Emma had been renting in London for nearly eight years. She had been living in Camden in a one-bedroom flat for two years, but the price of renting for the size of property she had just didn’t seem like good value.
“I had been renting for 7 years and was looking for more affordable options as my tiny rented flat in Camden was very expensive. I have lived in a few different places around London, but Camden is definitely my favourite and it’s close to where I work so staying nearby was always the dream, but didn’t seem possible. I was starting to look at different buying options, when my friend tagged me in a post about the property on Facebook. I only knew a little bit about shared ownership but I was shocked there was such an affordable option available to me, in such a central location, so close to where I was living already.”
Wanting to find out more, Emma got in touch with Origin. She was unable to attend the sales open day, so Origin offered her a private viewing instead. “Origin were great and happily showed me round on my own, they were incredibly accommodating when I said I couldn’t make the open day which was a massive relief. I was worried I might miss out as there was obviously a lot of interest in the property.”
Emma wasn’t sure what to expect from the property, or the process, as she didn’t know much about shared ownership but said: “When I looked round, I couldn’t believe how spacious it was and that there was a private balcony. I brought my parents with me as they wanted to make sure I was making the right decision and that it wasn’t too good to be true.” When asked what convinced her it was the right option for her, she said: “It was a no brainer really. It was affordable and I’m able to have my own place. The flat is huge compared to what I was renting before, and my monthly outgoings are less.”
“I would 100% recommend Shared Ownership to anyone looking to buy. The process is really easy and as I was buying on my own, it was the only way for me to get on the property ladder in central London.”
“Getting together the deposit to get back onto the property ladder would have been virtually impossible without shared ownership.”
Emma, a Chartered Surveyor and mum to two teenagers, bought a 30% share in a 3 bedroom house at our Oakwalk development in Bushey, Hertfordshire. She comments: 'For me, the biggest challenge was finding a home I could afford in the right area. I needed to be in Hertfordshire - I have family close by in Bushey and Watford, and it was essential for me to be near to my father, who suffers from health issues and I visit most days.”
It is a common misconception that shared ownership is solely for first time buyers, in fact, the scheme is open to any eligible buyer who does not currently own a property. Emma explains:
“I had been a home owner in the past, but I had been renting for nearly 6 years; securing a mortgage wasn’t the issue, however, as a single parent, getting together the large deposit required to get back onto the property ladder would have been virtually impossible without shared ownership. The scheme has allowed me to buy my own home with a manageable deposit of just 5% of the share I purchased – a fraction of what I would need on the open market.
I knew about shared ownership through my job as a Chartered Surveyor. I registered with my local Help-to-Buy agent, and I was looking for some time before a home in the right location came up. Then I found this development, which launched with Origin Housing earlier this year.
Origin were very easy to deal with – they kept me fully informed throughout the process, and were always contactable, even when there were some unforeseen delays in the build programme. I moved in in October, and it’s extremely quiet and peaceful here – the properties are surrounded by fields, but are still really well connected, moments form the A1 but also within walking distance of Bushey. Our new home has 3 bedrooms plus a study, and is spread over 3 floors – plenty of space for our family.'
“We wanted a home that we could call ours, and shared ownership allowed us to realise that dream.”
Through shared ownership, Carmen and Joseph were able to buy a 25% share of a 3 bedroom home at our QE2 development, in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. The home is close to Hertfordshire’s QEII Hospital, set within large open spaces and idyllic surrounding woodland.
'I have always lived in Welwyn Garden City and I now work for the local council, plus my kids are settled in nearby schools, so I was really desperate to stay in the area. It was fantastic moving into a brand new home. Everything from the immaculate kitchen, the generous sized bedrooms and the large garden make it perfect for us. Origin went that bit beyond other developers to ensure the finish of the home was top quality.’
With high property prices in the area, shared ownership was the only way Carmen and her family could afford to buy in Welwyn Garden City. With only a 5% deposit required, the amount they needed to save was considerably lower than on the open market.
‘Everyday, my husband and I pinch ourselves. Compared to the old pokey place we once had, our new home is extraordinary. Only through shared ownership were we able to afford a home like this.’
Priscilla and her husband, James, both biomedical scientists from Welwyn Garden City, had been renting privately in Hertfordshire for the past six years. Pricilla comments, ‘When we looked into shared ownership, we found that the deposit required is much smaller than buying on the open market - which made it a really achievable route onto the housing ladder for us.’
The couple registered with us and viewed the 3-bedroom house at QEII-15 in July, and had moved in by Christmas! They were extremely pleased to discover their monthly costs are now lower than they were when they were renting privately.
Priscilla says, ‘We love the beautiful garden, plus the spacious living room which is great for hosting family and friends. The detailed finishes and precise specifications always attract compliments from guests, especially the kitchen units and doors. I am particularly grateful for all the storage space too, including a very handy shed for our bikes! We also get two car parking spaces, quite a rarity - and one is under a shelter, perfect for bad weather. To top it all off, the development itself has lovely community - all family people, professional and like-minded.'
She continues; ‘The service we received from the Sales team was outstanding - they were always friendly, helpful and efficient. Just six months passed between us originally showing interest to moving in, allowing us to be wonderfully settled in, in time for Christmas.’
Primary School Teacher Hannah Goose, bought a share in a one bedroom apartment at our Lavender Place development in Hitchin. She comments:
“I’m originally from Hitchin, and I was looking to buy a home of my own. I regularly drove past Lavender Place, and thought it looked like a nice place, so I looked the development up online. I found out that there were shared ownership properties available there. I didn’t really know anything about Shared Ownership, but I looked it up, and checked my eligibility, and was pleased to see I could apply! The financial advisor and the Origin Sales team were really helpful and gave me plenty of guidance, and were very quick to respond to any questions I had.
I bought off plan, and initially, it was difficult to imagine what the finished product would look like, which is quite scary when you are buying your first home! But the end result is great, and it has met my expectations. It’s now approaching the end of term, and I look forward to spending the summer holidays in my new home!”
Iraj, who works at The University of London, bought a share in a 2 bedroom apartment at The Bloc development in Enfield. He comments:
“My wife and I were looking to buy a Shared Ownership property in North London and before long, we found out about The Bloc. Between first approaching Origin Housing and getting the keys for our home, the whole process only took a month! When we first spoke to Origin, there were only one bedroom apartments available, which wasn’t enough space for us, however, as soon as a two bedroom became available, the sales team contacted us, and we got the process going.
Now that we have moved in, we love living here. When you arrive at The Bloc, you fall in love with the design straight away; it’s a very beautiful environment and it feels very safe and welcoming. Location wise, it’s good for transport, and my commute into Euston is very easy.”
Louisa and her husband bought a share in a two bedroom apartment at The Mews development in Enfield. She lives there with her husband and son.
Louisa comments: "We were living locally, staying with my husband's family in Enfield, but we really needed our own space, particularly as we have a little boy. We were looking at shared ownership schemes because the deposit needed was so much less.
What I liked most about the property is that it came with all the white goods, which would have been a big expense for us. It comes with a fridge freezer, cooker and washing machine. It even has a dishwasher so we were really happy about that because my husband Mike is usually the dishwasher!
It's really nice to know that all the property is brand new too. Another big plus is the fact that it has a balcony, as well as access to a shared garden, which we didn't see at any of the other properties we looked at.
The process was pretty straightforward, and we were always in regular contact with people at Origin, they even gave us their mobile numbers to ring. We selected our plot off plan, and Origin even let us change our minds about the plot a couple of times. The sales team were really helpful throughout."
Dayal, a chef at Koffman’s at the Berkeley Hotel, moved into a three bedroom apartment at our A1 Apartments in, Hendon. He bought a 25 percent shar, and lives in the apartment with his wife and two young sons.
Dayal comments: “I was living in Hendon, very close to the development, so had seen it being constructed. I was looking to move, but really wanted to stay in the area, so I thought I’d better go and have a look around the A1 Apartments! I was impressed with the layout of the kitchen and living room, and there are some good quality appliances in the kitchen. We love the fact that the property has a balcony, which is great for my kids.
My wife and I didn’t find the process of buying too complicated. The process was reasonably quick, and the only hold up was getting the mortgage through, but everything ran very smoothly from Origin’s side.”
Natalie, a Work Office Manager for a Barristers Chambers, purchased a share in a three bedroom shared ownership apartment at Moselle Place in Crouch End.
Natalie comments: “I had decided that I needed to get onto the property ladder, and find a nice home for myself and my two children to live in. My primary concern was to purchase in a familiar and safe location. I have lived in the local area for some time, so when I saw Moselle Place online, I knew it would suit. It was an added bonus moving into a brand new property, particularly as I have children.
I spoke to the Origin’s sales team and signed up immediately. The process was extremely straightforward, and the enthusiastic sales team were immensely helpful and supportive during the purchasing process, which I really valued as a first time buyer. Everything ran extremely smoothly and I was amazed that the whole process only took 10 weeks, from the initial sign up, to the day we moved in."
Helene, a Paralegal and student at the College of Law, and her sister, Lizzie, purchased a share in a two bedroom apartment at our Inspire development. Helene comments:
“I had read about affordable housing online and my sister and I could see that this was something we would be able to afford. We found this development online, which was just round the corner from where we were already living. The property is modern, finished to a great standard, and is in a brilliant location. Origin were very helpful in making the process run smoothly and quickly. We viewed the development in September and exchanged and completed in November!"
Francesca, an Image Coordinator for John Lewis, bought a share in a 2-bedroom apartment at our Aldenham Square development. She comments:
“I was living with my parents in Bushey and thought it was time to start looking for my own place. I had looked at other new properties in Watford and had been pretty underwhelmed to be honest. I kept passing Aldenham Square and my dad encouraged me to go and visit. When I walked in, I was so impressed, and I couldn’t believe I could actually afford it!
My apartment is a really lovely 2 bedroom duplex, with a terrace. When people walk in, they all say ‘wow, look how much space you have’! The specification is good and I work in Central London, so being right opposite Bushey Station is a real bonus. I really can’t fault my new home!”
Dessy, a midwife working for the NHS, moved in to a 2-bedroom Shared Ownership apartment at The Move in St John's Wood, with her 21 year old daughter. She comments:
'I am originally from Bulgaria, but I have been living in the UK for 14 years and I have a British passport. I never knew I could qualify for an affordable apartment! It was one of my colleagues who first mentioned Shared Ownership to me and being a local, I walked past The Move everyday whilst it was being built- and I dreamt of living here! So when I saw that there were shared ownership properties available, I knew I had to apply.
The flat is really impressive. The special heating system is really good, it’s very warm and I love the machine that shows me how much electricity I am using, it makes it really easy to watch my bills. The process, from first registering my interest to actually moving into my new apartment, it took less than 6 months.'