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Shared ownership getting young professional boost

Timothy Barber
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IT’S A COMMON refrain that for young professionals in London, getting a foot on the housing ladder can be nigh-on impossible. Increasingly, ambitious young workers are looking to shared ownership schemes. Originally set up by the government as a way to provide affordable homes in housing association developments to key workers like police and nurses, they are increasingly becoming a way onto the market for many first time buyers. Censeo, which handles mortgages for affordable homes provider Genesishomes, says that under 30 per cent of its shared home borrowers are now key workers, and the average age of borrowers is 29. Niki Turner, assistant director at Thames Valley Housing, a housing association with several such developments, says that young professionals are snapping houses up.

One person who made use of the scheme is Ollie Smith, a project manager for a charity. He bought his flat in a smart Wandsworth development in 2007, buying 25 per cent of the £345,000 property at a cost of £86,000. He is now looking at buying a further 25 per cent.

“My partner and I looked at some other properties in our price range and they were pretty grim,” he says. “We were getting married, and this enabled us to live in a much bigger and smarter place than we had thought we’d be able to.”

So how does it work? If you’re a first time buyer earning between £20,000 and £60,000 (either singly or as a joint income), you’re likely to be eligible to enter into a part-buy/part-rent scheme in which you purchase between 25 per cent and 75 per cent of a property (the housing association owns the rest) taking out a mortgage on the share you buy and paying rent to the housing association on the remainder.

If you bought 25 per cent of a £150,000 property at £37,500, monthly repayments including mortgage, rent and service charges can be from £683. You can buy further chunks of the property as and when you can afford it.

With interest rates looking sure to rise in the next couple of years and builders keen to sell properties that are sitting empty, shared ownership is one of the few value-for-money options for first-time buyers.

KENNETT ISLAND, READING
One and two bedroom apartments from £37,000 for a minimum 25 per cent share of £150,000 property.

Call Thames Valley Housing on 0845 35 12345 or visit www.homebuy4u.co.uk

WHARFSIDE POINT NORTH, CANARY WHARF
Live the Docklands lifestyle, with properties from £52,500 for a 25 per cent share.

Call 0845 600 4663 www.genesishomes.org.uk

WINDMILL COURT, RUISLIP
Four properties remain in this development, from £57,750 for 35 per cent share.

Call 020 8996 4767 or visit www.windmillapartments.co.uk