Buying in London: five 'Help to Buy' homes from £306,000 for first timers

The £600,000 cap on Help to Buy can limit first time buyers in London. But if you look in the right places you can still get the best out of this government scheme...

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The Government’s Help to Buy scheme has been a vaunted success in much of the country, but critics say it is not doing nearly enough to help house hunters in London.
In theory, Help to Buy sounds a great way to swerve the problem of raising a huge deposit — the average deposit for a starter home in the capital is inching above £70,000.
Under the scheme, buyers can borrow 20 per cent of the value of a new-build home from the Government, dramatically reducing the amount of cash they have to save upfront.
Alternatively, the Government can act as a mortgage guarantor for part of the loan on a new or second-hand home, again allowing buyers to purchase with only a five per cent deposit.

Help to Buy is capped at £600,000, and lending restrictions mean those who use it are usually only allowed to borrow four-and-a-half times their salary. This means that those with a household income of, for example, £50,000 can really only raise £330,000 (made up of a deposit of £15,000, a Government loan of £60,000 and a mortgage of £255,000).
While £300,000 is a huge sum, it does not get you very far in the London property market. Developers are not helping the situation by creating evermore high-end schemes, when they should be building cheaper projects. However, there are some affordable Help to Buy options out there.

Greenland Place
Evelyn Street, SE8
Why move there: once the location of King Henry VIII’s shipyard, Deptford has seen tremendous regeneration over the past decade, including a £1 billion plan to transform the royal shipyard into 3,500 homes, shops, cafés and restaurants.
It is 10 minutes by Overground to Cannon Street, and a short Docklands Light Railway hop to Canary Wharf (Zone 2). It’s a lively, cosmopolitan location and the twice-weekly Deptford Market is ideal if you like rummaging for treasures. Several contemporary art galleries have earned Deptford a reputation as the next Shoreditch.
What’s wrong with it: Deptford’s a work in progress, with many building sites.
The development: Greenland Place includes 562 flats in seven buildings ranging up to 22 stories, plus landscaped courtyard gardens, a concierge service and cycle parking, and there will also be shops and cafés. Due to complete in 2017.
How much: from £506,000 for a two-bedroom flat, deposits from £25,300. One-bedroom apartments will be available in later phases.
Contact: Barratt London 

Merlin House
Horticultural Place, W4.
Why move there: it’s right on the fringes of Turnham Green, and a short walk to the bars, shops and restaurants of Chiswick High Road. Chiswick Park Tube (District line, Zone 3) is nearby — or walk a little further to Turnham Green, which is in Zone 2. Green space is abundant — there are the lovely grounds of Chiswick House, plus Duke’s Meadows, which features rugby, football, hockey facilities plus a nine-hole golf club.
What’s wrong with it: not much. Local prices are high, however, so you don’t get much bang for your buck.
The development: a boutique development of just five flats, due to complete in January.
How much: one-bedroom flats are priced from £499,000, requiring a £24,950 deposit.
Contact: Barnard Marcus

Catford Green 
Adenmore Road, SE6.
Why move there: London buyers priced out of Clapham and East Dulwich are starting to eye Catford as a good-value alternative. Commuters can travel from Catford Bridge to Waterloo East, Cannon Street or Charing Cross in less than 20 minutes, or travel from Catford station to Blackfriars in 22 minutes or St Pancras in less than half an hour. Both stations are in Zone 3. There are also proposals to extend both the DLR and the Bakerloo line to Catford, which could give the area a huge fillip.
What’s wrong with it: there isn’t a lot in the way of pubs and restaurants, although London Mayor Boris Johnson has pledged to regenerate the rundown high street.
The development: Catford Green is a scheme of 413 flats adjacent to Ladywell Fields. It is due to complete by 2017.
How much: from £306,000 for a one-bedroom flat and from £351,000 for a two-bedroom property. Help to Buy deposits come in from £15,300.
Contact: Barratt London 

Conyers Road
Streatham, SW16.
Why move there: buyers pay a premium to live close to Streatham Common, and transport links are excellent. Trains from Streatham Common to Victoria take less than 20 minutes. The area is starting to attract buyers pushed out of Battersea and Clapham, so chances for capital growth are good. Facilities include a £26 million sports centre plus ice rink, which opened in 2013, and there are some good restaurants. The sourdough pizzas at Addomme are particularly recommended.
What’s wrong with it: in 2002, traffic clogged Streatham High Road was named the worst street in Britain by the BBC’s Today programme, although since then it has been somewhat smartened up by Lambeth council.
The development: an impressive Victorian pile converted into six flats, ready to move into this month.
How much: one-bedroom flats are priced at £325,000 — requiring a five per cent deposit of £17,600.
Contact: Sequence Home 

Loampit Vale, SE13
Why move there: over the past 12 months Lewisham has been one of London’s strongest-performing boroughs, with annual price growth of more than 10 per cent, as first-time buyers take advantage of its affordable homes. The area is served by the DLR with services to Canary Wharf taking about half an hour. Rail services to Cannon Street or Charing Cross take about 15 minutes. There are decent shops in Lewisham Shopping Centre, but little in the way of independent shops or an established café culture.
What’s wrong with it: the borough was named the most crime-ridden area in England and Wales by the Institute for Economics and Peace in 2013, but a big police effort has helped to improve the situation.
The development: almost 800 homes have already been completed, along with a leisure centre featuring a pool, café, crèche and spa.
How much: only two-bedroom flats are left in the scheme, priced from £455,000, with a minimum deposit of £22,750.
Contact: Barratt London 

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