Affordable homes are not only available for key workers today. Earlier this year eligibility criteria was relaxed providing new opportunities of home ownership for those professionals in the private sector who, despite earning good salaries were struggling with the rise in property prices. The Local Government Association recently announced 3.98 million people of working age will be in need of affordable housing options, even if the UK hits full employment, by 20241. For one couple, Shared Ownership was the only route to market in owning their own home by the sea.
Office Services Assistant, Darren Harvey, 39, who works for a London law firm had been saving for some time in order to own his own home but with rising house prices, he did not think he would be able take that first step. After renting and living with parents in order to save for his deposit, Darren looked to Shared Ownership so that he and his girlfriend, Kelly Wager, 33 could realise their dreams of owning their own home. The pair discovered that they could buy in the location they wanted by choosing the Shared Ownership scheme at Guinness Homes' Albany Court development, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
The Shared Ownership scheme offers buyers the chance to own a share of their home and pay rent on the remaining amount. Darren knew it was crucial for Kelly, a beauty therapist, who runs her own mobile beauty company to be located in her home town of Leigh-on-Sea, close to her clients. He also wanted to be in commutable distance to his work in London.
Before the couple had even viewed a home at Albany Court they reserved their two-bedroom, ground floor apartment in July this year. Darren, who is also in the process of setting up his own Personal Training business, comments: "Kelly currently rents a one bedroom property but we wanted to settle down and get somewhere of our own together for the future. We knew that buying a house in the area would be too expensive, so finding the Guinness Homes apartments gave us good scope to getting on the property ladder."
The couple, who met in January this year are looking forward to seeing what their new home will look like once they move in, in September. They put down a deposit of over £5,000 in order to secure a 45 per cent share of the £220,000 apartment.
Albany Court is a new development of homes in the charming Essex coastal town of Leigh-on-Sea. The development consists of one and two bedroom, executive-style homes. All homes feature stylish kitchens and bathrooms, with some offering an en-suite to the master bedroom. Each apartment benefits from an allocated parking space and are neutrally decorated with a high quality specification throughout.
Darren, who will be moving from Hornchurch, continues: "I am glad that with Shared Ownership we will be investing in property, instead of throwing away money on only rent each month.
"We had a look at a few properties but were really interested in Albany Court as soon as we heard about it. The team at Guinness Homes has been great, everything is moving very quickly and working in our favour and we will definitely be looking to staircase in the future.
"This has given us a new opportunity for a new start, it was definitely the right route for us to go down. We are looking forward to putting our stamp on the place and make our own memories in a home that no one else has ever lived in before."
Kelly, who will see her monthly outgoings go down when she moves, adds: "Homes in the area are expensive so we are happy to be able to own our own property. We have not seen the home yet but often drive pass the development. I am excited and looking forward to buying new furniture and having a dishwasher!"
Leigh-on-Sea has a great range of shops, bars and restaurants with easy access to London. Shoppers can head to Broadway, Broadway West and Leigh Road for an interesting range of independent boutiques and stores as well as familiar names, with a Waitrose only one mile away.
Residents of Albany Court will have the best of both worlds. They can be at the beach in only 10 minutes by car or commute to the capital within either 45 minutes or a little over one hour from nearby Chalkwell Train Station. Road links easily accessible to Albany Court include the A13, A127 and A12. There are also regular bus services to nearby Southend-on-Sea, Benfleet, Canvey Island, Basildon, Rayleigh and Chelmsford. For flyers, London Southend Airport in only three miles away. One bedroom apartments at Albany Court start at £83,250 for a 45% share, with two bedroom apartments at from £96,750 for a 45% share. Shared Ownership is available on selected plots. For more information, please visit www.guinnesshomes.co.uk or call 0300 456 0522