The average price of homes in London has almost doubled to £600,625 since 2009 so it is not surprising that most potential house hunters believe there is limited possibility of getting on the property ladder.
One family Duncan Wallace and his wife, who have two small children, were living in rented accommodation in London for seven years before realising a dream and buying a three bedroom apartment through East Thames at Tucana Heights, East Village, Stratford in 2013.
Duncan explains, "My family and I lived in several rental properties in Camden, Belsize Park and Stratford following our move to London seven years ago. I read an article one day in the paper about East Village being a great place to live and thought how cool it would be to live in the former athletes' village. We started looking at it and originally thought we would have to rent another property there because we believed we weren't in a position to buy a place in London.
"The more I investigated and read about the options, the more I learnt about the options and discovered Shared Ownership. This really excited us. We decided to take a look at East Thames' development within the East Village. I really liked the Tucana Heights building with ample natural light, underfloor heating and good energy efficiency. The process with East Thames was very straight forward and they explained everything that was involved in buying the property.
"East Thames talked through how Shared Ownership worked and we quickly discovered we would be able to buy a three bedroom apartment. Never in a million years did we think we would be able to own a property that size in London – we thought this would be years and years away."
Duncan and his wife purchasers a 40% share of their apartment for £174,000, with rent payable on the remaining equity. The full market value of the property is £435,000.
"We have been really happy in the East Village and there is no other place in London we would rather live," continues Duncan. "This year we decided to see if we could purchase more equity in our apartment, in order for us to have more security.
"We contacted East Thames who talked us through all the options of staircasing. We worked closely with Cara who was excellent and helped us contact all the relevant parties involved. The bank agreed to lend us the additional money and it was so straightforward and within three months we owned an additional 20% of our property."
Staircasing allows a homeowner to buy further shares in the Shared Ownership property, enabling them to own a greater proportion of their home. The greater the share that is purchased, the less rent they will pay. If a purchaser is able to staircase to 100% they will become an outright owner and pay no rent. Staircasing is now becoming one of the more popular methods into home ownership and is perfect for people that cannot buy 100% of a home straightaway.
Duncan concludes, "I would highly recommend staircasing to anyone who has purchased through Shared Ownership. Our monthly payments have hardly changed and, although our rent has gone down and our mortgage payments have gone up, we know that every month we are owning more and more of our property."