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Shared Ownership is offering many house hunters the chance to buy their own home in an affordable way, but what happens if they outgrow that property?

Occupational Therapist, Ellen and her partner Chris, a charity project manager and their three children already had a two-bedroomed flat through shared ownership but as the family matured; they found themselves outgrowing the property. Ellen turned to the Southern Home Ownership for support with her next move and through the Second Steps scheme, they were able to move to a larger place and have shared ownership of their new home.

Ellen said: "In 2007, we bought a 40% share in a two-bedroomed flat. It was brilliant but with three growing children, it was a huge challenge not just to keep it tidy and looking vaguely respectable, but also to provide a suitable environment for the children growing up, to give them space to play and to have their own quiet time.

"We had a storage unit and also were keeping items at our parents and as much as we loved the area we were in, we realised we couldn't stay living in two bedrooms anymore.

"When we first moved into the flat, it was worth around £235,000 and we were lucky because the 2012 Olympics was hosted nearby which brought with it regeneration and redevelopment so the property went up significantly in value to £400,000 at the time of selling. This gave us a good chunk of equity on the share we owned.

"The process of buying a new home with Second Steps happened quite naturally and our contact at Southern Home Ownership helped us every step of the way. Our assigned Sales Consultant Nick helped us find a RICS Surveyor to value of our apartment; he also recommended a good financial adviser and a firm of solicitors who specialise in shared ownership. "Throughout the process, the team at Southern Home Ownership was always at the end of the phone and treated us with a great deal of respect and care. It was a very personal service."

Ellen added: "Our children are Sam aged 10, Tom, seven and Lucy, three. The new house has four bedrooms which is amazing as the kids can have a bedroom each. Sam the eldest, is about to go into his last year at primary school, so he'll now have some space to do homework and just have a bit of peace and quiet away from the little ones which he needs now that he's growing up.

"Tom is also happy to have his own room so he doesn't have to sleep with his brother anymore. Plus the children now have their own garden to play basketball and we have a garage to keep their bikes.

"I would definitely recommend Second Steps to anyone needing to move from their current shared ownership home and I've mentioned it to some of the neighbours already."

Ellen and her family live in a four bedroom town house in Woodford Green and moved into the property with the help of Second Steps.

Second Steps, from Southern Home Ownership, is for existing shared owners who want or need to move but are still unable to afford to buy a home outright.

The scheme allows existing shared owners in London to make their next move by supporting them to buy a house for sale on the open market on a shared ownership basis, making the initial purchase and ongoing monthly payments more affordable.

To be eligible, you must:

  • be an existing Southern Housing Group shared owner living in your property

  • live in one of the 32 London boroughs

  • have a gross household income below £90,000

  • not have any rent, service charge, or mortgage arrears

  • be unable to afford to buy a suitable next home that meets your needs

  • be at least 18 years old

Please note applications are assessed based on individual circumstances. To find out more about Second Steps, please go to