This summer keep an eye out for the special “affordable homes” offers coming from some of our biggest national house builders.
Unlike the shared ownership schemes offered by housing associations where you buy a percentage of your new home and pay rent on the remainder, the schemes being promoted by the house builders work differently.
With these you pay 75 per cent of the agreed selling price of the new home, and the house builder lends you the other 25 per cent interest free. The loan is repaid after 10 years.
Great West Quarter (www.gwq.uk.com; 020 8326 7277) in Brentford is a development of flats which includes the conversion of the art deco Wallis building. This landmark development of 773 flats will also include shops, restaurants, a health club, art gallery, crèche, hotel and serviced flats. Community activities will centre around a new central piazza. The Dream Start initiative is available on nine two-bedroom flats with prices starting at £298,000.
A huge clean-up and regeneration is taking place in the Royal Docks on the north side of the Thames between Canning Town and Beckton in London’s Docklands.
Royal Quay (www.royal-quay.co.uk; 020 7055 0141) is a marina development of 429 flats situated at the eastern end of the docks.
Here, joint developers Gladedale and the London Development Agency are putting up three apartment buildings which are cantilevered out over the docks to give the appearance of ocean liners.
Designed by architects Jestico & Whiles, two-bedroom flats are for sale under a Gladedale scheme that allows purchasers to buy 75 per cent now with the remaining 25 per cent due after 10 years. Flats are priced from £250,000 to £275,000.
At Maidenhead in Berkshire, Miller Homes is offering its MiWay scheme on a number of flats in its 8teenthirty8 development where it is building 109 flats and the adjacent Kings Quarter (www.miller-homes.co.uk; 0800 840 8768) where it is building 40 houses and flats. This is another buy-75-per-cent-now/buy-25-per-cent-later scheme. Prices of flats available under the MiWay scheme start at £269,950 for three bedrooms.
In Barking, east London, developers Redrow are offering first time buyers an “easi-buy” scheme on the same 75/25 per cent basis at No 87 Axe Street, part of the award-winning Barking Central scheme (www.barkingcentral.co.uk; 020 7718 5220). Prices start from £160,000.
For those who fancy living by the sea, Explore Living has flats at Grand Ocean in Saltdean (www.exploreliving.co.uk; 0844 6626050), near Brighton.
The development includes the conversion of a listed art deco hotel with a sweeping curved facade facing the sea plus four new wings.
There are to be a total of 279 flats, a communal garden, gym and underground parking and Explore Living is offering Route 75, a 75/25 per cent purchase scheme. Prices at Grand Ocean start at £157,995.
Off to a great start
Newlyweds Damien Trent, who works in customer service, and his wife Gillian, an orthopaedist, have bought their first home with the help of a scheme by Explore Living at its Grand Ocean development in Saltdean, near Brighton in East Sussex.
“Our apartment is spacious and because we are on the ground floor we have the benefit of an outdoor patio that catches the sun for most of the afternoon,” says Gillian. “We were really lucky to return from our honeymoon in St Lucia to our beautiful new home.”
Explore Living is offering Route 75, a 75/25 per cent purchase scheme. Prices at Grand Ocean start at £157,995 (www.exploreliving.co.uk; 0844 662 6050).
Take note of the small print
On the surface these deals look too good to be true so it is important to check the small print. In most cases the 25 per cent lent by the developer is revalued at the point the buyer sells the property or increases the stake to 100 per cent. This means that if house prices rise, the buyer ends up paying more; although by the same token if house prices fall, the buyer ends up paying less.
For example, for a flat costing £100,000 the buyer would initially pay £75,000, or 75 per cent of the asking price, with the developer lending 25 per cent or £25,000 interest free for 10 years.
If house prices rose over that period by say, 50 per cent, the flat would increase in value to £150,000 and buying the remaining 25 per cent would cost the buyer £37,500 rather than the initial £25,000.
You are also making a commitment to pay a large sum of money at some point in the future, so these schemes are suitable only for buyers who are confident that their earnings will continue to rise and they can afford the extra mortgage payments. Remember, you can still try to negotiate the initial asking price, which, despite the deals is not set in stone.
Livng the dream
The house-builder scheme has worked well for letting agent, Peet Venter, who bought a one-bedroom flat in Wallis House, an art deco building which is part of Barratt’s Great West Quarter development in Brentford.
Peet’s flat cost £210,000 but under Barratt’s Dream Start scheme all he had to pay was £157,500 with Barratt giving him an interest-free loan for the remaining 25 per cent (£52,500) to be repaid in 10 years.
Until he saw Great West Quarter and discovered Barratt’s Dream Start scheme, Peet hadn’t considered buying a home of his own because he thought it was beyond his means. “Without this initiative I could never have done it,” he says.