Buying an affordable home no longer means compromising on quality, space or style. Homes for young people have become an architects’ dream challenge — to design a space that multi-tasks, that is ergonomic and eco-friendly, with a high-tech spec that fits the bill for modern city living.
Planners and politicians, among them Mayor Boris Johnson, are keen to promote showpiece affordable housing, especially “green” new builds, and this is spurring housing associations to use top architects.
Award-winning new housing is turning up in unlikely places — in posh postcodes as well as gritty parts of inner London and suburban high streets.
Shared-ownership flats are often for sale at fashionable private developments, such as at Paddington Basin and Imperial Wharf, Chelsea. Glamorous high-rise living is also available.
Parker Building is the final phase of 314 homes at Bermondsey Spa, one of the capital’s best examples of architecture-led regeneration. This 50-acre zone bordering Shad Thames was blighted by a railway viaduct but some handsome Victorian buildings and a park have been upgraded, and architects have reintroduced elements of a Fifties street pattern, linking the key sites with good-quality public realm space and knitting the neighbourhood into its historic surroundings. Shared-ownership flats will be launched after Easter. Visit bermondseyspa.co.uk or call 020 7231 1200.
Affordable flats with extras are also for sale at fancy riverside developments where open-market homes sell for millions of pounds. At Battersea Reach, two-bedroom apartments are priced from £120,750 for a 30 per cent share. This four-acre development has a line of glazed apartment blocks on the Thames. A new riverside promenade with gardens, bars and restaurants has become a destination in itself. Call Notting Hill Housing on 020 8357 4444.
At Stratford Halo, at the entrance to the Olympic Park, there are 704 homes in five buildings, one of which is a striking curvilinear 43-storey tower. Residents have access to three triple-height communal sky gardens.
A riverside promenade, park and children’s play area are being created. There will be 24-hour concierge services and underground parking. Prices start at £212,500 (£53,125 for a 25 per cent share). Call 033 3000 4000 or visit genesishomes.org.uk.
Closer to Canary Wharf is New Festival Quarter, where flats cost from £55,625 for a 25 per cent share. “We’re taking shared ownership to a new level of desirability and style,” says Lauren Nicholson, head of marketing at Family Mosaic. The scheme has a private gym, 24-hour concierge and residents’ roof garden. Call 020 7089 1315.
Regeneration is transforming closed-off industrial sites — such as blighted land at King’s Cross. This is a new district in the making, with 2,000 new homes, 20 new streets, 20 restored heritage buildings, 3.6 million sq ft of offices and 500,000 sq ft of shops.
About 40 per cent of the flats are designated “affordable” by One Housing Group. Two-bedroom apartments at Rubicon cost from £180,000 for a 40 per cent share. Call 020 8502 5758 or visit onenewhome.co.uk.
City Road canal basin near Angel is being turned into a mixed-use estate of homes, businesses, recreational outlets and boat club. Developer Mount Anvil and housing association Affinity Sutton are offering 69 homes for shared ownership at The Lexicon, three canalside buildings, including a 36-storey tower. Prices from £80,000 for a 25 per cent share. Call 0300 100 0303 or email email@example.com.
"I'm not mortgaged up to my eyeballs"
Newham schoolteacher Rebecca Vargassoff, 28, bought a resale apartment in Canary Wharf and pays £700 a month.
“Just last year I was renting with a friend, with no hope of moving on, and here I am now sitting in my own apartment in the best location. The great thing is that I’m not mortgaged up to my eyeballs. I can live comfortably and enjoy this amazing area."
“Canary Wharf is an awesome place. With the skyscrapers and the waterfront buildings, there’s a real sense of drama. I was told the average price of a home in Canary Wharf is around £490,000, so I thought I would be renting for life. Shared ownership has made it possible for me to at least own part of my home, with the prospect of buying more.”
“My home is moments from Crossharbour and South Quays DLR stations and the Jubilee line station, so I just have to hop on the Tube and I am where I want to be.”