Home ownership continues to burn in the hearts of young Londoners, irrespective of the difficulties. Of all the obstacles to achieving this dream, the most daunting is scraping together the deposit.
The average first-time deposit in the capital now stands at close to £90,000 — a sum few can find without a serious cash injection, often from parents.
The increasingly popular solution is Help to Buy London, a scheme that slashes the deposit required. Buyers need a minimum five per cent deposit in cash, a mortgage to cover 55 per cent of the cost of the property and the state makes up the difference with a 40 per cent loan, interest free for the first five years. The equity loan is for 25 years max, or before if the property is sold or the mortgage is redeemed.
You get six months to arrange the mortgage once Help to Buy has been agreed, which could be a problem if you aim to buy off-plan. Here’s where to look for a new home that you can complete on within the six-months window.
CRYSTAL PALACE - WHEN COMMUNITY COUNTS
More than half of Crystal Palace homes are now sold to first-time buyers, as the area emerges as one of the most popular among newbies, a study by Hamptons International reveals. Transport is key — trains to Victoria, London Bridge and Blackfriars all take about half an hour and the East London line links Crystal Palace to Canary Wharf.
Then there is the park dotted with historic dinosaur sculptures, plus good bars, restaurants and shops. Crystal Palace also has a real community vibe. Locals organise a popular food market, film and family festivals, and seem to take a real pride in their area.
Alto in Crystal Palace was launched last month by selling agent Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward. This scheme of fewer than 50 homes is on Sylvan Hill, a leafy walk of less than a mile to the station and shops. One-bedroom flats of 612sq ft start at £417,500, so a five per cent deposit is just over £20,000. Two-bedroom flats of 834sq ft start at £499,950, so five per cent is just under £25,000.
As is often the case with smaller developments with no “extras”, the service charge is relatively low, from £111 a month for one-bedroom flats, and £151 for two-bedroom properties. Leases are 250 years.
SOUTH BERMONDSEY - HOT FOR COMMUTERS
After something a bit more central? Bermondsey Works could be a great option, even though it is actually a couple of miles from Bermondsey Street itself. Technically in Peckham, and just north of the Old Kent Road, this area is attracting increasing developer interest. The nearest station is South Bermondsey, with services to London Bridge in just eight minutes — ideal for work in the city and for nightlife, since this swathe of London is somewhat light on entertainment or interesting shops. However, the wilds of Burgess Park are a 15-minute walk away, so green space is taken care of.
Two-bedroom flats of 764sq ft at Bermondsey Works start at £517,500, making five per cent deposit £25,875. The flats are being sold on 999-year leases, and service charge for a two-bedroom flat is just over £200 a month.
DEPTFORD - FOR FITNESS FANS
Close to the Thames and Deptford Park, Greenland Place in SE8 is about a mile from the heart of Deptford but handy for Surrey Quays station in Zone 2, which, thanks to the East London line, is great for Canary Wharf staff.
Greenland Place is named for Greenland Dock, once the heart of London’s shipping industry and now home to the Surrey Docks Fitness and Watersports Centre. So you can learn to kayak, but this still-regenerating area is light on cafés, shops and nightlife.
Greenland Place has a fitness suite and café on site though, and Deptford, Bermondsey, and Canary Wharf are nearby. Two-bedroom flats, from 764sq ft, in the centrepiece Malmo Tower start at £584,000, so a five per cent deposit is just over £29,000. There’s a 999-year lease and service charge is about £214 a month.
BRENTFORD LOCK - WATERSIDE LIVING
Award-winning Brentford Lock West beside the Grand Union Canal, is a stroll from Syon Park and the banks of the Thames, though Brentford’s traffic-clogged High Street is heavy on discount supermarkets and takeaways.
Back in the plus column, this is a good-looking development. The current phase, Chalico Walk, is a series of pavilions with a saw-tooth roofline that echoes the nearby wharfs. The nearest station is Brentford in Zone 4, a half-mile walk away, with services to Waterloo in just over half an hour.
One-bedroom flats of 630sq ft start at £412,500, so the minimum five per cent deposit is just over £20,000. Service charge is about £115 a month. Two-bedroom flats of 861sq ft start at £565,000, with a minimum deposit of £28,250 and £158 monthly service charge. The homes are sold with 250 year leases.
BOW - FAR BETTER OFF BUYING THAN RENTING
Sisters Lucy and Sophie Mason needed help from their family and the Government to break the chains of Generation Rent.
Originally from Leeds, Lucy, 24, a post-production assistant, moved to London in 2015 and Sophie, 22, who works in Topman’s merchandising department, followed a year later.
They ended up in separate shared flats in Brixton. Lucy’s rent was £700 a month, while Sophie’s was £650. By last year the sisters were fed up with haemorrhaging so much cash, but even with help from their father and grandfather they were unable to raise a deposit big enough to buy the modern two-bedroom apartment they wanted at St Paul’s Square in Bow.
So they turned to Help to Buy London to get on the ladder, securing the £535,000 flat in February this year. As their deposit was more than the minimum five per cent allowed under Help to Buy, their mortgage is relatively small. Repayments are £545 a month, and they pay about £95 a month service charge, leaving them far better off as owners.
One-bedroom flats at St Paul’s Square start from £440,000, with a five per cent deposit of £22,000. Buyers who take a full government loan will need a £229,000 mortgage. Repayment costs, based on a three per cent interest rate over 25 years, are just over £1,000 a month.
Two-bedroom flats start from £525,000, with five per cent deposit of £26,250, and monthly mortgage costs would be just over £1,300. Visit countrysideproperties.com for more details.