For those Londoners still toiling at their desks, August can seem a rather dismal month - when the rest of the world is on a sun lounger. And, for those seeking a first home on a budget, the cupboard appears very bare. This is the leanest of months for new homes launches because most agents want to hold off until September when people are back from holiday.
But if you are in town and hungry to find a first home, there are still some strong options out there and, crucially, fewer people going for them.
The best affordable schemes sell out rapidly, of course. Then stuff happens: inevitably some buyers have to pull out and that leaves wonderful last-minute opportunities for the lucky.
Affordable homes at Islington’s Highbury Gardens (highburygardens.co.uk) have sold like proverbial hot cakes - more than three quarters were snapped up in the first two weeks. There are now seven left, of an original 31, and they cost £175,000 for a 65 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat or £197,000 for a 50 per cent share of a two-bedroom flat. This is a good-looking scheme, and the flats are ranged around a central garden space on which the residents can play croquet. The location, within walking distance of Upper Street, is also exceptional.
For those wanting a contemporary home, Grand Union Apartments at Paddington Basin are equally well-located, a quick walk from Paddington station and in an area teeming with bars and restaurants. Of 16 one-bedroom flats by Octavia Housing only one remains, at £98,000 for a 25 per cent share.
There is also one flat left at Octavia’s Corrigan Court, close to Ealing Common, priced from £93,750 for a 25 per cent share, and two at its The Scene scheme in the £100 million regeneration zone at Wembley, priced from £40,000 for a 25 per cent share. For information contact Octavia Housing or agent Stagnell Fox (octaviahousing.org.uk and stagnellfox.co.uk).
In the suburbs
If you are after a more leafy, suburban lifestyle then Trinity Place by Notting Hill Home Ownership (nottinghillhousing.org.uk) could be the solution. This development, five minutes’ walk from Raynes Park station and one Tube stop from Wimbledon Broadway, is also handy for shopping - built above a new Waitrose store. Of 11 shared-ownership flats in the scheme, which launched in February, just one is still available, at £69,600 for a 30 per cent share in a one-bedroom flat.
For a smart commute
Take a look at Guildford, in prime Surrey, with trains to Waterloo taking a shade over half an hour. Affinity Sutton (affinitysutton.com) has just one two-bedroom flat (of a total of 14 shared-ownership homes) on its Boxgrove Gardens development. The property costs £102,000 for a 40 per cent share and buyers only need a deposit of five per cent of the full £225,000 purchase price, which works out at £5,100.
Back in the City
Meanwhile, City workers may prefer Fairmont House, another Affinity Sutton scheme, in Canada Water - right beside the Tube station. Four fifths of the flats have sold since May. Still available are four one-bedroom flats priced from £71,250 for a 25 per cent share.
Fairmont House is part of a major regeneration of the area which will ultimately include 2,000 homes, a piazza lined with cafés and shops, a new library and a children’s play area.
Looking forward to autumn
Notting Hill Housing has two interesting schemes on the way, if you want to get in early. The Terrace, at Hackney Downs (nhhg.org.uk/theterrace), launches in October with prices from £84,000 for a 40 per cent share. And The Glassworks, in Richmond (nottinghillhousing.org.uu/theglassworks), is an elegant courtyard-style scheme. Ten shared-ownership flats will be available, though pricing has yet to be confirmed. It is due to launch next month.