Having rented a flat in trendy east London for 12 years, Nicola Penny, 37, wasn't ready to trade in the London lifestyle in order to get on the housing ladder. She said: "Realistically on my current salary I knew that I couldn't afford to buy a home of my own in Zones 2 or 3, which are the areas of the capital I really wanted to live in." So Nicola decided to turn to shared ownership.
Within a matter of months of kicking off her house hunt, Nicola became a homeowner in Walthamstow - one of London's housing hotspots where prices have risen by around 25% in the past 12 months.
"I am quite an impulsive person and it all happened really quickly," said Nicola who works as a personal assistant for a media organisation. "Back in February a friend of mine recommended that I book a viewing at a new development in Walthamstow, called Banbury Park."
Within six months of viewing a show home, Nicola has moved into her brand new one bedroom apartment at the 250-home flagship scheme by Centra Living, part of Circle Housing.
Nicola bought a 35% share of a one bedroom flat for £123,900.00 (which has a full market value of £354,000). She said: "I really liked the look of the development and the flat was much bigger than the others I had seen."
She said: "I knew a little bit about shared ownership before buying at Banbury Park, and it became clear that if I wanted to buy a home on my own, in an area that I wanted to live, this would be the way to go."
Last year Nicola spent around nine months living with her parents in Essex and was also gifted some money, which allowed her to get together enough money for a deposit.
Nicola, who moved into her new home at the start of the summer, is settling into life at Banbury Park, "I feel totally at home. It feels like a real achievement to have place of my own. Although I would consider buying more shares in future, for now I am very happy. Being a homeowner gives you a real sense of comfort and stability. And I'd recommend shared ownership to anyone who can't afford to buy outright in an area they want to live - it gets you on to the ladder with a chance of buying more shares in the future."
Monthly outgoings (includes rent, mortgage and service change): £1079.17