First Time Buyers style a new life with Shared Ownership at Fish Island Village

Accomplishing the ideal work-life balance is something we often spend much of our lives striving to reach, and many homebuyers are now making this a top priority when it comes to choosing where they want to live[1]. First time buyers Serafina Woodward and Stefano Capelli had spent more than 15 years working and commuting in and around London and felt it was time to make a change to their lives. Deciding to make their move out of their rented property and get themselves on the property ladder – Serafina and Stefano successfully managed to buy their first home and open their own hairdressing studio at Peabody’s Fish Island Village in the vibrant east London quarter of Hackney Wick.

Serafina (33) and Stefano (31) tell us more about why they fell in love with Fish Island Village and managing to get out of their rented flat: “We had been renting a small one-bedroom flat in Hackney Downs for two years – it was an older converted building that backed onto the train station, we’d had quite a few problems with damp and mould and it was just too small. We had close friends who had already purchased at Fish Island Village around four years ago, we had been round to see them and absolutely loved their new home – that’s when we both decided we wanted to make Fish Island Village our home. We found out when the next phase of Shared Ownership apartments was launching so we made sure we were one of the first to see them! We managed to purchase a beautiful one-bedroom apartment and moved-in at the beginning of July 2020. Shortly after, we began looking for business premises so we could open our own hairdressing studio. We had previously enquired about one of the units and received a message from The Trampery who own and lease the premises to say the unit would be available from January, and we opened Maganda Hair Studio in April this year. Everything just seemed to fall into place.”

Talking about the positive change living at Fish Island Village has made to both of them, Serafina continues: “I was working in nearby Dalston for three years and Stefano had been working in Brixton over in south-east London for about seven years. He was cycling to and from work every day so it was becoming a long commute for him and he wasn’t particularly enjoying it. We had both been hairdressing in London for almost 15 years and felt that it was time to put ourselves first and see if we could find the best balance that would work better for us. Now we have the hair studio within the same development where we live, we couldn’t get any closer to work if we tried! Now we don’t have to commute we can save more money. The convenience of living so close to home when you finish work is great, more so for Stefano. We can pop home for lunch or go to the gym for an hour and it also means we get home at a reasonable hour to spend more time together too.”

Enjoying a fantastic location in the heart of Fish Island, Hackney Wick where Peabody’s new collection of Shared Ownership apartments at Monier Place is coming soon. Buyers keen to make this exciting part of east London their home can choose from a stylish selection of one, two- and three-bedroom homes and wheelchair adaptable unit each with private outdoor space. Offering spacious layouts and contemporary interiors purchasers can enjoy beautiful landscaped podium gardens, as well as some of the capital’s great green spaces on their doorstep. Living here gives access to a wide array of independent cafes, restaurants and bars, as well as innovative co-working and maker spaces on the doorstep, concierge services and a private gym for exclusive use by residents. Onsite cycle storage also makes getting around the local area hassle-free.

 Talking more about the local area and the community at Fish Island, Serafina and Stefano say: “Living and working in the same area is not only super convenient, we both really feel part of the community here. We were one of the first people to move into the building so we created a WhatsApp group that all the neighbours are part of. As you can imagine, having a hairdressing studio here means we have made lots of friends – as people walk past they give us a wave and say hello. I think living in London can often mean people are just too busy to create that sense of community and having that element of communication with people makes you feel like you belong somewhere. Fish Island really is one of a kind, it’s such a unique place where everyone makes an effort.”

Serafina continues: “There is so much to do here, sometimes we don’t seem to leave Hackney Wick! We have made friends with a lovely couple that run Barkney Wick which is a lovely little dog café where they host a dog-sitting and walking service. We have another friend that runs the DOH Bakery by Hackney Wick station. We enjoy places like The Milk Float and Barge East – they do great food! and Number 90 – we used to come here before we lived here, it’s such a great bar and serves amazing food and good music. At Here East there are some lovely coffee shops and it’s also where I go for all my beauty treatments at Aura Organics Spa. There is just so much around us! Plus, if you want green space then Victoria Park is a short walk away – perfect for walks, bike rides and picnics.”

Explaining more about their new apartment at Fish Island Village and how they used Shared Ownership, Serafina and Stefano say: “We were pretty desperate to get out of our rented place so we looked at a couple of properties in Bow which is close to Hackney Wick, but we just decided the area and properties didn’t come close to Fish Island Village. We got our heads down and saved enough for our deposit after a couple of years and now we couldn’t be happier. Our new home is much bigger and the specification of the Peabody homes is amazing! The quality of appliances in the kitchen, the finish throughout and things you often forget about like the WIFI was all ready to go – it just made moving in so effortless and easy. We have our own private balcony which is a lovely space for watching the world go by and we feel it provides us with another ‘room’ and being a new build its fresh, clean and we have had no issues at all.”

“Shared Ownership just worked with our circumstances and budget and helped us get out of rented quicker. We were paying £1,500pcm in rent for a small one-bedroom flat, now we own a 40% share in a lovely bright and spacious one-bed apartment at Fish Island Village. Taking into account our mortgage payments, the service charges and ground rent we are now paying slightly less than we were when we were renting which is great. We are definitely going to be staircasing our share to 100% as soon as we can.”

Giving their thoughts on the Shared Ownership scheme, Serafina says: “We would thoroughly recommend using Shared Ownership. The quality of home you get is so much better than you can expect when renting. Compared to other supporting schemes, Shared Ownership gives you an easier opportunity to save a smaller deposit to help you get on the ladder sooner and then you can purchase a higher share as and when you can afford to. We absolutely love it here and can’t see us moving for a long time.”

Prices for a one-bedroom apartment at Monier Place start from £130,500 for a 30% share. For more information about Monier Place at Fish Island, Hackney Wick purchasers are invited to register their interest by visiting where they will be added to the mailing list and be the first to hear about future launch dates as well as an opportunity to view the homes.