The affordable homes myths
Millions of Londoners qualify to buy property through a housing association - they just don't realise it. Genesishomes have compiled a guide to explain the common myths about affordable housing, says Anthea Masey
Do they conjure up poor quality buildings with dull, out-of-date design in run-down areas? Or maybe you think you earn too much money to qualify? And anyway, what’s the point of only buying a fraction of your home?
Genesishomes have compiled a guide to explain the common myths about affordable housing, which may be stopping people from investigating what’s on offer.
Myth 1: affordable housing is poor quality with out-of-date design
Nothing could be further from the truth. The housing associations which provide affordable homes are required by law to build to strict minimum standards
and these standards are often higher than those available from private developers.
When affordable homes are provided as part of a new private development they are often indistinguishable from those selling at expensive prices on the open market. These days, housing associations put great store by good design, both interior and exterior, with stylish, architect-led developments.
At Chelsea Bridge Wharf on the Thames, between the 200 acres of Battersea Park and Battersea Power Station, award-winning architect Scott Brownrigg has designed a striking development. The site is a short walk across the river from the King’s Road and Chelsea, one of London’s most fashionable neighbourhoods, and will eventually include Battersea’s first four-star hotel.
One- and two-bedroom flats are available with prices starting from £75,000 for a 25 per cent share based on a full market value of £300,000.
For more information call 0800 883 0482 or visit www.genesishomes.org.uk/wandsworth.
Myth 2: affordable housing is only for sharers with communal kitchens and bathrooms
Not true. All affordable housing is self-contained and homes vary from studio flats suitable for one person, up to homes with four bedrooms for families with children. There are no new-build schemes where you would ever have to share your facilities with other families.
At Buckle’s Yard in Stratford, east London, one-bedroom flats are available with prices starting from £50,000 for a 25 per cent share based on a full market value of £200,000.
With a communal roof terrace there will be plenty of opportunities to socialise with your neighbours.
The development is in a quiet and secure location, moments away from Stratford Central and the site of the 2012 Olympics. Here, you will be close to the excitement of one of Europe’s largest regeneration projects with new homes, a giant new shopping centre, and fast transport links to the City, the West End and possibly to the Continent if Eurostar decides to stop at the new Stratford International station.
For more information call Genesishomes on 0800 883 0480 or visit www.genesishomes.org.uk.
Myth 3: you can’t choose where you live
Housing associations have a variety of homes available throughout London and the South East. For example, Genesishomes has schemes in both fashionable and up-and-coming areas such as Hoxton, Docklands and Camden.
At Vada in Hoxton, one-bedroom flats are available with prices starting at £61,750 for a 25 per cent share based on a market value of £247,000.
Vada is an eye-catching development with striking orange and yellow panels, private balconies, underground parking and a communal garden, all close to the vibrant night life of Shoreditch, the Hoxton Square art galleries and the Sunday street markets at Spitalfields and along Brick Lane and Columbia Road.
For more information call Genesishomes on 0800 883 0563 or visit www.genesishomes.org.uk/properties/vada.
Myth 4: affordable homes are only for the poor
Not so. If you have an annual total household income of less than £60,000, you can buy through a housing association. That’s millions of people who qualify, and when you think about it, even people with good salaries still find it difficult to buy a home on the open market in the capital where house prices are higher than anywhere else in the country.
Sally Heath earns a good salary, but even she needed help from a housing association to buy her first home. Sally was previously the head fashion buyer at All Saints and she now works as the head buyer for USC, the UK’s top retailer of branded clothing.
“I have always wanted to live in a period conversion in this area but never thought I could afford it. Even with a decent deposit, my only option was to buy much further out of town and as a single girl I want to live centrally.
“After seeing a series of advertisements for shared ownership, I decided to have a look at a couple of schemes before realising that Genesishomes had a number of affordable homes at Kingsway Square. When I walked into the stunning entrance foyer with its own concierge, I completely fell in love with it and reserved a flat the very same day.”
In addition to the concierge, the development also has an underground car park with two Street Car spaces, vast shared roof terraces and a restaurant and bar in the old library will follow shortly.
Sally, who moved into her apartment in April, adds: “I love the fact that the private and affordable apartments at Kingsway Square are integrated so you feel part of one community. The location is ideal for me as I can take a bus from outside the development directly to my office in East London. There are transport links directly into Victoria and Waterloo, plus a cab from the West End is less than £15 and you can’t beat that.
“Best of all though, I get to appreciate the history and stunning features of this period building when I walk through the foyer to my flat.”
For more information call Genesishomes on 0800 883 0529 or visit www.genesishomes.org.uk/kingsway-square.
Myth 5: there is no point in only buying a small share in your home
With Genesishomes, you can start by buying as little as 25 per cent of your home and pay a low, subsidised rent on the remaining share. This means that many people can afford to buy a home of their own.
But it doesn’t have to stop there because as time goes on and your situation changes, you can gradually increase the share you own by “staircasing” - buying increments of as little as 10 per cent - until you own your home outright.
In fact, with house prices currently in a tail spin, many people who have bought have taken the opportunity to increase their share while prices remain low.
Britannia Riverside is a waterfront development on the River Ouse on the site of the historic Britannia Iron Works in Bedford. Genesishomes has one-bedroom flats in this value-for-money scheme where many owners may be able to move fast to outright ownership.
The flats all feature modern kitchens, secure door entry and car parking. There is a private green, water features and children’s play areas. Prices start from £31,500 for a 25 per cent share, based on a full market value of £126,000. Bedford is on the Thameslink line with a journey time to St Pancras of around 35 minutes.
For more information call Genesishomes on 0800 883 8813 or visit www.genesishomes.org.uk.