Buying a share is first step to ownership

David Spittles looks at the options for first-time buyers who can't save for a deposit or get a family handout to help them get on to the ladder
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Woodberry Park
From £57,500: for a 25 per cent share, apartments at Woodberry Park, Finsbury, overlook 50 acres of water. Call 0845 600 4663
The average price of a home in the capital is now an astonishing 15 times the average income — making it almost impossible for young people to buy without receiving financial help.

Even raising a five per cent deposit on the average-priced London home means saving £20,000, though most mortgage lenders will require 15 to 25 per cent deposits — much more than a year's salary for average Londoners.

The full asking price of a typical shared-ownership home in London is £246,761, compared with £408,384 for the average property on the open market — making, says the National Housing Federation, a compelling case for first-time buyers to get on to the property ladder via this part-buy, part-rent route.

To continue with the figures, the average annual income needed by a single first-timer buyer to purchase an average flat on the open market is £44,464.

To get a foothold via a shared-ownership flat the typical income needed is only £27,000 a year. In London, the average share in a property bought this way is 37 per cent of the full market value, or £91,467 worth. The deposit required is typically £4,573, with several lenders offering 95 per cent mortgages.

Michelle Smith of the NHF, says: "More than a third of shared-ownership buyers go on to the 'staircase' to 100 per cent ownership." Housing associations have cut the minimum share that can be bought to 25 per cent. Currently, the lowestpriced London homes are at Hall Quarter in Bexley, where a 25 per cent share costs from £35,250.

In5pire, Islington
At In5pire, Corsica Street, Islington, flats are £83,750 for a 25 per cent share. Contact Origin on 0800 068 8990
Gallions housing association says people earning £19,000 a year qualify under its affordability criteria for the development. The best way to register for shared ownership is to sign up to the Government's First Steps scheme (

Homes are allocated through two housing association agencies — Metropolitan and L&Q. The former covers north, east and west London and the latter covers south of the river. Once registered, you are alerted to developments in your chosen areas.

The £60,000 income ceiling to qualify for shared ownership recently increased to £74,000 for families purchasing homes with three or more bedrooms. Housing associations point out many of the homes available are at sought-after private developments, occasionally in posh postcodes.

Be a first-timer in St John's Wood

The Move in St John's Wood is a scheme of 27 apartments priced from £75,000 for a 25 per cent share. The minimum salary requirement is £29,116. Call Origin on 0800 068 8990 or visit

Start out in Islington

Several new schemes in the fashionable Islington heartland have been unveiled. Corsica Street runs off busy Highbury Corner and over the years has suffered because of close proximity to railway tracks.

But the street, close to Upper Street, is getting a facelift. In5pire is a scheme of 21 flats, priced from £83,750 for a 25 per cent share (full price, £335,000). Total monthly costs — mortgage, rent and service charge — are from £1,193. Call 0800 068 8990. Contact Origin (as above).

Aspire, Limehouse
Aspire, where shared ownership starts at £88,000, is part of a bigger Limehouse development

First rung: Finsbury Park

Most flats in this part of north London are period conversions but new-build apartments are sprouting up for singles and couples who want to live in a place where they can feel the beat of the city.

Woodberry Park, overlooking 50 acres of open water, is a redevelopment of a former council estate (one of the UK's largest) that will eventually have 4,600 new homes — a mix of open-market and affordable properties.

Shared-ownership homes are available through Genesis housing association. Prices from £57,500 for a 25 per cent share (full price, £230,000). Call 0845 600 4663.

Live it up in Limehouse

Aspire is part of a bigger private development in Limehouse, a handy point between the City and Canary Wharf. Shared-ownership apartments cost from £88,000 for the minimum 40 per cent share (the full asking price is £220,000). Call A2 Dominion on 0800 783 2159 or visit

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