Brand new research has revealed that 86% of renters have less than a quarter of the deposit needed to buy an average first home. With average property prices in London almost double that of the rest of the country , many of the capital's would-be buyers find themselves locked out of the market.
One route out of rental is Shared Ownership, which allows buyers to purchase a property with a smaller deposit, by buying between 25% and 75% of the property, paying subsidised rent on the remainder. Residents can then increase their share at any time, all the way up to 100% and outright ownership, a system called 'staircasing', which helps buyers to move up the ladder once they secured that first crucial step.
Fed-up renter, 30-year-old Mohammed Nabil did exactly that. He used Shared Ownership from Notting Hill Genesis to get on the property ladder, purchasing a new apartment in Wapping, E1W, four years ago. The availability of Shared Ownership was crucial for Mohammed, as it allowed him to get on the property ladder without having to move away from the area of London he grew up in. Last year, he purchased an additional share in his home, and plans to use the equity he has built up, to move up the ladder again in a few years' time.
Commercial Finance Manager Mohammed explains: "I've lived in Wapping all my life, and I didn't want to move away in order to buy a home – I was born here, and my parents still live locally, plus I like the proximity to Central London and the Docklands. When Quatro, Notting Hill Genesis' development, launched in the area, it was a no-brainer."
He continues: "I made my initial purchase in 2012, when I bought a 40% share in my two bedroom apartment. The process of buying through Notting Hill Genesis' Shared Ownership scheme was really simple, they gave me contacts to all the services I needed to make my purchase run smoothly, including a mortgage broker and solicitor.
"Having lived in Wapping for so many years, I've seen the area develop and recognise the investment potential, which is one of the main reasons I decided to staircase. Last year, I bought another 20% share, so I now own 60% of the property. Again, Notting Hill Genesis made the process straightforward, helping me to find surveyors and get the apartment re-valued. The whole process took around three months, and not having to move during it was nice!"
Mohammed says: "I've been in my apartment for almost four years, and I hope to live here for a little while yet; I have a fixed rate mortgage for five years since my second purchase, after which I will consider my options, as my partner and I would like to settle down. Shared Ownership has been a great way onto the ladder, and staircasing means I will see even more equity if the property value has increased when I decide to move on, which will help me to move up the ladder elsewhere."
The homes at Quatro, where Mohammed bought his apartment, are now all sold. For those looking to get on the ladder with Shared Ownership, Notting Hill Genesis has recently launched Horizon's Tower in Poplar, a few miles East of Wapping, offering one, two and three bedroom apartments, in a new landmark development overlooking the Poplar Marina Dock. The apartments feature intelligent design and a high specification of interior fixtures and fittings; floor-to-ceiling windows reveal the full extent of London's magnificent city skyline. Residents can also benefit from their own private balcony or terrace, ideal for al fresco dining, entertaining and relaxing, as well as having access to the on-site gym, a 24-hour concierge service, cycle storage and communal children's play area.
Prices for a one bedroom apartment at Horizons Tower start at £151,000 for a 40% share of £377,500; from £205,000 for a 40% of a two-bedroom apartment priced at £512,500; and from £236,000 for a 40% of a three-bedroom apartment priced at £590,000. For more information, call 0203 815 1234, or visit: www.nottinghillhousing.org.uk/horizons