibiting at the FTB Northern Home Show in Manchester on October 7th. As the UK’s first national property portal dedicated to shared ownership, we pride ourselves on knowing everything there is to know about shared ownership and are incredibly excited to spread awareness of the product across the UK. Although we’re still celebrating our first year of business, we’re fast becoming the most popular shared ownership portal for consumers and providers alike. Why? Because we’re incredibly passionate about what we do and are absolutely committed to making the shared ownership experience better for everyone. As educators and navigators of this new landscape, we want our customers to be well informed about their options, and we want the sector as a whole to become even more appealing to a wider audience, rekindling the possibility of homeownership among people who have given up hope of ever getting on to the property ladder. For far too long, there has been a stigma attached to shared ownership. Primarily that it is only a buying option for those on low incomes, and secondly that it represents a final resort option for people wanting to own a property. We want to change this view by sharing the facts and giving shared ownership the profile it deserves. If we consider that the eligibility requirement for shared ownership outside London extends to everyone whose household earnings do not exceed £80,000 per annum, it’s clear why the product is fast becoming the most viable homeownership route for an incredibly diverse range of first time buyers. It is also recognised as one of the most flexible buying options for existing


property owners who are perhaps seeking to downsize or are experiencing a family breakdown. We believe it can offer the most stable and secure homeownership option for all, and we’re keen to spread the word. We’re working with the sector to ensure the wider, positive messages around resales and staircasing (the partial repayment of equity without selling the property) are communicated more readily. According to data from the National Housing Group members, the average time

before a shared owner sells is 4.6 years, which is typically the same as a traditional first time buyer mortgage product. In addition, the average share purchased when staircasing is 46%, which shows that the majority of shared owners repay up to 100% of the initial loan or are able to buy much bigger shares in their homes. The message is clear: there has never been a better time for shared ownership. And we believe nothing has ever felt more relevant for the property market. But don’t just take our word for it - take a look at the growing number of providers up and down the country getting behind shared ownership on Property Booking will be at The FTB Northern Home Show at the Lancashire County Cricket Club, Old Trafford, Manchester on 7 October 2017

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Home is where the heart is

Denise Welch is an actress, writer and producer, and a mental health ambassador for both Home Group and Mind. She campaigns tirelessly to tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness. Architect Liz Gibney is Head of Place at Home Group and is responsible for the overall design of their developments. Denise and Liz talk to Lynda Clark about creating wellbeing and happiness in the home and making your personal space special Denise is best-loved for her role on the iconic soap Coronation Street and more recently, the daily chat show, Loose Women. She is currently in the west end production of The Wind in the Willows. Over the years, Denise has suffered from different mental health issues and is keen to talk about how she lives with her illness, but doesn’t let it define her. “I love being an ambassador for Home Group. I think the work they do is outstanding because the surroundings you're in have a big impact on your wellbeing. I'm not at all 'house proud' but I do like to keep the place tidy. My partner is an artist and although he tries to keep his studio organised, I'm always tripping over his paints and frames. I must admit, I do like a little bit of clutter, but need my home to be comfortable and clean. I’m not a feng shui sort of person by any means, and want my house to be a home. I have a teenage son, so his friends are often round,


occasionally trailing their muddy shoes with them, but that’s great, as there’s no 'standing on ceremony' in our house. I'm not a formal dinner party person. I'd much rather invite my friends round and have a

relaxing takeaway at the kitchen table. One thing that is very important to me is to have lots of light. My house has big windows so it gets lots of natural light. I have pure white walls, as I’m not a great


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INTERVIEW lover of wallpaper. Certain colours are also key to making me feel happy at home. One of my most favourite colours is cornflower blue. When I think of it or see it, it makes me feel so calm and peaceful. I had a very, very happy childhood and when I was small, it was the colour in the nursery I attended. Another colour which makes me feel good, is a certain shade of green which was the colour in the Janet and John books that I read as a child. I saw a car in exactly the same shade the other day and I felt a great wave of happiness. I think colour and light are very important to our general wellbeing and can help to create a positive mental outlook.” Denise has recently made a film called Black Eyed Susan with her son, Louis, which has been shown at film festivals internationally and won the Best Short Drama at the Silicon Beach film festival in California. It tells the story of a woman who is struggling to survive while being terrorised by a teenage boy who is intent on driving her to commit suicide. The film became a metaphor for the black depression that had plagued Denise for years. “Producing this film was actually quite stressful, but I love doing things I’m passionate about. It was a difficult, but amazing, experience. Colour played an important role in the film, which begins in a drab tone of grey, until things become more hopeful, and the tone changes to yellow, which lifts the spirits. I have experience of being depressed and I had an alcohol and drug problem as well. At the time, my home became a party house, which was a very bad environment to be in. Now that my partner Lincoln and I are both sober, we love our space and are blissfully happy. We only invite people round when we want to, so there are no cold callers these days. This way of life is so much better for us. “I'm delighted to be a mental health ambassador for Home Group, who do a marvellous job. I recently went to visit one of their supported services, where people who have been hospitalised can go to get back on their feet. Talking to the people there means a lot to Lincoln and I, so hopefully I can help them to turn their lives around in some way. I always say it is never too late to change. I have been sober for five years now and it has been the best five years ever!” Liz Gibney, Head of Place at Home Group agrees with Denise that your environment has an impact on your mental health, and has some fascinating ideas about how the design of a home can help to improve wellbeing. “As an architect I want the design of the homes we build at Home Group to be as good as they can possibly be so that they are a cut above what everyone else is building. I have a strong vision and collaborate closely with my team to build

"I LOVE BEING AN AMBASSADOR FOR HOME GROUP AND THE WORK THEY DO IS OUTSTANDING. I THINK YOUR SURROUNDINGS ARE VERY IMPORTANT Denise Welch TO YOUR WELLBEING" the best. There is not a great deal of money sloshing around, so the challenge is to think outside the box and design homes that are special but don’t break the bank. For example, when designing an apartment for a first time buyer compared to a downsizer, people's needs are very different. For first timers, they are excited that they have managed to get on the ladder, but money will probably be tight and as it's their first home, they will want to create their own special space. They will also probably want to entertain friends and family, so the living space will be very important. I think that the quality of space and amount of light is vital. We build homes that have big windows and when you open the front door you see through from the front to the back. It gives

a sense of space and we want every home to have that 'wow' factor. Basically, it's very important to think about the kinds of people who are going to live in the house and what will create a sense of happiness for them. ”We have recently launched a new design guide as we wanted to share our vision with local authorities and contractors as it offers a very positive approach to building and has been well received. Natural light is the key to creating a happy home so, for example, how high the windowsill sits, is vital. If it is too high and you can’t see outside it can be very depressing, as it is important to be able to have a view and see daylight. It is also important to have a safe and secure route to the home and a feeling of pride when

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INTERVIEW you reach the front door. We want to build homes for first time buyers that they love. If you think about how an idyllic village would have looked years ago, the manor house would have been in the centre, with cottages dotted around it. We have worked to that same idea, to create a landmark building with smaller homes nearby, so first timers actually really can buy that dream home! This setup also creates a community and a great sense of wellbeing and worth. The home has to be a place you really want to come back to and relax and enjoy.” Before Liz joined Home Group she started a community arts charity with a friend. “It is a local charity [in Dover] supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged people through community projects. Art can help to empower people and give them the freedom to express themselves and we firmly believe that everyone has potential and talent. We use art to nurture and develop confidence and a sense of belonging. At the charity's studio, My Gallery, any artist can exhibit for free for a week. I don’t work there anymore but it is a fantastic way to help anyone who is experiencing problems.”



FROM £300,000



FROM £35,000*


These lovely two and three bedroom shared ownership family homes are just 10 miles north of Newcastle. Cramlington provides the ideal mix of city and country life. The 19-hectare community park of Northumberlandia is under a 10 minute drive from the development, while the nearby Northumberland coast, with an impressive 30 miles of beaches, provides lots of activities for everyone. Cramlington-1

This development of contemporary one and two bedroom apartments is located in Rayners Lane, Harrow. Each home by Spectrum features outstanding attention to detail and a high standard specification, from contemporary designed kitchens with quality appliances, to chilled-out living spaces, bright, fresh bathrooms and light and airy bedrooms. Nearby Harrow boasts a wide range of local shops and restaurants plus two shopping centres, while Newton Park West is just over a mile away and includes a children’s play area and basketball court. Spectrum is located just 0.9 miles from Rayners Lane underground station where you can get to Wembley Park in 12 minutes and Baker Street in just 26 minutes. Help to Buy is available. Spectrum-Apartments

*Based on a 25% share with a full market value of £140,000

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A whole new village is being created near Wouldham, in Tonbridge and Malling, Kent, and it promises to offer the perfect mix of property, price, lifestyle, and location that form many first time buyers’ house hunting Holy Grail Peters Village is a riverside community in the making, with all the trappings of traditional village life, but offering a superb standard of modern living, local facilities, and excellent transport links to London and other major towns and cities. Set across 202 landscaped acres, Peters Village will ultimately provide 1,059 new homes, built over seven phases, and due for completion in the early 2020s. The traditionally-styled new homes will sit alongside a sweep of green playing fields and within easy reach of the facilities of nearby Snodland via the newly constructed Peters Bridge, which spans the River Medway. Properties will be available under a mix of tenures, including outright sale with support from the Government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme, through shared ownership and for affordable private rental. Houses and apartments are already available for both sale and reservation from developers Orbit and Bellway, who are creating high specification homes that help to deliver the overarching architectural vision for Peters Village: homes that are traditional, yet durable, and in keeping with the natural beauty and vernacular style of the area. As well as having access to a wide range of shops and services within easy reach in the nearby village of Wouldham and Snodland town, as the development comes to fruition it will boast its own thriving village centre, with shops, health and community centres, and leisure facilities, all situated near the river. Peters Village as a whole is set in a beautiful, natural landscape, which has been nurtured and protected by the site’s owner Trenport Investments. The new village is set against the backdrop of the North Downs, with wooded downland, open arable fields, and marshland that is home to a wealth of wildlife, and adjacent to the tidal stretch of the River Medway as it meanders towards historic Rochester and beyond to the sea. Peters Village is ideal for young families, with a new state-of-the-art, two form entry primary school under construction by Kent


Typical Orbit Homes interior

County Council, which will also be the new, larger home of the nearby Wouldham School; currently housed in historic, but sadly time-worn facilities. The new school will not only provide much needed extra space for the popular local school, but will also ensure that the future needs of Peters Village residents are met. Planning permission has also been granted for two large, Grade II listed cottages, which originally formed the gatehouse of the manor Wouldham Hall, (formerly home to the eponymous Peters family of Peters Cement Works, and demolished in the 1960s) with plans to convert them into a children’s nursery. The new Peters Village community also offers an ideal solution for professionals, who want the escape of a rural lifestyle and bang for their property buck, but still need to be within an easy commute of the City. The new road and rail bridge over the

Medway has significantly improved journey times to cities and shopping centres, including Rochester, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone and Bluewater. It’s now only 3.5 miles from Peters Village to the M2 and M20 motorways, with access to the M25 just a further few miles by car. For international work and leisure travellers, the country’s first high speed rail line runs through Kent, with services running frequently to mainland Europe. Paris and Brussels are each around two hours away from nearby Ebbsfleet International Station, which, thanks to the new Peters Bridge, is now only 11 road miles from the village. Commuters into the City can reach St Pancras Station in around an hour by train from Snodland Station. Would-be Peters Village homeowners can contact Peters Villages’ housebuilders Bellway on 01634 788 979 or Orbit on 01634 567 896

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Win a hamper Orbit is offering new homeowners the very best of Kentish living at its Kiln View development, which is part of the fabulous new Peters Village community, nestled next to the River Medway near Wouldham.



HOW TO ENTER Answer the following question:

What river runs near to Peters Village? Send your answer with

Kiln View is an enclave of delightful houses and apartments, built in accordance with Peters Village’s overarching architectural vision: to provide homes that are traditional, yet durable, and in keeping with the natural beauty and vernacular style of the area.

your full name, address

Three and four bedroom houses are currently available for outright sale, with Help to Buy*, from £392,995, and two bedroom apartments are from around £269,995.


and telephone number to: lynda@firsttimebuyermag. Closing date: 27 October 2017

*Help to Buy is a government-back equity scheme available to all new home buyers. You require a 5% deposit to qualify and the government will lend you up to 20% of the purchase price, meaning you only need to secure up to a 75% mortgage.

To showcase some of the delights of the Kentish lifestyle, Orbit is offering readers the chance to win a bespoke, luxury willow hamper from The Kent Hamper Company, stuffed with a selection of Kent-made artisan food and locally produced wines. The hamper is worth £350 and includes free delivery to the lucky winner. Further information on buying homes at Kiln View, and on the Help to Buy scheme, is available by contacting Orbit on: 01634 567 896 or by visiting

T&Cs The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be given. Competition is open to UK residents only and entrants must be over 18.

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Due to launch in spring 2018, the New Union Wharf estate in the Isle of Dogs, Tower Hamlets, is undergoing an exciting £64 million regeneration project by East Thames, part of the L&Q Group and its development partner, Hill Partnerships. Boasting a prime riverside location, the regeneration will see 189 homes on the 1970s estate replaced with 399 modern, energy efficient homes for sale, shared ownership and affordable rent The first phase was completed in March 2015, with the second phase launching next year, adding to the already vibrant community. The development will offer a selection of homes to cater for a wide variety of purchasers, from one bedroom apartments to four bedroom houses. Many of the homes boast beautiful views of the river Thames and London, while each will feature spacious outdoor areas including winter gardens and balconies. These will offer a high specification throughout and flexible living, ideal for the modern-day purchaser. Tony Harker, Director of Sales and Customer Service for the L&Q Group East Region, said, “Designed in the 1970s, The New Union Wharf estate suffered from several issues as a result of poor design. The 10-year regeneration project aims to improve the quality of homes, providing affordable methods of homeownership and building upon the thriving community, while creating a better environment and a place that people want to live. We are delighted to be working on the highly anticipated next phase of the homes within the project, expected to launch in spring 2018, marking the next chapter within this exciting regeneration.”


Residents on the estate have been and continue to be an integral part of the transformation, working closely with East Thames and Hill Partnerships. Regular meetings are held between all parties to ensure the regeneration meets the needs and expectations of the existing local community. A monthly newsletter is also issued to keep residents informed on the latest progress. The regeneration will create a safe environment, improving the quality of housing and expanding the community. Encouraging high levels of community engagement is an important focus for the partners. Events are held in order to bring residents together, while public art is used throughout the development to inspire the community, including a 200ft long wildlife mural placed on the hoarding of the site. East Thames and Hill Partnerships teamed up with Cubitt Town Junior School to commission a local artist, Mürüde Mehmet to create the colourful mural. Alex and Lena are current residents at New Union Wharf and have lived on the estate for 35 years. They were the first group of residents to move into the new homes in

the first phase of the regeneration and live with their foster children in a four bedroom penthouse, which features a large private terrace and two balconies. Alex explains, “We loved living in our old apartment but one of the bedrooms suffered from damp and the children were getting cramped. They needed their own space. We can’t fault our new home. We felt that the regeneration process wasn’t too disruptive and was run well by both East Thames and the builder.” Situated on the Isle of Dogs, the New Union Wharf estate boasts excellent transport links to the rest of London. The development is just over a mile from Canary Wharf, ideal for residents commuting into the City. Nearby DLR Crossharbour and South Quay stations are a short walk from the development, connecting to Bank station in only 16 minutes and Liverpool Street in under 25 minutes. Crossrail, expected to launch in 2018, will further enhance links in the Isle of Dogs with the rest of London. For more information on the New Union Wharf regeneration scheme and to find out how you can register your interest, visit or call 0300 303 7333

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HOTspot Croydon: Best of both worlds

Average property price (June 2017) – £374,276 Property breakdown* (London Borough of Croydon) Detached - £760,025 Semi-detached - £489,559 Terraced - £358,703 Flat - £280,407 *According to the Land Registry House Price Index, June 2017

With the capital and the countryside right on its doorstep, the south London town of Croydon, boasts incredible commuting times and amenities, and is a surefire hit with first time buyers

S O M E FA M O U S RESIDENTS • Grime star, Stormzy • Musician, Katie Melua • Model, Kate Moss • Comedian, Sue Perkins • Musician, Jeff Beck

In June this year, Croydon was named the second most in demand area to live in the UK, overtaking central London. With 104% more interest from buyers than the nationwide average, the south London town came second only to Edinburgh*. Croydon’s popularity with homebuyers has risen steadily in recent years, thanks to its superb transport links and commuting times, nightlife, restaurant culture, schools and proximity to the Surrey countryside. And with ongoing investment in property and retail, things can only get better for the town and the sprawling borough within which it sits. The arrival of Boxpark in 2016 put Croydon firmly on the map for trendy places to visit, while retail giant Westfield opens a huge new site there in 2019 – raising the area’s already fantastic shopping facilities to a world-class level.

HOMES AND RESIDENTS The town’s proximity to London and the Surrey Hills makes it a perfect location for those looking to mix the best of city, town and country life – a combination that’s popular with both young families and young professionals alike. The town centre is home to several distinctive new developments, including


Saffron Tower, a 43-storey, multicoloured residential development, which has quickly become a favourite landmark building. Several former office buildings have also been transformed into beautiful new homes that sit in the heart of the town – former office block, Leon House, is set to undergo the same treatment. Away from the town centre, which lies at the heart of the borough of Croydon, you’ll find the smaller, greener towns, such as Selsdon, Purley and Coulsdon. There are a great deal of period properties in these areas, with beautiful detached and semidetached homes proving a firm favourite for families.

OUT AND ABOUT Food is a big deal to Croydonians, and with so many good quality eateries in the area, they can afford to be choosy. The town runs a yearly food festival, which has become a key date in the calendar, attracting more than 12,000 visitors. Croydon’s very own Restaurant Quarter, which hosts the festival, is home to an eclectic range of restaurants and bars. Begin your culinary adventure on South End, which has two Michelin rated restaurants: at Albert’s Table, enjoy

quality British food using locally sourced ingredients, and at Karnavar taste the Indian food that has garnered rave reviews from critics and locals alike. Diners on a budget will love Little Bay on Selsdon Road, which serves modern European fare in a fun, theatre-themed setting. Head a few miles south to Purley and visit Mekan, a welcoming Mediterranean mezze-grill eatery which is a real hit with locals, serving up a delicious range of Greek, Turkish and Cypriot cuisine. Croydon’s newest addition, Boxpark is also well worth a visit at any time of day. The shipping container 'village' is home to more than 30 independent pop-up food, drink and fashion retailers. There are some seriously tasty menus on offer, from the fresh vegan delights at Cook Daily, to beer crafted in Croydon’s very own Cronx Brewery. Boxpark also runs a series of events, including music, exercise, comedy and talks, and is an incredibly popular evening destination. Live music is also very much part of Croydon culture. Visit the Oval Tavern or Hoodoos at Matthew’s Yard to catch some great local acts. Or if you’re after an evening of film, visit one of the two stateof-the-art cinemas in the town centre or on the nearby Purley Way.

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LOCATION There’s also a great deal to see and do in Croydon’s green spaces. The borough is home to many great parks, while the sprawling Surrey countryside lies just a few miles south of the town centre. Walkers will love hidden Littleheath Woods near south Croydon, while the huge Lloyd Park is a favourite with families. As you head towards the south of the borough, things get decidedly greener. Farthing Downs in Old Coulsdon is a great spot for long walks and has panoramic views of the London skyline.



Croydon is a shoppers’ paradise. The town has long been famed for its excellent retail facilities, which easily rival those on offer in London and surrounding areas. The long, pedestrianised high street is home to hundreds of big-name stores, as well as two popular shopping malls, Centrale and the Whitgift Centre. In 2018, work begins to transform the Whitgift Centre into the 1.5 million sq ft Westfield mall, raising the town’s shopping profile to the next level. No shopping experience in Croydon is complete without a visit to the historic Surrey Street market, a much-loved institution in the town. Dating back to 1276, the lively market, which has recently been refurbished, is home to many independent

traders, selling everything from fruit and veg to clothing, music and gifts. Regular markets are also held at North End Road, where you can buy delicious food from a range of cuisines. The town is also home to a huge Ikea store, which is a big plus for new homeowners!

20 minutes, while services to Gatwick Airport take as little as 15 minutes. Heading south, Brighton is accessible in just 46 minutes. The Overgound provides direct links from West Croydon – also in Zone 5 – to east London, while the tram takes commuters from the town centre to Wimbledon in just 25 minutes. The good commuting times here are a big draw for homebuyers, as all of the borough’s stations fall within the London travel zone boundaries, making fares and season tickets much more affordable than those just outside of the borough borders. Croydon is also served by a comprehensive bus network, with frequent services running from and through the town centre to the many outlaying towns, as well as into central London. Several 24-hour bus routes run from the West End to the zone 6 towns. *Keyword search data from property portal Zoopla


TRANSPORT The entire borough benefits from excellent transport links, with train, Overground, tram and bus services running to all corners of the city. From East Croydon station (travel zone 5), commuters can reach Victoria or London Bridge in under

1 Green space and countryside links 2 World-class shopping facilities 3 Thriving restaurant culture 4 Brilliant transport links 5 Croydon Boxpark

HOMES on offer in the area… COULSDON


Cane Hill Park


Leon House

FROM £565,000 Created on the site of a former hospital, and with beautiful parkland all around, this new development sits in a prime location. Coulsdon town centre, for excellent shops and amenities, lies a 10-minute walk away, while Coulsdon South station, for services to Victoria in 28 minutes, is also a short walk away. The 75 new homes range from three to five bedroom properties and have traditional exteriors, designed in keeping with the pretty surroundings. Inside, the contemporary homes are bright and spacious with well-sized lounges opening through double doors to a private garden.

Lombard House

FROM £350,000 Located in the heart of Croydon, a stone’s throw from the popular Restaurant Quarter, this new development offers a chance to live close to the action. The 21-storey building – a former landmark office block – is undergoing significant redevelopment to transform the site into over 200 contemporary new homes. The apartments will feature floor-to-ceiling windows for optimal light and fantastic views out over the town and surrounding areas. Residents will also benefit from a communal sky lounge and a resident’s only members’ club offering access to exclusive facilities.

FROM £TBC This new collection of one to four bedroom apartments sits just a mile from the centre of Croydon. The homes, which are due to launch in early 2018, have been designed with modern living in mind. Open-plan living/dining areas will feature smart, fitted kitchens complete with integrated appliances and a private balcony – perfect for al fresco dining. West Croydon station, for services into central and east London, is around a 20-minute walk, while Ampere Way tram stop is just a short stroll away for speedy access to the town centre or south west London.

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In his fifties, and living in rented accommodation, Senior Paramedic Michael Ellis, 53, was worried about long-term stability for himself and his youngest daughter Miranda. Two years on, Michael is now s well established as a happy homeowner at Erith Park, having bought a two bedroom apartment through shared ownership with Orbit “I needed a more secure future, particularly because my daughter Miranda lives with me, and it was important to provide her with a stable home though her school exam years. Private renting can be a real headache, and I was constantly fretting about future rental costs, because it is just so expensive to live this close to London. I have to be realistic about what life will be like when I retire. I’ll have a reasonable pension, but it simply won’t be enough to allow me to rent anything remotely decent and still be near my family and friends in the area where I grew up.” A bad experience with a previous landlord left Michael particularly keen to get himself out of the vulnerable position that private renting can sometimes present. He recalls, “I’m very particular about living in a clean and tidy environment, so I asked if I could redecorate and carpet the property I was renting. I was given permission to do it, at my own expense, but as soon as I had the place looking presentable the landlord decided he wanted


the flat back. I found myself effectively homeless and out of pocket; an experience I wasn’t keen to repeat.” Michael’s wish to buy his own home was soon granted by Orbit’s Erith Park development, where he was able to buy 35% of a two bedroom apartment; easily affordable, but still allowing him to live within an easy commute to work. Buying through the government-backed shared ownership scheme allows working people like Michael, with a household income of less than £90k per annum, to purchase a share of a new home and pay a subsidised rent on the remainder. They can then increase their owned share, should their financial circumstances change in the future, up to 100%, through a system known as staircasing. Michael is very happy with his life at Erith Park and added, “Part of the appeal of buying an apartment here was that there is a maintenance contract for the grounds and public areas. It’s absolutely worth paying a little extra for, because the building is

beautifully maintained, the gardens look great, and I don’t have to worry about other people making a mess of shared spaces. This is particularly handy when you work in a high stress job, because you don’t always have the time or energy to get involved with DIY or gardening.” As a Fast Response Paramedic Michael does shift work, so having the peace and quiet to be able to sleep during the day is of paramount importance to him. Fortunately, his apartment at Erith Park ticks this box too. “It’s very peaceful here, and as well as the apartments being well constructed, with excellent insulation and soundproofing, we’re also fortunate to be surrounded by very considerate neighbours. All the people we have met here are lovely, and there is a genuine sense of community and people having respect for their living environment. “Buying here has been the perfect solution for us. I can relax, knowing that by the time I retire I will have paid off my small mortgage, and only have a very affordable partial rent to pay on my ideal, long-term home.” If you love the idea of being part of a real community, there are homes available at Erith Park via a variety of tenures, including shared ownership, private sale and rental. Purchase prices start from £102,800 for 40% of a two bedroom, shared ownership apartment. For further details go to

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Just a one-minute walk to Brentwood station, these 15 one and two bedroom luxurious apartments and penthouses from SE Property Group offer a modern design and fabulous contemporary interiors perfect for first time buyers For any first time buyer looking to purchase their dream home, Station Place in Brentwood offers an enviable lifestyle with an easy commute to London; with Crossrail opening in 2018, the journey time to Bond Street will be just 44 minutes and to Canary Wharf just 36 minutes. Brentwood’s high street is a mere five minutes away, with a variety of shops, including three large shopping centres nearby – Baytree, Lakeside and Bluewater. There is also a great selection of restaurants and bars, including the famous Sugar Hut nightclub. For nature lovers, there are several popular golf courses and abundant parks and woodland areas right on the doorstep, including Thorndon Park and Warley Place nature reserve. Each apartment at Station Place comes with the option to include a furniture package, which will include items by BoConcept furniture. BoConcept is the award-winning, ultra-modern Danish furniture designer and manufacturer, perfect for first time buyers who are starting out, it can make moving in totally stress-free. The price of a one bedroom apartment furniture pack is £5,000 and £7,500 for a two bedroom, with a free interior design consultation. The 11 two bedroom and four one bedroom apartments are available to buy off-plan and should be ready to move into in November 2018. There are also three luxurious penthouses on the top floor. Prices

start from from £295,000 with dedicated parking spaces available at an extra cost. Help to Buy is also available which means that buyers only need a 5%, deposit making these apartments truly affordable. They come with a very high specification and each kitchen includes a dishwasher, fridge/freezer, oven, hob and extractor fan. There will also be plumbing available for a washer/dryer. In addition, there is a very useful bike store, a lift, a video entry system and a fire sprinkler in each apartment.

SE Property Group co-founders, Warren Brodie and Fraser Macfarlane are passionate about property, embracing the Consumer Code for Home Builders for fair and transparent purchase process. They also offer a 10-year warranty for every new home. For more information contact Balgores Hayes on 01277 216800 or William H Brown on 01277 203060

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HOW DO I APPLY FOR HELP TO BUY? bpha is the Help to Buy agent for the east and south east of England, covering Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent. So if you are looking to live in any of those areas, then they’re there to help*

Help to Buy agents are housing associations appointed by the Homes & Communities Agency as the point of contact for people looking for affordable homes to buy or rent in their area. There are several different Help to Buy options available to applicants, depending on their individual circumstances. Applying for Help to Buy is easy – simply log on to their website and follow the Process Map (pictured right) to get started.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? An Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) will help you to arrange the finance for your purchase, which may include a mortgage. You can find a list of IFAs to contact at When you are buying your dream home, you will need to appoint a solicitor to act on your behalf. You can find a list of solicitors on their website too. The solicitor deals with all the legal contracts, inspections and reports for you (this is called conveyancing). Solicitors’ fees vary and some will have more experience in dealing with Help to Buy purchases than others. Once all the legal and financial matters have been finalised, you will exchange contracts and set a date to complete the purchase of your new home. Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for - you can collect the keys and unlock the door to your new home!

Equity Loan Scheme Find a participating developer in your area via their website,

Visit your chosen developer to find, or

a new home


The developer and financial advisor will help you complete a PIF** & Reservation Form

On receipt of the forms, your Help to Buy agent will let you know if you are eligible for the scheme within 4 working days

Shared Ownership & Rental Schemes Visit to apply online, they’ll let you know if you are eligible for the scheme within 4 working days

You can set up alerts to receive information on new properties as they are added

Found a home of interest? Click on

The housing provider will review

‘register your interest’ or contact

your application form and advise if

the housing provider

you are eligible for the property

*If you live outside of these areas, you can find details of the Help to Buy Agent for your area at

If successful, the housing provider will contact you to discuss next



To contact the Help to Buy team, call 03333 214044 or email Opening hours: 9am-5pm Monday to Friday You can also keep up to date with all the latest Help to Buy news and events on their social media pages:

You’re nearly there! **PIF (Property Information Form)


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EXPERT COMMENT Buying your first home can be daunting. However, your mortgage application needn’t be an arduous process; there are a number of simple things you can do to ensure everything runs smoothly. First, ensure your finances are in good health. Paying bills on time and not exceeding your credit limits are good routines to get into. You can also check your credit record is accurate through a credit reference agency as you don’t want errors on your file to prevent you from being accepted for a mortgage. Try to get your paperwork in order before applying for your mortgage. Mortgage providers will need to validate your income and your current spending, so take the time to dig out your pay slips and bank statements – some lenders want to see up to six months’ worth of documentation. Lenders do consider each individual’s circumstances so check through your records and ensure you have


There are literally thousands of different mortgage products available, many of which are specifically targeted at first time buyers. Kay Hill looks at what’s on offer

explanations for any blips that might have occurred. Finally, use people you can trust when buying a home. It’s one of the biggest purchases of your life so you really need to ensure you have a good estate agent, a good mortgage adviser and a good solicitor, because the process is far more likely to run smoothly when you have proactive, competent people working on your side. Ask friends and family for their experience and try to build a network of experts that you can rely on.

Paul Howley

The key to getting the right mortgage is to do your research, and lots of it. With so many deals out there, don’t imagine that it’s going to be a five minute job! As well as checking out what the major lenders have to offer, don’t forget to use comparison sites to find some of the smaller players, and consider using a mortgage broker, especially if your circumstances are not straightforward. We’ve done some of the work for you and summarised the main types of mortgage on offer, along with some examples. While the examples were correct when we went to press, do remember that the mortgage market can change very quickly so deals can be here today and gone tomorrow.

Head of Lending at Yorkshire Building Society.

HIGH LOAN-TO-VALUE MORTGAGES Before the recession started a decade ago, 95% and 100% mortgages were commonplace, and taking out a 110% loan


to fund your carpets and furnishings was considered perfectly prudent (although the first UK banking casualty was Northern Rock, which at one point was dolling out 125% mortgages like sweeties). Once house prices proved that they could go down as well as up, lenders became wary of larger loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages, and for a while anyone who couldn’t come up with at least a 20% deposit was left out in the cold. According to UK Finance (formerly the Council of Mortgage Lenders), in 2007, 5.6% of all new lending was at 95% LTV or above. Today that figure is 0.2%. Larger percentage loans are becoming more popular again, but you will pay a considerably higher interest rate to reflect the higher risk, so it’s worth taking a hard look at what house prices are doing where you want to buy. If prices are rising at less than the rate of inflation then putting your plans on hold for six or 12 months to save a larger deposit could save you money long term.

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MORTGAGES Marsden Building Society has 95% discounted variable mortgages with two years at 2.99% then standard variable at 5.7%, plus a fee of £299 and 0.5% of the mortgage advance. Yorkshire Building Society offers a twoyear fixed rate 95% mortgage at 3.15% with a £995 fee and £250 cashback. Leeds Building Society has a Fee Saver two-year fixed rate at 4.14%, available up to 95% LTV with no product fee and free standard valuation.

FAMILY OFF-SET MORTGAGES Before the Government introduced the higher rate of Stamp Duty on second homes, it wasn’t uncommon for parents to become co-purchasers of a young person’s first house. That additional charge, along with capital gains tax for the parent when the house was sold, has meant this is now a much less agreeable option. Lenders have come to the rescue, however, with new products enabling parents to help out without becoming subject to taxation. Family off-set mortgages allow parents (and in some cases grandparents or other relatives) to put their savings into an account linked to their child’s mortgage. The buyer can’t access the money, but it serves as a deposit on the property they want to buy, reducing the amount they need to borrow. The relative needs to be willing to lock their money away for a number of years, usually until the child’s mortgage is worth only 75 to 80 per cent of the property value, but they will get it back eventually. Some of these accounts offer interest to the parent. Barclays Family Springboard – 100% mortgages for used homes up to £500,000 (no new builds). Mortgage is fixed for three years at 2.99% (or 2.79% with a five per cent deposit) then moves to a lifetime tracker (currently 2.74%). No initial fees. The helper opens a Helpful Start Account with 10% of the purchase price which they must leave for three years. If the buyer keeps up payments, after three years the savings can be withdrawn, with interest based on a tracker rate, currently 1.75%. If the buyer has defaulted, the money can be kept longer or, in the worst case, used to make up the bank’s shortfall from a repossession. The Family Building Society (part of National Counties Building Society established in 1896) offers a versatile Family Mortgage which gives the helper (almost any family member and up to 12 can help out at once) a choice of depositing up to 25% of the buyer’s mortgage in an account that earns 0.75% interest, offsetting their money against the buyer’s mortgage so it reduces the buyer’s interest charges but doesn’t earn them interest, securing part of the buyer’s loan against their own suitable

property or a mixture of all three. The offset runs for 10 years. Buyers must have at least a five per cent deposit; three-year fixes are 2.69% and five-year 2.89% plus a £599 product fee. Loughborough Building Society’s First Time Buyer Family Deposit mortgage allows family members the option to use their savings to help the buyer by putting cash into a linked account with the Society (no interest is paid) or by using their own property as equity for 20% of the value of the property being purchased. Mortgages of up to 100% are available; a five-year discounted variable rate is 3.29% if the helper has provided cash savings or 3.49% if they are using property as equity, or five-year fixed rates are 3.79% and 3.99% respectively. All have £199 booking fees. Teachers Building Society has a similar product called Family Mortgage Options but it’s available only to educational professionals such as NQTS, teachers, lecturers and teaching assistants, details on application.

GIFTED DEPOSITS Families have always helped out by giving money towards a home deposit, but some lenders have formalised this process and offer help for parents or grandparents who want to help, but whose own funds are all tied up in property. These products require the helper to give their money permanently, rather than just providing security. Nationwide’s Family Deposit scheme requires the helper to take our their own mortgage with Nationwide at the same time as the buyer, up to 80% LTV, and gift the money to the buyer (it cannot be a loan). The buyer can choose from any normal Nationwide product, the helper has a range of products, discounted by 0.09% and starting from 1.15% for a two-year tracker. Valuations are free and there’s £500 cashback for the buyer.

GUARANTOR MORTGAGES If you are struggling to borrow enough money for the house that you want to purchase, another way in which a family member can help is by acting as a guarantor. With this type of mortgage, it is the guarantor’s income or assets that are assessed, and the loan may be secured on their property. As long as the buyer keeps up the payments the guarantor will not have to pay anything, but if the buyer defaults then the guarantor will become liable. You will need to be financially reliable and have a good relationship with your parents to even consider this option! Bath Building Society’s Parent Assisted Mortgage allows up to a 95% loan on a

property based on the parent and child’s incomes, 3.04% for three years (variable) then 5.04%, with fees from £735. Virgin Money offers guarantor options where the mortgage is based on the helper’s income across its standard mortgage range.

FIXED-RATE/DISCOUNTED FIXEDRATE MORTGAGES Many standard mortgage products offer a fixed rate for a period of time, sometimes heavily discounted. Fixed rates are helpful for those on a tight budget as you know that your payments can’t go up during that time. Most experts are of the opinion that interest rates are likely to start to rise soon (they can’t really go much lower), so taking a good fix now could save money long term. On the flip side, experts have been saying that for at least the last two years and they haven’t risen, so those on a variable rate may have saved money in that time. The length of time that you choose to fix for is an important decision. A longer fix – three or five years – gives a long period of security, but could leave you facing early repayment charges if you needed to sell in that time. It is also likely to be more expensive, as lenders will be hedging their bets on what will happen to rates. Short fixes of one or two years, especially if they are heavily discounted, can be helpful when you are struggling with all the costs of moving and setting up a new home, but you will be facing all the aggravation and fees involved with remortgaging plus the likelihood of a rate increase, while you are probably still settling in. With short fixes, or if you are borrowing a relatively small amount, be especially aware that the effect of a high set-up fee can easily wipe out any savings gained by a super-low interest rate - low headline rates don’t always mean the best deal. Yorkshire Building Society – 75% LTV mortgages at 1.14% or 85% LTV mortgages at 1.32% fixed for two years with £995 product fee. HSBC – two-year fix, up to 80% LTV mortgages at 1.24% with £999 fees, moving to standard variable at 3.69%. Barclays – two-year fix, up to 85% LTV mortgages at 1.41%, £999 fee. Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank – threeyear fix, up to 95% LTV at 3.99% and up to 90% LTV at 2.89%, both with no product fee, free valuation and £250 cashback. Halifax - five-year fix at 2.35% for up to 80% LTV with a £995 fee, or 2.55% without, plus £750 cashback. Coventry Building Society’s Member’s Mortgage is a five-year fix at 2.89% for those who have been saving with them, or have a family member with savings or a mortgage there for three years, up to 90%

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MORTGAGES LTV, no product fees, free valuation and £500 cashback. Leeds Building Society offers a five-year Fee Saver fix at 3.14% , up to 90% LTV, no product fee and free valuation. Also offers its Fee Saver Welcome Mortgage, at 0% for six months then 2.69% for the rest of the five years, available on up to 85% LTV, with no product fee and free valuation.

VARIABLE RATE /DISCOUNTED VARIABLE RATE /TRACKER MORTGAGES A lender’s Standard Variable Rate is often, like energy companies’ standard tariffs, the worst possible rate, but if your pocket could stand an unexpected rate rise, opting for a discounted variable rate could save money over a short fix, and there are also some cheaper permanent variable rates now available. Trackers, which have an interest rate of a certain margin above the Bank of England base rate, can also offer good value, especially if the margin is discounted for a couple of years. With all of these mortgages, your monthly rate will go up if the Bank of England increases the base rate, (or even if your lender decides independently to increase its variable rate) so work out what your monthly repayments would be if there was a one or two per cent increase in rates and make sure you could cope. HSBC offer a Two-year Tracker 1.09% at 75% LTV, plus £749 product fee, 1.14% at 80% LTV with £999 product fee. Coventry Building Society’s Flexx for Term offers 1.55% for whole term at 75% LTV up to 2.45% for a 90% LTV mortgage, both with £999 product fee.


seeing the full amount of your debt on every bank statement, or if you frequently end up in the red, it isn’t for you. The Family Building Society has a variable offset mortgage with a maximum LTV of 80%. It has a two-year discounted rate of 2.19%, then standard variable rate, currently 4.64%, plus £175 set-up fee. The Yorkshire Building Society offers an offset with a maximum LTV of 85%, fixed for two years at 1.52%, plus a £995 product fee. Coventry Building Society’s Offset Flexx for Term, offers up to 75% LTV, 1.85% for term (variable) plus £999 product fee.

SHARED-OWNERSHIP MORTGAGES An increasingly common way to get a foot on the property ladder is by buying a share in a property rather than the whole home at once. Fewer lenders offer mortgages in this situation so you may have to hunt harder for a good deal. Lloyds Group, which includes the Halifax, has just announced that it will now loan up to 90% of the value of the shared ownership amount being purchased (up from 80%), a move that was praised by Craig Hall, new build manager at Legal & General Mortgage Club: “Improvements like this are key to the growth of the sector and also shine the spotlight on Shared Ownership as a realistic alternative option for first-time

buyers. A greater number of lenders willing to lend on Shared Ownership properties adds to the legitimacy of the tenure, and will help to increase the take up, meaning more first time buyers are able to get on the property ladder in the long run.” Halifax offers two-year fixes from 1.84% on 75% LTV up to 3.74% for 90% LTV of the portion being purchased, with a £995 fee. Virgin Money has launched a new Shared Ownership Mortgage. A 90% LTV fixed for two years comes in at 3.69% or a five-year fix at 4.29%, both with no product fee and £300 cashback. The Hanley Economic Building Society Shared Ownership mortgage, 2.99% variable, up to 95% LTV, no fee. Leeds Building Society offers a two-year fixed rate Shared Ownership mortgage at 3.99%. Available up to 95% of borrowers’ share (75% LTV total), no product fee and free valuation.

HELP TO BUY /RIGHT TO BUY If you are using the Government’s Help to Buy scheme to purchase a new build home, or if you are buying your council house through Right to Buy, you may find your choice of lender and product more restricted. There are some good deals out there though. Barclays offers a two-year fixed rate Help to Buy mortgage, 1.39% on up to 75% LTV with a £999 fee. Leeds Building Society (via a broker) offers a two-year fixed rate Help to Buy Cashback mortgage, 1.74% on up to 75% LTV, with a £999 fee, free standard valuation and £500 cashback. Also offers a Right to Buy Cashback Fee Saver two-year fix at 2.2% on up to 75% LTV, with no product fee, free valuation and £500 cashback.

This is a sophisticated financial product where your current account, savings and mortgage are linked together. Instead of earning interest on your savings, whatever you have in cash is taken off your mortgage debt for the purposes of calculating interest. If you keep a firm grip on your finances and never go overdrawn you can pay off your mortgage much faster. If you would be emotionally uncomfortable with

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FOR SALE THE CREAM OF THE CROP Each month, FTB scours the market for the best starter homes for first time buyers. So, if you’re looking for a brand-new abode on a budget, we hope you will enjoy our selection.

H A R R O W, L O N D O N




DON LON ★★★ Affordable homes p86-87


Shared ownership p88

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H A R R O W, L O N D O N




Baldwin Court at Lyon Square This pretty new collection of one, two and three bedroom homes sits just a stone’s throw from historic Harrow on the Hill, home of the world-famous school as well as plenty of beautiful architecture. The apartments are finished to a high standard, with bright, spacious interiors that feature open-plan living/dining areas that open to a generous balcony or terrace. The homes are just a few minutes’ walk from the heart of Harrow and Harrow-on-the-Hill rail station, where the Metropolitan Line will whisk you to central London in under 20 minutes. Redrow 0203 811 6226


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FROM £71,250* AY L E S B U R Y, B U C K I N G H A M S H I R E

FROM £297,500

Grove Park Located in the leafy north west London town of Colindale, and with private landscaped gardens, these new homes offer residents peaceful surroundings just a 20-minute commute from central London. There are 15 apartments available through shared ownership. The one, two and three bedroom homes have been

designed with modern living in mind, with open-plan living areas, plenty of natural light as well as private outdoor space. For shopping, Brent Cross is four minutes away, while exploring the outdoors is easy, with many beautiful parks nearby. Octavia Living 020 8354 5500

*Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £285,000


FROM £142,500*

Kingsfield Park Set within 180 acres of parkland and with the Chiltern Hills on the doorstep, these two and three bedroom homes are perfect for lovers of all things green. The new community also has a gym, school and plenty of local shops, all just one hour from London Marylebone. The two bedroom homes offer a separate

kitchen and living room on the lower floor, and two well-sized bedrooms upstairs with a family bathroom. The living areas open through French doors to a rear garden, and each home benefits from allocated parking. Martin Grant Homes 01296 321053

FROM £212,500


Turnberry Quay With iconic Canary Wharf as its backdrop, these new homes on the Isle of Dogs are perfect for London living. The two bedroom apartments, available through shared ownership, sit along the quayside, with many cafes and restaurants within easy reach. Crossharbour DLR station is nearby, while Canary Wharf,

on the Jubilee Line, is just a few minute’s further for speedy journeys into the West End and beyond. The homes feature two balconies, one to the front and one to the back of the building, perfect for enjoying the views any time of day. Family Mosaic 020 7089 1315

*Based on a 30% share of the full market value of £475,000

Chesterwell Located in a sought-after part of pretty Colchester, this new collection of homes comprises a mix of two, three and four bedroom houses and two bedroom apartments. The apartments are bright and spacious, with master bedroom en suites and plenty of storage space – perfect for modern

living. Chesterwell is surrounded by protected woodlands, with an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty nearby, while trains from nearby Colchester arrive in London Liverpool Street in just 54 minutes. Countryside Properties 01206 854515

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Property: Two bedroom apartment Original market value: £425,000 Current market value: £500,000 Share purchased: Initially 25% (deposit of £10,600) staircased to 35% Monthly outgoings: Subsidised rent and mortgage payments around £1,300

Shared ownership: Wandsworth When renters Chantal Epp, 23, and her partner Thomas Bean, 27, were forced to re-evaluate their living situation, they turned to shared ownership – a scheme which enables first time buyers priced out of the open market to purchase a share of a home and pay rent on the remaining share – in the hope of getting on to the property ladder Chantal, head of business development at music company CueSongs, said, “We were previously renting a house in Wandsworth, owned by my partner’s father. The home buying process was kickstarted when we were asked to move out due to a sudden change of plan regarding the use of the property, which came as a bit of a shock.” After years of renting, the change encouraged Chantal and Thomas to try and secure a property of their own. They started looking on the open market, but soon found the properties available required a deposit far larger than they could afford. During the extensive search for an affordable home, Chantal contacted Thames Valley Housing regarding the apartments available through shared ownership at Apsley House in Wandsworth, London. Chantal continues, “The location of the apartments seemed absolutely ideal, they were just around the corner from where we were living at the time and close to our family. On the very first viewing, I fell so in love with the apartment that I filled out the application to Thames Valley Housing before my partner had a chance to see it! “The high specification and spacious rooms exceeded our expectations – we


could get so much more for our money purchasing through shared ownership.” Chantal and Thomas were successful in their application and moved into their two bedroom apartment at Apsley House, putting down a deposit of £10,600 for a 25% share (£106,250) of the £425,000 property. Chantal and Thomas found their monthly outgoings amounted to roughly £1,200. From the beginning, the couple were keen to increase the share of their home, so after Thomas received some inheritance they were able to increase it to 35%. Chantal said, “During the process we were required to have the apartment revalued, and discovered that its value had risen to £500,000. Our current monthly outgoings for rent and mortgage payments are now roughly £1,300. “It has already been a brilliant investment as it got us on to the property ladder, but if we did decide to sell, we would still receive equity of around

£18,000, which is reassuring.” Chantal and Thomas are now free to enjoy the perks of owning their first home. Chantal says, “Living right by Richmond Park is brilliant. We love having such an open green space so close to our home. We really enjoy going for walks at the weekend and the park is perfect for that.” Another perk of their new home is the underground parking. “Having had our motorbikes stolen three times in the past, the secure parking is incredibly useful. We feel very safe and comfortable leaving our vehicles there overnight. Our home is finished to a beautifully high standard and the final touches feel very homely. If we had never been asked to move out, we wouldn’t be on the property ladder living in a home we otherwise couldn’t afford on the open market. There’s no going back to renting now!”


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Dr Barnardo created the beautiful Garden Village back in 1875 to help young girls escape the London slums. Today, this historic development offers a unique living experience as Lynda Clark found when she took a step back in time and visited this architectural gem The location of Dr Barnardo’s garden village is simply stunning. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city but still just a five-minute walk from Barkingside tube station, SiteSales Property Group has just launched the Heritage Collection at the Barnardo’s Garden Village development. The original cottages overlooking The Grade ll listed green have been converted into one, two and three bedroom apartments with all of the original architectural features of the important conservation area respected during the regeneration process. These modern and stylish apartments retain a sense of space and proportion that the Victorians were renowned for, with beautiful high ceilings and original bay windows. While maintaining a real sense of 19th century grandeur, they are bang up-to-date with contemporary kitchens,


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which come with integrated appliances and elegant bathrooms. Some apartments also come with outside space and all have a parking bay. Located just a short walk from Barkingside High Street, the local area has a sports centre, swimming pool and golf course. The development is close enough to easily commute into central London, yet is a short distance from the nature trails and fishing lake of Hainault Forest Country Park. From Barkingside underground station it takes just 18 minutes to Stratford, 26 minutes to Liverpool Street and 38 minutes to Bond Street. Nearby Ilford station is part of Crossrail on the Elizabeth Line which, once up and running, will be able to get to Canary Wharf in just 17 minutes and Paddington in 27 minutes. Murray Smith, Managing Director of SiteSales Property Group said, “Barnardo’s Garden Village has been one of the most satisfying projects that we have ever been involved with. Not only is the development a financial success for the charity that helped fund the construction of a new Head Office for the charity, but it has also had a positive effect on the local community with the majority of homes being sold to people from the surrounding areas.” SiteSales Property Group have been involved in the project since 2010 and have contributed to the sales of the 214 homes, from formulating a bespoke financial model, and inputting in design and specification, to the first sales launch in 2013 and the final launch of the Heritage Collection apartments. Prices for the apartments range from £280,000 to £475,000.


Dr Barnardo created the Garden Village in 1875. The beautiful and tranquil setting was the perfect support for young girls in need of escape from the London slums. Dr Barnardo originally received the site, then Mossford Lodge, as a wedding gift in 1873 but the estate was too big for the couple, and so Dr Barnardo charitably converted the adjoining coach house to accommodate 12 wayward girls. By 1876 he had built a village for the girls with 13 cottages and by 1880 this had increased to 26. He hired a housemother in each, giving the girls the opportunity to receive much needed support and guidance. Dr Barnardo died in 1905 and by then a community had been formed of 65 cottages and 11 service buildings including a church, hospital and school. In honour of his legacy, a memorial statue still stands on the site as a testament of his generosity and kindness. 0344 809 2025

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EXPERT COMMENT There may be a slight element of naivety among first time buyers when it comes to estimating the cost of getting themselves on to the property ladder. However, our research also shows that it takes an average of two years to save up for a first home, and a lot can happen to the price tag of a property over that period, which buyers might not anticipate. As a result, they may well find that what they can afford in reality when they are ready to buy is quite different to what they had anticipated at the beginning of the process. The research also reveals

The average first time buyer wants to live close to family and workplace, but wildly underestimates how much it will cost to get on the property ladder, according to research by Zoopla, which won Best Online Property Portal in the FTB Readers’ Awards 2017. Kay Hill analyses the details

that first time buyers are heavily reliant on their parents for advice. While plenty of parents may be up to speed on property market trends, a lot has changed since their generation first got on to the property ladder, so perhaps some of this advice could be out of date. Currently, only 25% of first time buyers speak to an estate agent for advice at the beginning of the buying process. Getting expert advice both from local estate agents directly and from portals such as Zoopla can help arm first time buyers with the knowledge they

Property website Zoopla has completed an in-depth study of the first time buyer market, interviewing more than a thousand recent and would-be first time buyers around the country to build up a picture of a generation suffering from what it calls a ‘reality gap’ between expectation and experience. Not only does the study conclude that would-be buyers underestimate the amount of deposit they will need and the time it will take to save for it, but they also massively underestimate the amount they will end up paying on their first home.

need to keep their expectations realistic. Chris Browne Sales Director - new homes, Zoopla


The problem is particularly acute for buyers in London, who, the study found: 9 Think they will need to save for 20 months but actually have to save for 30 months. 9 Assume they will need a £28,141 deposit but in reality have to save £37,391, 9 Hope to buy for £259,158, but end up paying £386,667; that’s a massive £127,509 extra (a 39.49% difference).

The situation is nearly as bad for buyers in the south of England, who have to save for five months longer than anticipated to raise £4,511 more towards their deposit than they expected. Buyers in the north of the country also have a big reality gap – while the average buyer expects to spend £120,617, the actual cost of a first home ends up averaging £164,488 – a 30.78% difference between hope and experience. With buying a home being such a costly affair, the study also investigated what makes people take the plunge. The most cited reason (respondents could select all that applied) was “I wanted a place I could make my own”, a major driver for 65% of people. A close second came as “I didn’t want to spend money on renting”, given by 52%. Interestingly, 10% of buyers (mainly men) were pushed into property ownership by their parents making them move out (perhaps the Bank of Mum and Dad has ulterior motives after all…). Parents are certainly an important part of the process. The report found that 54% of buyers turn to

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family for advice on buying a home, and 34% are given money by their parents. A further 13% buy with the help of money they have inherited from family members. The study highlights the massive difference in house prices around the country, with first time buyers in the Midlands spending an average of £163,596 and those in the north spending £164,488, as opposed to buyers in the south forking out £218,779 and those in London having to find £386,667. With such differentials, one might assume that first time buyers would be flocking to move to areas where homes are cheaper.

THE PROCESS 9 On average it takes first time buyers two years to save the deposit and nine months to find/buy a property 9 Portals and online calculators dominate at the start of the journey 9 In fact, 65% first saw the property they bought on a portal 9 Only 25% of first time buyers contact an estate agent at the start of the journey, while over half go to their family for advice

SCHEMES 9 90% are aware of schemes and 46% have used them 9 This is predominately the Help To Buy ISA, which is also seen as the most useful 9 There is limited knowledge and understanding of equity loans, mortgage guarantees and lifetime ISAs

In fact, the study reveals, “the search is driven by familiarity, a safe neighbourhood and easy commuting”. When looking at buying a home in a particular area, first time buyers said they preferred: 9 An area they were familiar with – 43% 9 To be in a safe neighbourhood – 42% 9 To make their commute to work as easy as possible – 41% 9 To be near family – 36% 9 To be near work – 36% 9 To choose an area based on affordability, rather than their dream area - 14%. In fact, 69% of first time buyers had bought or were looking for a new home within just 10 miles of their old home, and 62% within 10 miles of close family. Only 15% of first time buyers were prepared to move more than 20 miles out of their home area, and 29% were intent on finding a new home in a search area of less than five miles. Although they are particular about area, first time buyers are less bothered about the type of property. While 38% express a preference for a new build, 26% prefer a resold home and 33% have no preference either way. When it comes to the main driver for choosing a particular home, 5% stated that the age of the home was the most important thing, below location (32%), number of bedrooms (29%), type of property (18%) and garden (9%). In fact, the building industry has some work to do – 39% of the study said that new builds had “small rooms and thin walls”, 38% thought they were overpriced and 34% didn’t like the uniformity of new homes. “This could be to do with perceptual barriers to purchase about the size and quality of new build homes,” notes Chris Browne of Zoopla. “Perhaps first time buyers need more convincing that the quality of new build properties today is higher than ever before, and that these type of homes are no longer synonymous with thin walls and odd layouts.”

FINANCE 9 The average deposit is £21.3k, but with big regional differences: £17.2k in the north to £32.1k in London 9 82% are saving for their own deposit, and a third are given money by parents 9 61% find gathering a deposit difficult 9 Getting a mortgage is seen as easier than saving for a deposit. Although a perception /reality gap exists, as only 37% of intenders think this will be easy vs 67% of first time buyers that have purchased and found it easy

ON AVERAGE FIRST TIME BUYERS NEED A DEPOSIT OF £21,000 Those in London need almost double those in the north. With 82% needing to save themselves, the majority are finding it a struggle. Average deposit needed (rounded to nearest £100)




19,700 17,200






Source: ZPG research conducted by Monkey See, May 2017

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Magna Homes believe that luxury and excellence should not be confined to a certain size or a certain place. Using clever design solutions, quality high-end specifications and with a focus on detail, they create intelligent and interesting living spaces in desirable commuter town locations, bringing stylish living to first time buyers


FROM ÂŁ170,000


Magna Vita

A short walk from Frimley High Street, Magna Vita is a stunning development, offering a collection of 91 modern studios, and one and two bedroom apartments, bringing luxury living to West Surrey. Set in a peaceful location, Magna Vita combines contemporary architecture with a clean and elegant finish to create flexible living spaces that simplify modern living.


Magna West


Releasing Autumn 2017 With all the apartments sold, the luxurious penthouses with spectacular views over leafy parkland will soon be released for sale at Magna West. West Byfleet is a Surrey village, east of Woking, with a direct train to London Waterloo in just 30 minutes. With gated parking, Magna West gives the versatile option of living in a country location while enjoying a city lifestyle.


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GODALMING Magna Riverside

FROM £210,000

Launching this Autumn Magna Riverside will offer 16 lateral apartments ranging from studios to two beds in Godalming, Surrey and a stones throw from the historic High Street. This lovely waterside location is just a 10-minute walk to Godalming station, which takes just 45 minutes to reach London Waterloo. The elegant apartments feature an opulent entrance hall and they come with fully-fitted Siemens appliances in the kitchen and Help to Buy is available, subject to status.

Entrepreneur Chris Madelin is CEO of Magna Homes and is a true visionary and always knew what he ultimately wanted in life. Originally he worked in the construction industry from the bottom up, but always aspired to own his own company. Eventually, he created the Magna brand, which means ‘great’, based on the Latin translation. Magna will soon have around 600 new homes for sale along the west London belt between zone 4 and stretching along the M4 and A3 corridors. Each will come with a luxury specification and sumptuous interiors, using highquality materials like marble tiled bathrooms and underfloor heating, but are also affordable - making them perfect for first time buyers. Chris said, “We are selling the dream – our focus is on luxury, but also affordability. Every apartment will benefit from impressive entrances and secure gated parking for peace of mind, as well as making a real impact with a range of quality appliances, including Sonos sound systems and Neff and Miele appliances in the kitchens. We want to give first time buyers a little piece of Mayfair but in Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire and beyond.”

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Oven safe

Microwave safe

Freezer safe

Dishwasher safe



The Denby approach is simple; beautiful and practical tableware designed for modern life. And when modern life requires a no fuss range of hardwearing yet still beautiful items, enter Denby Elements. – Available in four colours





H OW TO E N T E R Answer the following question:

How many colourways are there in the Elements range? Send your answer, with your full name, address and telephone number to: lynda@firsttimebuyermag. Closing date: 17 November 2017

THE PRIZE… THERE ARE 3 PRIZES WORTH £180 EACH A 12-piece tableware set of 4 dinner plates, 4 medium plates and 4 cereal bowls worth £100; 4 pasta bowls worth £40; 4 wine glasses, worth £20; 4 tumblers worth £20 Winners can select their choice of colourway from: Blue, light grey, green or natural T&Cs The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternatives will be given. Competition is open to UK residents only.

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FIRST HOME, FIRST MEAL Simon Day, founder of food brand unearthed® shares a Spanish-inspired rice, prawn and chorizo dish.This easy one-pan dish is perfect for relaxed suppers




4 5 6


Dice the onion and cut the red pepper into chunks Put oil in a large frying pan (or paella dish), add the onion and pepper and cook until they begin to brown Dice the chorizo into small pieces, then add to the pan until it starts to brown slightly Stir the rice in and ensure it is well coated with the oil Add the saffron to the chicken stock, then pour into the pan and mix well Put a lid on the pan and cook for roughly 15 mins, or until the stock is absorbed and rice is tender Stir the garlic prawns through, then squeeze over the lemon. Sprinkle over the parsley, then serve immediately

Simon’s childhood travels in Greece inspired his life-long love of food – from rich sesame tahini and fiery chillies, to salty feta and bitter olives it took him 16 years to like. Exploring crowded markets and dusty roadside cafes his father introduced him to an irresistible array of tastes, textures, sights and smells; unearthed® is his way of sharing those experiences and connecting people to the cultures that produce these incredible edibles. The philosophy is simple: they believe that good food should be for the many, not the few. So they travel the world to find the best local produce from the best local producers – authentic, healthy and delicious. Along the way they have become even more convinced that good food and good times go together like a wink and a smile. It’s about a spirit of discovery and the simple pleasure that sharing great food can bring – just like his Dad used to say during their travels. In 2008 they launched three olive lines and now have a range of over 50 products sold in Waitrose, plus an additional three organic lines which can be found on It’s not just about great taste though. Since 2010 they have donated 1p from every pack sold to Action Against Hunger – an international humanitarian organisation that works to save the lives of children suffering from life-threatening malnutrition. This month they have reached the £530,000 donation mark and continue to work in partnership with them.

Ingredients (Serves 3) Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 25 mins  100g unearthed®

Chorizo Sarta  125g unearthed® garlic        

prawns 100g paella rice 400 ml chicken stock 1 tbsp olive oil 1 red pepper 1 onion Pinch of saffron 1 lemon Chopped parsley (for garnishing)

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FTB’S FAST FOOD Ready meals can be perfect when you are short of time. We tried a selection from the UK’s top supermarkets to see which ones were the tastiest






finest* chicken and pancetta bake, £3.70; finest* fish pie, £3.70; finest* Shepherd’s pie, £3.70; finest* cottage pie, £3.70; Free From beef casserole and dumplings, £3.00; Free From chicken tikka masala, £3.00

Extra Special beef and pancetta lasagne, £2.50; Extra Special luxury fish pie, £2.50; Extra Special clam and king prawn linguine, £2.00; apple crumble, £2.60; Extra Special chocolate fudge cake, £1.99 FTB SAYS: Asda had some great options for when

Chicken lattice cheese & bacon, £4; TtD cottage pie, £3.60; TtD lasagne, £3.60; TtD butternut squash risotto with roasted mushrooms, £3.60; TtD fish pie, £5.50; pork loin with chorizo & tomato butter, £4.50

FTB SAYS: We loved that the Tesco range offered

you want a quick and easy meal, but don’t want

FTB SAYS: We felt that theese convenience

options for people who were dairy and gluten

to compromise on taste. The beef and pancetta

meals required a longer cooking time, especially

free, especially as both the casserole and the tikka

lasagne had a really authentic flavour, and the

as most of them were oven meals rather than

masala were delicious. The tikka masala tasted

pancetta slices added some smokiness. The fish pie

microwaveable. The risotto was bland, and there

authentic and was really well spiced. The chicken

was also great with large chunks of salmon, and the

was not very many chunks of butternut squash in

and pancetta bake was very flavoursome, as

haddock was really flaky. We felt that the linguine

it. The fish pie was creamy and the prawns had

it was creamy, and the potatoes on top were a

had a good flavour, but we had to throw out most of

a great bite to them. The cottage pie had a good

great addition. The fish pie was filling and had a

the clams as the shells hadn’t opened!

amount of filling, but needed seasoning as the

generous amount of fish, and was really great value


flavour wasn’t quite there. The pork loin however,

for money. The Shepherd’s pie was substantial and

was delicious and the tomato butter and chorizo

the sauce was good, but there was a little too much

really added to the flavour. The chicken and lattice

mashed potato. The cottage pie, however, was

bakes were dry and the pastry wasn’t flaky.

delicious and the lamb mince was really tasty with

the perfect amount of potato on top.


Forget plastic food boxes... this collection from Judge is made with high clarity clear Borosilicate glass, with the best thermal properties. They can be transferred from the freezer to a hot oven, and be used in the microwave. The lid has a silicone ring and four strong clamps, which when activated, creates a water and airtight seal. Judge Seal & Store glass containers, from £3,95 0117 940 0000

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For a number of the Millennial generation and beyond, life is different when compared to the prosperity of the Baby Boomers. For many young people, homeownership is no longer the pinnacle of aspiration, as a nomadic existence and renting suits their needs better at the start of adulthood. While some still aspire to own their own home, to understand the journey Millenials will have to make to get on the property ladder, one needs to look at how the housing market is currently operating It was projected over a decade ago that to keep up with demand, we needed 250,000 homes to be built each year. We have consistently fallen short each year and not by a few, but by 100,000 and more. The latest figures say that 2016 saw fewer than 160,000 homes built. So from a figure of 250,000 we must increase to building 350,000 new homes each year. This does nothing to help the first time buyer to see value and affordability, primarily because of supply and demand and the pressure on house prices from too few properties sought by too many people. Within the development and house building industry, there is a growing trend to develop for rental purposes only. This is variously called ‘multifamily’, ‘build to rent’ or ‘PRS’. There is a huge amount of investment in this type of property development, as much as £70 billion and more. House builders and developers therefore have options on where they market their buildings and who they build for. In a capitalist market everyone is driven by the returns they can make and the profitability of their work, so if the multifamily rental market has huge amounts of investment to tap into, then development sites may be built for them, rather than the for sale market. This trend puts further pressure

on the prices for new homes and reduces the availability of the sale market for first time buyers. Even with the inclusion of developments intended for multifamily rental, we are still falling far behind the number of new homes needed for Millenials and their families, despite the great demand from investors. There are complaints that developers deliberately hold back land and do not develop as fast as they could. Obviously any developer is going to want to make the best return they can, but all are working flat out and claim that the shortage arises from materials and labour. It is difficult to demand that the market build more homes when, in reality, there is no more capacity with the developers at the present time. This issue has

been flagged and identified by the development industry over the last five years. So how do we meet the demand for houses and seek the quantity needed to be built each year? What is missing from the current development market, compared to that of the Baby Boomers’, is the contribution of small house builders and local authority development. The large housebuilders have been consistent in building in the same quantities over the years, but the difference when we look back in time is that the majority of new homes actually came from smaller developers and local authorities. In order to make up for this shortfall, the market has started to look at ‘modern’ methods of construction, which in fact is a

Roger J Southam, Non-Executive Chair of Leasehold Advisory Service reboot of past endeavours. The current flavour of the month is modular housing and off site construction. Institutions and developers are investing in housebuilding factories and streamlined processes to facilitate swift and quality housing construction. Over the next five to 10 years, we will see more of our homes coming from modular off site construction. The perennial issue in most discussions and debates on the quantity of new build homes appears as early as the planning process stage, which tends to be slow and complex. There is conflict between a developer maximising his profit, and the need for social housing and subjective perspectives of councillors and their constituencies. Trying to get consensus on the location of what should be built is challenging, expensive and inefficient. Cuts in local authorities has had a knock-on impact to planning departments, with many house builders stating that there is now a shortage of planners able to meet the needs of the departments and local authorities. So for the Millenial, finding their dream home and starting their domestic idyll is challenging enough, let alone when one understands how the housing market works to meet the needs of the consumer and the developer alike. If we can create the quantity of homes needed, then there should be benefit for all, but that is a challenge with so many conflicting views, perspectives and demands.

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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 A 

What other costs do I need to consider when buying a property?

The cost of your monthly mortgage repayments can often become your main focus when buying a property. However, there are still numerous other outgoings that you’ll need to consider. You will need to think about mortgage arrangement fees, conveyancing fees, council tax, bills, service charge and ground rent (for leasehold properties), buildings and contents insurance and any outstanding loans or unpaid credit card bills. Stamp Duty charges and the cost of moving (removals, etc.) should also be taken into account. You might need to put belongings in storage for a period of time, which can be costly. You will also need to allow for the cost of a property survey. In most cases, we would advise people to have a HomeBuyer Report as a minimum. Some lenders will offer a free basic property valuation purely for mortgage purposes as part of the mortgage application process, but you should consider getting a more thorough survey to make sure you know what you are buying. It is important to factor in any changes to your monthly expenditure that will happen as a result of your move. For example, will your travel expenses change? Finally, you must be mindful of the terms of the lease if you are buying a leasehold property. There has been much written in the press recently about leasehold properties and how leases can often have punitive ground rent and service charges written in. In some cases these costs have increased considerably

David Blake has more than nine years of experience in the financial services industry and prides himself on helping first time buyers get onto the property ladder. In his current role at Which? Mortgage Advisers, David (along with the entire team) provides independent, impartial advice and searches thousands of mortgage deals, to help buyers find the deal that is right for them.

The benefit of an interest-only mortgage is that the monthly payments you make will be significantly lower than a repayment mortgage. However, interest-only mortgages are much less popular now than they used to be. Despite the benefits, they can cause financial uncertainty towards the ends of the term.

Q A 

How long should my mortgage be?

and put the owners of the lease in a difficult position. I would advise anyone who is thinking about buying a leasehold property to make sure the terms of the lease are discussed in full with your solicitor before entering into a contract.

Q A 

What are interest-only mortgages? Should I take one?

An interest-only mortgage is where you only repay the interest on the loan each month, rather than repaying the money you borrowed. This means at the end of the mortgage term you still owe the full amount that you originally borrowed, so you will need to ensure you have a way of paying off the entire mortgage all in one go at the end.

Mortgages are generally between 15 and 35 years. The longer the term, the cheaper your monthly repayments and the more you might be able to borrow. However, the longer the term, the more interest you will pay over the duration of the loan. It can be tempting to take a longer term mortgage (35-40 years) to shrink your monthly repayments, but this will increase the amount of interest you pay and the amount of time it will take you to pay off the mortgage. There is no ‘correct’ mortgage length. A mortgage term should be right for you, given your individual circumstances. Therefore it’s sensible to seek advice from an impartial, independent mortgage adviser who will be able to make a recommendation based on your current circumstances. For further help and advice from Which? Mortgage Advisers, please visit ftbmortgages, or call 0808 159 4852

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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 and you may see your question answered in the next issue.

Victim of fraud I’m currently in the process of buying my first home and have been a victim of fraud. I’m worried it will affect my mortgage application as they used my details to apply for several payday loans. Obviously, my bank has been informed, but I’m concerned that when I apply for credit, my application will be refused. Do I need to inform other lenders that my ID has been used? William Goss It is possible that when fraudulent activity took place, it may have damaged your credit history and could affect the successs of your mortgage application or the deal you’re offered. Informing your bank is a very sensible first step, but you should also obtain copies of your credit reports from each of the three credit reference agencies. This will give you a better idea of the extent of the fraud and what has been recorded by the bank and by your other lenders. If you find any suspicious information on your credit report, then you need to contact one of the credit reference agencies to get this investigated and removed. If you wish to contact Experian, simply call us and our specialist Victims of Fraud team will be happy to help. We will help you go through your credit report to check for other signs of fraud, liaise with any additional lenders affected and, if further fraud is likely, help you add security features to your report to safeguard your details. We will also alert the other two main agencies for you. In the meantime, it could be wise to hold back on your mortgage application until any credit report issues have been resolved. An accurate and up-to-date credit report is essential for any mortgage application as you don’t want any unexpected surprises along the way.

Zero-hours contract I have been on a zero-hours contract for the last eight months, and although I have worked regularly, the amounts

I have earned have varied massively. I’m about to start a full-time job and am looking to buy my first home. My parents have offered to pay the deposit, but I’m worried that my employment history will affect my chance of getting a mortgage. Do you have any advice? Rosie Netherfield Congratulations on your full-time employment, you must be very pleased that you’re now getting a regular income to support your mortgage application. It’s handy to know that as part of the lender’s mortgage assessment, they will check your credit report to see your borrowing track record over the past six years, plus other relevant public records such as court judgments and insolvencies. Your income is not part of your credit report, but will be used as part of the overall assessment. Mortgage affordability rules mean lenders are required to ensure you can afford repayments both now, and also if the interest rates were to rise in the future, so your income and outgoings are likely to be reviewed with a fine-tooth comb. As you have only recently moved to a fulltime role, your time working on a zero-hour contract may be taken into consideration as well. Check with a mortgage adviser, or directly with a lender, to see whether they will require any documentation to prove your income. It’s worth knowing in advance that you may be asked to provide this. Spending some time understanding what lenders will be looking for and how you can improve the picture your credit report paints of your financial situation can really pay dividends. You can get your Statutory Report for just £2 on experian. This is a one-off credit report that shows your credit history.

Debt management A few years ago, I found myself in some serious financial difficulties and had to negotiate a solution with my creditors. I have now paid off everything I owed and have even managed to build up some savings to put towards my first

home. I was wondering, however, if my previous debt management plan will show up on my credit report and affect my application for a mortgage? Gareth Davies Well done on clearing off your debts, Gareth. It must be a great feeling having transformed your finances for the better, and being on track to put a deposit down on your first home. Unmanageable debt can have a negative effect on your credit score and could impact your chances of getting a mortgage, so it’s great to hear that you have addressed your financial difficulties. As you already know, a debt management plan (DMP) is an informal arrangement between a borrower and their creditors to repay outstanding debt. You might be surprised to learn that DMPs aren’t themselves added to credit reports, instead a DMP flag is added to any accounts that are registered on your report and included in your repayment plan. For many people that have a DMP, regaining control of their finances will be their top priority, so try not to worry too much about your credit score during this time. Once your DMP ends, the associated accounts will either be marked as closed or returned to good order if you keep them open. Furthermore, as time passes, any previous missed payments may be overshadowed by more recent positive information, and after six years, any remaining adverse information should drop off your report altogether. Should you find that you have adverse credit information on your credit report, you might want to consider adding a Notice of Correction in order to give some background on why it’s there. In this, you could stress that you took responsible action to clear your past debts through a DMP and, if it would help, you could also explain how or why you got into financial difficulty in the first place. You can check out our Mortgage Application Guide, for more useful tips consumer/guides/mortgage-application.html

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Slow motion EXPERT COMMENT House prices have flattened over recent months. Overall, prices in the three months to June were marginally lower than in the preceding three months. The annual rate of growth has fallen to 2.6%; the lowest rate since May 2013. Although employment levels continue to rise, household finances face increasing pressure

We have become accustomed to the inexorable and meteoric rise of house prices, but statistics suggest first time buyers might be able to relax just a little, says Kay Hill

as consumer prices grow faster than wages. This, combined with the new stamp duty on buy-to-let and second homes in 2016, appears to have weakened housing demand in recent months. Although the number of first time buyers grew at a slower rate in the first half of the year compared to 2016 the levels remain healthy and the market is achieving record average house prices for first time buyers. For the third time in four years, the numbers of people getting on the housing ladder have exceeded 150,000 – a level of momentum not seen since before the financial crisis. High levels of employment, low mortgage rates and government schemes such as Help to Buy have also helped these numbers remain robust, as first time buyers continue to form a fundamental part of the UK housing market.

Martin Ellis Housing Economist, Halifax

The most recent house price figures from the Rightmove Price Index show that across the country, prices rose by 2.8% during the whole year and, in the month from June to July 2017, by just 0.1%. Meanwhile, the Land Registry House Price Index in the year up to May showed an increase of 4.7% compared with 5.3% the previous year, a significant slowdown, while figures from the Halifax House Price Index show that housing gained in price by just 2.6% over the year. With inflation running at 2.7%, these figures suggest that in real terms, homes may be barely increasing in price at all. In some cases, prices are actually going down, which is great news for anyone who is saving for a deposit. The Rightmove report notes that while the annual figures show that the type of homes bought by first time buyers rose by slightly more than the average, at 3.8%, they decreased by a massive 1.7% from June to July, meaning the average first time buyer property dropped from £199,943 to £196,450, a saving of nearly £3,500. Pricing is also changing at dramatically different rates around the country, according to Rightmove. In Greater London, where the average house price is a terrifying £641,338, prices over the year have increased by just 0.9% - a decrease in real terms. Other below-inflation annual increases have been seen in the south east, where prices have increased by 2.4% to an average of £422,981, in the north west, where a

2.4% increase has taken the average to a more modest £186,999, and in Wales (2.5%/£185,382) and the north east (1.6%/£150,012). The largest annual increases have been seen in the West Midlands (6.1%/£ 218,468), East Midlands (4.9% /£207,378) and Yorkshire & Humberside (4.1% /£181,856). In central London, while average prices for first time buyer properties have risen across the year by 1.5% up to £481,967, this figure masks some big differences. While more expensive areas such as Kensington, Richmond, Fulham and Islington have seen prices drop across the year by up to 5%, prices have continued to rocket in cheaper areas, with prices in Newham rising by 8.5% and in Bexley by 5%. Miles Shipside, director at Rightmove, noted, “With a growing population, property in the cheaper boroughs is always going to be in demand if it can fit into the affordability bracket of enough working Londoners. This is helping to drive demand and prices in the cheaper London boroughs, and conversely lower levels of activity are driving price falls in the more expensive ones.” Figures from the Halifax House Price Index show a similar trend. While overall, the report suggests that housing gained in price by 2.6% over the year, London prices increased by just 0.8% compared with 13.7% the previous year. It records Scotland as having the biggest drop in prices, with homes reducing in price on

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Property website Zoopla suggests you look to these areas for the most affordable homes, taking into account both prices and local wages: 1. Copeland, Cumbria Average house price: £114,011 Average annual wage: £37,492 On sale now: Two bed terraced cottage in Whitehaven, £47,000; modern two bed flat, £66,000 2. Blaenau Gwent, south Wales Average house price: £79,715 Average annual wage: £19,968 On sale now: Modern two bed terrace in Abertillery, £22,500; detached one bed cottage in need of renovation, £39,950 3. Burnley, Lancashire Average house price: £75,455 Average annual wage: £18,824 On sale now: Two bed terrace in need of renovation, £5,000; new studio flat, £49,995 4. North Lanarkshire Average house price: £97,875 Average annual wage: £21,684 On sale now: Modern two bed flat in Motherwell, £15,000; three bed end terrace in Shotts, £47,500 5. County Durham Average house price: £96,883 Average annual wage: £21,008 On sale now: Two bed end terrace in Peterlee, £14,450; modern two bed flat in Haswell, £20,000

average by 4.2% across the year, and the East Midlands growing most rapidly with an annual price increase of 9.7%. The Land Registry price index also recorded some big drops – homes in the Outer Hebrides (OK, not much use for commuting to Liverpool Street!) dropped by 18%, the Shetlands by 14.7% and Aberdeen by 7.8%. What does all this mean for buyers? Well if you’re looking to buy in one of the regions that’s still experiencing rapid price increases– the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside and the cheaper boroughs in London in particular, then it pays to get on the property ladder as soon as possible, especially as wages are increasing at a slower rate than inflation; take a look at Tips to Keep it Cheap for some pointers. If you’re flexible about location or have already decided to buy in Scotland, Wales or one of the areas with below inflationary rises then it might be worth concentrating for a few months on building a larger deposit – not only will it make your mortgage rate cheaper, but it will also protect you against negative equity should the market dip further in those areas.

TIPS TO KEEP IT CHEAP  Homes close to a good supermarket are always dearer. According to Lloyds Bank, being close to a Waitrose puts £36,480 on house prices, proximity to M&S adds £29,992 and even being a stone’s throw away from a humble Asda gives prices a £4,117 boost. Avoid the ‘Waitrose effect’ by buying at the other end of town and using a home delivery service – to put it into perspective, you could have a Waitrose order delivered once a week for the next 234 years before it would be cheaper to buy close to the store!  A study by the Department for Education earlier this year found that being close to a good primary school puts house prices up by £18,600 and being near a good secondary school puts £15,800 onto prices. In London it’s even worse, with increased costs of up to £38,800 to be near one of the best schools. Of course, if you have small children it’s an essential consideration, but if children are a long way off or not on the agenda, then it pays to stay well away from that Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ establishment.  Of course, we all want to move into a perfectly decorated show home, but buying an older property, especially one that isn’t pretty, could help you get on the property ladder faster. Use your imagination to look past overgrown gardens, peeling paint and doggy smells – these can knock thousands off the price and take little more than a couple of weekends of hard work and a builder’s tub of white emulsion to put right. Be wary, however, of ancient boilers and gappy windows as these will be expensive to fix and will cost you money in heating bills in the meantime.  Finally, think counter-intuitively and do your research. Just as fully comprehensive car insurance can sometimes be cheaper than third party, don’t just assume that flats will always be a cheaper option. Depending on housing supply, neat little terraced houses with gardens can sometimes be considerably cheaper than apartments. Equally, whether new or old homes are dearer varies immensely across regions, so don’t limit your search to just one type of home.


A year on from the shock referendum result, low unemployment, low interest rates, strong demand and a historic undersupply of homes are mitigating any wobbles in confidence. But despite the number of sold boards outside people’s properties, especially as you go further north, the market remains very price sensitive, as some properties hit their price ceiling. Buyers, many of whom are sellers too, will struggle to afford to pay much more. Wage growth is muted, there are signs that consumer credit is tightening, and in addition, at some point, there will be the first rise in mortgage interest rates for a decade or more, which will come as a shock to buyers who have either forgotten or have never experienced interest rates going up as well as down. We can see now that price rises are muted despite high housing demand, indicating we have left the stage of the cycle where price rises exceed the rate of inflation. High demand will continue to underpin prices, but we are seeing stretched affordability limiting the pace of rises, especially in the south of the country.

Miles Shipside Director and Housing Market Analyst, Rightmove

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The way forward With a new brand scheme unveiled to help local authorities tackle the housing shortage, will this government initiative mean more affordable new homes for first time buyers? THE EXTENT OF THE PROBLEM IN LONDON The lack of affordable homes for first time buyers, especially in the south and in the UK’s most sought after cities, shows little signs of improvement, despite several government inspired measures to tackle the shortage. Last year, just over 160,000 homes were built, almost 90,000 less than the 250,000 homes a year it is estimated the country needs in order to meet the nation’s housing shortage, but more worryingly, even when they are built can first time buyers actually afford them?

FOREIGN INVESTMENT STOPS FIRST TIME BUYERS GETTING ON THE LADDER Recent research by online state agent blamed incoming foreign investment in the UK as one factor which is widening the price gap for London’s first time buyers and pushing average new build prices out of reach. Using the latest data from the Land Registry, eMoov looked at the gap between the average first time buyer house price in London and the average for a London new build since 2012 and found that, not only has there been a consistently


The London Borough of Brent has established a council owned property acquisition company to buy and let private rented sector properties at affordable rent levels, making housing homeless families possible. The initial target is to buy 300 family-sized homes over two years. Brighton and Hove City Council is combining the redevelopment of Housing Revenue Account assets with providing temporary accommodation at a lower cost. Over five years, 499 refurbished properties have now been leased. The London Borough of Lewisham has developed the Ladywell Development as a way of avoiding out-of-area placements. This innovative modular scheme has delivered 24 residential units, with rents set by local housing allowance levels, alongside eight commercial units that have enabled the borough to create an environment that not only promotes wellbeing, but also the prospect of employment and upskilling. Teignbridge District Council converted a town centre building into a homelessness hub within 22 months of receiving planning permission, and the project is expected to pay for itself within a mere12 years.


increasing deficit of 11% -13% between 2012 and 2016, but, so far this year, the gap has already risen to over 18%. Despite recent changes in Stamp Duty for buy-to-let and second homes, alongside Britain’s decision to leave the EU, a report by York University for the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, found that foreign investors continue to snap up thousands of new build homes suitable for first time buyers. Boroughs with the highest percentage of foreign buyers include; Westminster, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich, with between 9% and 11% of all London homes sold overseas. Kensington and Chelsea (8.4%), Southwark (8.4%), Hackney (7.4%), Lewisham (6.2%), Hammersmith and Fulham (4.2%) and Newham (3.7%), also ranked in the top 10.

THE GAP WIDENS The study showed that over 50% of London properties sold abroad were also under the £500,000 mark. In 2012, the average London first time buyer paid £264,682 for existing houses, but the price of an average London new build was already over £30,000 more than this at £297,587 – a difference of 11.06%. Since then, as London’s market has continued to rise, this gap grew, stretching to 11.89% in 2013, 12.34% on 2014, 12.59% in 2015 and 12.98% in 2016. Fears are that the recent influx of foreign interest has widened the gap beyond reach, as, so far in 2017, the difference between the

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MARKET EXPERT COMMENT It’s clear that new build affordability has been an issue for first time L E GA L & G E N E R A L PA RT N E R W I T H H O U S I N G A S S O C I AT I O N R H P TO BUILD MODULAR HOUSING

buyers over the last five years, but this gap seems to have expanded over 2017. The issue stems from buyers utilising a property as a

Legal & General recently announced the launch of RHP’s new modular housing product LaunchPod, which is the first home to be made in their revolutionary modular factory in Sherburn, near Leeds. The prototype measures 26sqm and visitors can see the innovative housing solution for themselves at RHP’s Teddington HQ. At the launch event, visitors were impressed with the clever use of space from architects Wimshurst Pelleriti, with dedicated areas for cooking, eating, sleeping and work, as well as room to store essentials and to have visitors. RHP intend using the homes to break into the intermediate market, helping the growing group of people who don’t qualify for social housing but are priced out of the private market. RHP has identified several sites where they are confident they can deliver their modular homes and are already working up full planning applications. This means that good quality housing can be brought to a site within weeks, rather than years. The homes are delivered on site with walls, roof, wall coverings, plumbing and wiring already in place and the process for making them ‘ready to live in’ is shorter, simpler and needs less skilled tradespeople on site, so it’s quicker. The factory has the capacity to build thousands of homes each year.

second home or a buy-to-let in an already cut-throat rental market, while aspirational buyers remain in the doldrums of said rental market, unable to make that first step on to the ladder as a result.

Russell Quirk CEO of

EXPERT COMMENT There’s no substitute for central government giving local authorities the tools they need to invest in the homes, of all type and tenure, which their communities desperately need. Councils are working hard

affordability of a London first time buyer purchasing an existing house and the capital’s new build properties has risen to a whopping 18.21%. Concern is that even in London’s cheaper boroughs such as Tower Hamlets, prices are now beyond the reach of most first time buyers.

HOUSING ADVISERS PROGRAMME Against this worrying picture, in the summer, the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 350 councils across the UK, unveiled its Housing Advisers Programme, a new scheme to help councils tackle local housing challenges. The idea is to fund local experts to see if there are any specific projects that could result in new homes, cut homelessness, or that could help councils generate savings. The initiative is intended to help councils come up with innovative ideas to meet local needs against a backdrop of spiralling house prices, expensive and unstable rents, and more local residents priced out of owning a home of their own.   


The LGA recently also released a report, Housing our Homeless Households, looking at the increase of homelessness and how much it is costing councils. Latest figures

show that councils are currently providing temporary housing for 120,540 children and their families, a net increase of 32,650 (37%) since the second quarter of 2014, an average of 906 extra children every month. The organisation warns that temporary accommodation often presents serious challenges for families – from affecting parents’ employment and health to children’s ability to focus on school studies and form friendships.

to tackle homelessness, with some truly innovative work around the country – and we now need the government to support this local effort by allowing councils to invest in building genuinely affordable homes, while taking steps to adapt welfare reforms that ensure housing remains affordable for low-income families. Martin Tett

INNOVATIVE MEASURES TO CUT HOMELESSNESS The LGA said the current situation is now unsustainable. The net cost of providing temporary accommodation has tripled in the last three years, as the extra demand increases pressure on local government, who face a £5.8 billion gap in funding by 2020. The report explained the lengths that councils are going to in order to tackle homelessness in their area. Examples include: innovative modular housing; dynamic purchasing systems and private rented sector offers. But the LGA said councils need to be able to build more genuinely affordable homes and provide the support that reduces the risk of homelessness in the first place. This means councils being able to borrow to build and to keep 100% of the receipts of any home they sell in order to reinvest in new and existing housing, which current government rules don’t allow.

LGA Housing spokesman

EXPERT COMMENT L&G has a long heritage in providing housing in the UK and sees modular construction as a natural evolution and extension of its position in this market. Modular construction is set to revolutionise the house building sector bringing new materials along with methods and processes used in industries, such as car-making, to raise productivity and help to address the UK’s chronic shortfall of new homes. Rosie Toogood Chief Executive of L&G Modular

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


Heather Adams Senior Solicitor, Myerson Solicitors

Emily Gilchrist Sales Manager, Taylor Wimpey East London

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


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:

Legal jargon

Q A 

I’m excited about buying my first property but a little confused by the legal jargon I keep hearing. Please explain the difference between exchange and completion and tell me when I should pay my deposit. Kelly Higgins, Manchester All the legal jargon can be daunting when you are taking your first steps on to the property ladder. In simple terms, Exchange means the exchange of contracts, which is when the transaction becomes legally binding. Prior to exchange of contracts, either you or the seller can withdraw from the transaction. When you are both ready to commit to the transaction, you will inform your solicitors and formalise the agreement by signing the contract. Completion is the date that has been agreed in the contract that states when the title to the property is transferred from the seller to you and you take possession of the property, making it officially your home. You won’t need to go to your solicitor’s office to exchange and complete, as this tends to take place between your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor on the telephone. On the day of completion, funds are transferred electronically between the solicitors and phone calls are made to confirm completion has taken place. Regarding your deposit, you will need to pay this at exchange of contracts. This means that you do not have to pay the deposit at the outset. When the transaction is near to exchange you will be told that the deposit needs to be paid to enable exchange of contracts to take place. The deposit can be paid by bank transfer (CHAPS or BACS) or by cheque. Every transaction is different as there are many factors that can affect the speed at which the transaction proceeds. For instance, whether there is a chain involved; the stage the rest of the chain is at; the time it takes for the mortgage valuation to be carried out and the mortgage offer being issued; the amount of time it takes for search results to be received. Other external factors could include someone in the chain going on holiday or bereavements/illness in families. Good luck on your exciting journey! Heather Adams

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I am a potential first time buyer, and I’m looking into shared ownership, as I don’t currently have a large enough deposit saved to buy on the open market. Over the coming years, I am hoping to increase my salary – meaning I may be able to afford more in the future. I’ve heard of something called staircasing, but I don’t know much about it – could you tell me more? Nigel Stevens, Harlow Shared ownership sounds like it would be the perfect option for you. The scheme can help to get you on to the housing ladder, allowing you to buy as much of the property as you can afford, without having to stretch yourself too much financially.  Initially, you purchase a share in a property – usually at least 25% - renting the unowned share from a housing association like Origin Housing. Once you’ve moved into your home, you have the option to

purchase additional shares in the home, in at least 10% increments, through a process called staircasing – eventually, you can own 100% of the property. As you buy more shares, the amount of rent you pay to the housing association will decrease, and if you staircase fully, you won’t pay any rent at all. The good news is, there are a whole plethora of shared ownership homes available across the UK – many of them brand new. If you’d like to find out more, why not take a look at our website

100% 75%

Simon Scott


50% 25%

Family homes


I’m a first time buyer looking to get more for my money outside central London, but still close enough to commute into the city. Ideally, I’d like to offset moving out of the city by jumping ahead and purchasing a family-sized property. Is this possible? Leah Medows, Hackney


There’s no harm in first time buyers forward planning; in fact, current market conditions make purchasing a ‘familyproof’ home quite achievable. Firstly, I’d suggest taking advantage of the governmentbacked Help to Buy scheme, which is only available on new build properties. Eligible first time buyers can access a government loan for up to 20% of their new home’s full price, so they only need a 75% loan-to-value mortgage and a 5% deposit. This means you can choose from a wider range of more competitive mortgage

deals, keeping your monthly repayments to a minimum, while a low deposit gives you the freedom to move now, rather than spending many more years saving for a large down payment. It’s well worth looking around where new build prices compare favourably. If you were to consider Essex, for example, the prices for spacious three bedroom houses at Taylor Wimpey’s Maynard Park development in Great Dunmow start at £339,995 (under Help to Buy, that’s a mortgage of £254,996 and a deposit of £17,000*) which

compares favourably to the average asking price for a three bedroom property in that area – currently £407,881.** Similarly, at Whitmore Park in Colchester, Essex, four and five bedroom homes are on sale from £394,995 and £449,995 respectively, compared to the average asking prices in that postcode area of £410,520 and £505,368** for similar sized properties. Trains from both Stansted Airport and Colchester stations to central London take a mere 50 minutes. Other benefits of new build properties include lower fuel

bills thanks to their modern energy-efficient features, and not needing to fork out on DIY or stressful repair jobs. Alternatively, if you do love the lifestyle opportunities on offer in London, you could purchase a four bedroom home priced at £560,000 with Help to Buy at Taylor Wimpey’s New North Square development in Hainault, and be just a few minutes’ walk from the Central line on the London Underground. Properties at this development are also available under Help to Buy London, which enables eligible buyers to secure a government loan for up to 40% of the value of their new home. I wish you the best of luck with your search. Emily Gilchrist * Figures based on a 75% loan-to-value mortgage and a 5% deposit for the three bedroom ‘Daxford’ (plot 15), priced at £349,995, under Help to Buy. Eligibility criteria apply and full details are available from the Sales Executive. ** Figures from independent property website

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


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 122.






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.

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).


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.


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’.



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 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.


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

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



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.


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 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

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.



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


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


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


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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 or 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.


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, 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

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.


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


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.



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

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uying process


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.


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.


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.


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.

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).


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.


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.


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


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



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


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.




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.


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.



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.


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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What can you expect as a first time buyer? Alasdair Muir, Senior Solicitor and Head of Affordable Home Ownership at Prince Evans Solicitors explains the legal process in 10 easy steps Sort your finances You’ll see plenty of articles in First Time Buyer magazine on sorting your finances in advance: getting your credit score checked; saving for a deposit; and what fees like Stamp Duty or Land Registry mean. Before you start your search, it’s a good idea to have a think about these things and do some research so you are as well informed as you can be. Find a property and reserve it through an estate agent / sales team When you have got your finances ready - find a property through an estate agent or new build sales team and make your


reservation. You’ll then pay a reservation deposit. See more information on deposits in the FAQs box on the next page. At this stage you might want to meet with a financial advisor or mortgage broker to discuss your options. Instruct a solicitor If you’re buying a new build property, the sales team will have preferred solicitors that they have worked with for years and will know the site. However, it’s always worth shopping around to get quotes from a range of solicitors to ensure you’re getting good value for money.

Your solicitor reviews the title The seller of your new home owns the property and must prove this. Previously, they would have done this by way of old original title deeds, however, now, most properties are registered with HM Land Registry. The seller’s solicitor will provide your solicitor with evidence of this. Your solicitor will review this title and check it for any issues. Your solicitor commissions searches Your solicitor will undertake searches to protect you (and your mortgage lender). These will show if the property has had any problems with planning or building

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BUYERS’ GUIDE regulations, if the roads around it are maintained by the local council or someone else, or if historically, the land has had any negative uses (say, if it was once the site of a petrol station or a dry cleaners). Your mortgage offer is sorted and your solicitor checks it Your mortgage offer comes in two parts. One part is sent to you and the second part is sent directly to your solicitor. This is because your solicitor acts for both you and your mortgage lender and has to complete a form confirming there is nothing wrong with the property and that it represents good security for your mortgage lender. You pay your deposit Your solicitor will now ‘report to you’. This means everything you’ve had up until now, title, searches, mortgage, etc will be sent to you for signing, along with a report on the title. This summarises their investigation for you and should assist in your understanding of the legal background to your dream home. Read this carefully and if you have any questions, ask your solicitor - it’s what they’re there for. There are no stupid questions and nothing they haven’t been asked before. Exchange (legally binding) takes place Once your solicitor has your signed contract, your deposit money, and knows the date you and the seller have agreed as your moving date, they can exchange. This is a quick phone call between your solicitor and the seller’s solicitors and makes the contract completion date legally binding. Your solicitor will need about a week between exchange and completion to set everything up, giving you time to pack! Completion (moving day) Your solicitor gets the remainder of the money from you and your mortgage lender, and sends it to your seller’s solicitors. Upon receipt, you have legally completed and can collect the keys to your new home. Registering with the Land Registry Your solicitor will need to make sure that you are the registered owner, and that your mortgage lender is the registered mortgage lender for your new home. This will take them a few weeks and is completely normal, so don’t panic. You can still move in and enjoy your new home while this happens in the background. (If you’re buying a new build property, HM Land Registry take several months to register your new lease or freehold ownership, so allow longer for this to happen). Your solicitor will pay any Land Registry fees and Stamp Duty for you.


Why do I even need a solicitor? Your mortgage lender is going to be parting with a lot of money and will want this to be sent to a solicitors firm. This is because the solicitor will be acting for both you and your mortgage lender. They will also want the monies sent to a lawyer who will then register the mortgage against the property. Do I need a mortgage broker or can I arrange my own? You don’t need a mortgage broker and can go directly to a bank or building society, however, brokers sometimes have access to exclusive products which could save you money in the long run. I’m being sold extra insurance - do I need it? If you are buying a freehold property, you will need to arrange your own buildings insurance before exchange. Once you’ve exchanged you must buy the property - even if it burns down or floods - so you’ll want your own insurance to fall back on. You may be offered additional insurance, such as mortgage payment protection, or contents insurance, and it is entirely up to for you as to whether you take this out, as you’re not obliged to. What is the difference between leasehold and freehold? A freehold property is one where you own the property and the land it is built on. With a leasehold property there is a lease in place, and agreements with the other leaseholders giving you rights, responsibilities and obligations over the specific property apply. Shared ownership is always leasehold, so you have a relationship with the housing association. Why am I paying Stamp Duty? What’s my Land Registry fee going to be? Stamp Duty is a land tax payable on all transactions over £125k. If you are buying a new shared ownership lease you may have to pay Stamp Duty, even if your purchase is less than £125k, as the rental amount of your lease may trigger some Stamp Duty Land Tax. Your Land Registry fee is based on the value of your property - your solicitor should put this in their initial quotation, but if they haven’t, you can ask them for this information at any time - it’s easy to work out. Reservation deposits paid to agents – is this legal? This is now the norm with new build properties, but read the small print, which will state on what basis you will get the reservation fee back. If you can’t proceed for reasons outside of your control (say you’re financially stable but then suddenly are made redundant, resulting in your mortgage being withdrawn) then you may be due a refund. Read the small print and understand what the conditions are before signing. Solicitor / Licensed Conveyancer / Legal Executive - what’s the difference? All three are types of lawyers. All three pass strict exams. All three are regulated and have codes of ethical conduct they must abide by (such as keeping your information confidential, always acting in your best interests, and not acting where there could be a conflict between your interests and someone else’s). All three must be skilled to undertake the work they are doing for you. Be careful if your representative is described as a case executive or case manager, as this is not a formally recognised legal qualification.

Prince Evans Solicitors LLP is a leading law firm combining the best of City of London legal skills with an efficient, friendly service with competitive charges. With a wealth of experience, efficiency, value for money, and being a top legal 500 firm, we are renowned for our outstanding customer service skills with 5 star online ratings, team of experts, extensive verified list of satisfied client testimonials, and decades of experience in affordable homeownership. Please contact Prince Evans Solicitors and ask for Niki Sims on 020 8567 3477. Prince Evans Solicitors LLP, Craven House, 40-44 Uxbridge Road, Ealing, London W5 2BS or visit our website

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HELP TO BUY NORTH WEST Tel: 0300 790 0570 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




HELP TO BUY MIDLANDS Tel: 0345 850 2050

Tel: 03333 214044


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



5 4









Tel: 0800 456 1188 1) 2) 3) 4)

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





5 7

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


1 9



1) 2) 3) 4)


6 4


4 2





3 2







HELP TO BUY LONDON Tel: 0300 500 0996 1) London

Map supplied by Help to Buy South


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Help to Buy London

guarantee, please contact the participating lenders

Tel: 0300 5000 996

Tel: 0345 850 2050

0300 500 0996

directly. Shropshire Share to Buy


Staffordshire Derbyshire Nottinghamshire

Please note:

Tel: 03333 214044


Help to Buy agents administer the Help to Buy: equity


loan scheme but not the mortgage guarantee scheme.


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


West Midlands

to purchase a home with help from the equity loan



scheme. The agents make other key decisions during



the purchase process. For the Help to Buy: mortgage







Essex Surrey Kent

Tel: 0300 790 0570

West Sussex

East Sussex

Cumbria Lancashire Merseyside


Greater Manchester Cheshire

Tel: 0300 100 0021 Cornwall Devon


South Somerset Dorset

Tel: 0113 825 6888


Northumberland Tyne & Wear

Tel: 0800 456 11 88


North Yorkshire West Yorkshire


South Yorkshire


East Riding of Yorkshire

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

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Swan Housing

Estuary Housing

Fusion Homes



020 8354 5500

0208 942 4062

0203 675 9933

0300 304 5000

Thames Valley Housing


020 3202 0263


033 3000 4000

0800 783 2159

Genesis Homes


Origin Housing 0300 323 0325

LONDON Catalyst Housing

Family Mosaic


Wandle Housing


020 7089 1315

0303 123 1890

Home Group

Paradigm Housing

0300 2000 116

0345 141 4663

0845 337 4877 0300 456 2099 East Thames

Flagship Homes


Hyde New Homes


Accent Group

0345 606 1221

020 7021 4842

Islington and Shoreditch

Places for People

01603 255 444

0345 678 0555 0300 303 7333

Guinness Partnership

020 8607 0550

LienViet Housing

Aster Group

Estuary Housing


01772 667049


020 7226 3753

01380 735 480 Sanctuary London sanctuary-homeownership.

Chelmer Housing




0800 916 1444

0300 100 0309

0300 304 5000

0300 555 0500 Site Sales

0800 783 2159 London and Quadrant

CHS Group

Family Mosaic

0208 502 5758

0300 456 9997

0300 111 3555 Shepherd’s Bush Housing

020 7089 1315 Metropolitan Home

Crown Simmons

Gateway Housing


020 8996 4200


020 3535 2555

020 8709 4300

01372 461 440 Southern Home Ownership

Newlon Housing Trust Genesis Homes


033 3000 4000

0800 058 2544

Guinness Partnership

Notting Hill Housing


0203 815 0000

0300 555 2171

0303 123 1890 Nu Living Hexagon

0800 819 9390

020 8778 6699

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Four issues for just

£14 Please call our subscription team on

1 issue


020 3874 1649

4 issues


6 issues £21

FTB 122-129 Directory October-November17.indd 126

(Free P&P)

(Free P&P)

(Free P&P)

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Metropolitan Home

PA Housing

Southern Home Ownership



01932 235 801

0300 555 2171

0800 783 3097

020 3535 2555 Paradigm Housing

Sovereign Housing

Home Group


0845 337 4877

0300 330 0718

0345 141 1663

0300 323 0011 Peabody


Housing Solutions Group

Nu Living

020 7021 4444

01202 319 119

0800 876 6060

0800 819 9390 Places for People

Swan Housing


Hastoe Housing Association

Aster Group

0300 123 2250

01380 735 480 Knightstone Cornerstone Housing

08458 729 729

01392 273 462 Places for People CURO

01772 667049

01225 366 000

Hyde New Homes

One Housing Group


01772 667049


0345 606 1221

0300 123 9966

0300 303 2500

0800 0421 800

Rosebery Housing

Rooftop Housing Group

01752 856 037

Knightstone Housing



Thames Valley Housing



Elim Housing

020 3202 0263

01372 814 000

0800 131 3348

020 8607 0550

01454 411 172

01934 526 000

Sanctuary Southwest

Origin Housing

Sanctuary South East


Town and Country Housing


0300 323 0325

0800 131 3348

01684 272 727

01892 501 480

01249 465 465

0845 304 1002

Severn Vale Housing

Orwell Housing

Soha Housing

London and Quadrant


Worthing Homes

Guinness Partnership

01235 515 900


0845 712 5530

0300 456 9997

01473 218 818

01903 703 108

Sovereign Housing

0300 123 1890

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Wakefield and District

0345 601 9095

0345 678 0555

Metropolitan Home

Acis Group


0345 8507 507

Westward Housing

0800 027 2057

020 3535 2555

Housing 01202 319 119


NORTH EAST Broadacres

0300 100 1011 Midland Heart

Accent Group

01609 767 900 0345 678 0555

0345 60 20 540 Accent Group

Crucible Homes

Muir Group


0345 678 0555

0114 241 3430

Arcon Housing

Places for People

0344 800 3800


Equity Housing

Erimus Housing Ltd

01772 667049

0161 214 4120

0300 123 1222 Accord

Nottingham Community

0300 111 7000

Housing Association

0300 1234 460

0300 111 1000 Acis Group

Black Country Housing

(Northern Counties)

020 3096 7730


0300 00 44 444

0300 123 1890

Guinness Partnership

0344 736 0066

Headrow Limited

(Northern Counties)

0345 602 1120

0800 678 1221 PA Housing

0121 289 3956

0845 618 5008

0300 123 1890


01768 861 400

0345 155 9029

Equity Housing

Sanctuary North

0300 1234 460

0800 781 0401

Guinness Partnership


(Northern Counties)

Places for People

020 3202 0263

L & H Homes

0300 123 1890

01772 667049

Home Group

Home Group

Places for People

0800 085 2499

0345 141 1663

0345 141 1663

01772 667049 Caldmore Accord

Leeds Federated Housing


Riverside Housing


0300 111 7000


0300 300 1505

0113 386 1000

0345 155 9029


Rooftop Group

01332 346 477

0345 601 9095

Sanctuary North

0845 618 5008

Manningham Housing

0345 141 1663

0800 781 0401


Sanctuary Midlands


0300 123 6000

0800 131 3348

01274 771 144

Friendship Care and Housing

South Staffordshire

Muir Group

Housing Association

08456 019 095

0300 123 1222

0161 610 1000

0800 085 1171

0345 141 1663


01772 667049

WM Housing Group

0300 123 1890 0300 790 6531

Latimer 0845 304 1002


Knowsley Housing Trust


Rosa Homes 0151 290 7000

Accent Group

0845 077 0027

Liverpool Housing Trust

0345 678 0555

Sanctuary North

0151 708 2421

Adactus Housing Group

0800 781 0401

Muir Group

0300 111 1133

Stonewater L & H Homes

Accent Group

01202 319 119


Irwell Valley Housing

Places for People

03448 736 290

0300 111 1000 Association

Waterloo Housing

(Northern Counties)

Association (North East)

0800 435 016

Impact Housing Tees Valley Housing Group

Two Castles Housing

01785 312000 Home Group

Your Housing Group Home Group

0800 0421 800 East Midlands Housing

Riverside Housing Eden Housing Association

0116 257 6716 Bromford Group

Regenda Homes Contour Homes

Guinness Partnership

03333 204 555

Four Housing


Derwent Living Housing

Guinness Partnership

0115 844 3447 0800 027 2057

Progress Housing Group CDS Co-operatives

0300 123 1222

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Murray Smith is the Managing Director and founder of SiteSales, which has grown into a major force in the delivery of new home sales, achieving over 1,000 sales per year. He has been a key advisor to PLC companies, registered providers, charities and local authorities on their development strategies. SiteSales employs over 60 staff operating across London and the neighbouring regions. Murray believes that integrity is at the heart of good business practice, which has been proven - as the majority of their new business continues to grow on the basis of recommendations Tell us a little about SiteSales We have been operating for over 25 years, handling all types of developments, producing everything from homes in some of London’s most sought-after locations right through to affordable homes for first time buyers. These homes are typically a mix of outright sale, shared ownership, Help to Buy and affordable rent and market rent. We work with our clients right from the beginning of the development process and feel that it is very important that our staff are educated about the entire journey, from initially acquiring the land to handing over the keys to new buyers. This means that we can assist clients at any juncture of the process. We also develop in our own right through our subsidiary Regenta, which provides high quality homes across London and the south east. “We have an excellent customer care department, which I feel is crucial in the buyer journey, both pre and post occupation. Our aim is to help each individual purchaser make the transition into their new home an easy and stressfree experience. First time buyers often have very little knowledge about the new-home buying process, so we offer a dedicated member of the team to each buyer, who will be with the first time buyer throughout the buying process. Buyers can ask us any questions; they get a real hand-holding experience, which makes their customer journey so much better.”


Can you explain what your role is? As the Managing Director, I'm quite hands-on in the general business. We're a multifaceted company so I have an excellent management team to support me. I have a handle on every job and every client - I love the detail. I am constantly challenging the team to improve things for our clients. I started as a land surveyor before getting into sales and creating relationships with various housebuilders. Eventually I set up SiteSales as I felt there was a gap in the market for a company to advise on housing developments all the way through the process. I am particularly keen to help develop people, from interns to senior management. I'm also passionate about regeneration, which I see as vital at this time. We've worked on some incredible projects that have regenerated areas with great success. Two excellent examples of this are the Stockwell Park Estate with Network Homes and the Walthamstow Stadium development, where we worked closely with L&Q. There's also the mother of all regenerations, The Athletes Village where we delivered 704 properties in 18 months, as just a couple of examples. You work with Barnado’s; can you tell us about the project? Thomas Barnardo, who was a tremendous philanthropist, created a lovely garden village in 1875 in Barkingside, with the aim of helping young girls escape from the innerLondon slums. The Victorian Cottages

where the girls were housed and nursed back to good health sat on a large development site. We worked with Barnado's to create 180 properties, which have all been sold, and we are currently working on Phase 5 which is the refurbishment of the original cottages themselves. It is a stunning scheme. (See page 90 for the full story). What advice can you give to first time buyers looking to buy a home? It is important for first time buyers to realise they can’t have everything at first purchase, so being able to compromise is crucial. Look for well-connected areas that are not as expensive as your ideal location. Good, objective, financial advice is crucial prior to the home search so you don't fall for a home that you then overstretch to buy. With prices on a plateau, this is a good time to buy and in any property-cycle, these times are rare. Everyone needs to live their life as well as simply housing themselves, so setting the budget and having a clear idea of costs (not forgetting ground rents and service charges) is crucial. Yes, it takes time to gather a deposit but once you have one, there are some great developments, many with governmentbacked subsidy schemes, so buying a home can be achieved.

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First Time Buyer – October/November 2017  
First Time Buyer – October/November 2017