Interest-free loans ease the deposit pain at Brentford Lock West

Generation Rent is getting help from 'Bob the builder' to secure a mortgage to buy a first home in Brentford, south-west London
Brentford Lock West
Homes at Brentford Lock West beside the Grand Union Canal
Times are tough for first-time buyers. A recent study by Shelter showed half of the capital’s Generation Rent have given up hope of ever owning a home.

Saving for a deposit while simultaneously paying rent is one of the key barriers to the property ladder identified in the report. A potential solution to this conundrum comes courtesy of interest-free loans being offered by the developer behind a new riverside scheme in Brentford, south-west London.


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Brentford Lock West (brentfordlockwest.co.uk), is a development of 520 homes being built on a site beside the Grand Union Canal. Homes start at £284,950 for a one-bedroom flat, and £412,950 for a two-bedroom flat. There are also three-bedroom properties priced from £566,950 — although these are not covered by the loan scheme which has a ceiling price of £450,000.

The first phase of flats is due to be completed by the end of 2013, although the entire project will take up to seven years to complete.

The deal on the table is that developer ISIS Waterside Regeneration will loan buyers up to 20 per cent of the value of their property to use as a deposit. They need to find at least five per cent themselves. Armed with a substantial deposit, buyers will be in a great position to find a low interest mortgage and the loan from ISIS is interest-free for 10 years.

Apartments at Brentford Lock West
Brentford Lock West: the scheme will lend buyers up to 20 per cent of the value of their property to use as a deposit
Within that 10-year period the buyer can start repaying the loan if they can afford it. If they sell up they are expected to repay 20 per cent of their proceeds. After 10 years the money must be repaid in four instalments.

The development is utilising the talents of several up and coming architects. The first building on the site, and the one that is currently on sale, was designed by London-based Duggan Morris, the firm which recently won the Manser Medal, the UK’s top award for a new build one-off house.

Katie Sully, development director at ISIS Waterside Regeneration, said using a number of different architects had been a deliberate decision. “It was very much about getting architectural diversity,” she explained. “It was very important that people didn’t feel like they were in living a huge scheme which all looked the same.”

There will be one or two cafes or restaurants built on site, plus a new bridge over the canal which will shorten the walking distance to Brentford Station to about 10 minutes. The canal towpath, popular with walkers and cyclists, will be widened.

Syon Park
© Graham Hussey
Syon Park is just a few minutes' walk from the 520 new homes being built at Brentford Lock West
Although Brentford is on the far reaches of London, its transport links are good — trains to Waterloo Station take just over half an hour, and it is close to the M4 and Heathrow Airport. When Crossrail is up and running in 2018 another option would be to take a train from Ealing, around two-and-a-half miles away, with direct links to the West End and City.

In terms of green space, Syon Park is a few minutes’ walk away and a slightly longer trek takes you over Kew Bridge and into Kew Gardens.

The compromise here is Brentford itself. Its high street is run down, although Sully points out a proposed new development by Irish firm Ballymore, with homes, shops restaurants and leisure facilities, which is currently going through planning, could give the area a major fillip in future. “We also hope that what we are doing is going to help start a regeneration of the area,” said Sully.


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