A rare opportunity has come up for first-time buyers to pick up starter homes for about £200,000 at two of London’s smartest developments this summer.
Developer St George is offering 70 properties at its Chelsea Creek scheme in Fulham, and another 23 at Fulham Reach in Hammersmith, under the Discount Market Sale programme.
The scheme is a little-known but very budget-friendly housing option for buyers priced out of the mainstream market. Under the programme, they buy a proportion of the property — in this case it will be about a third — using a mortgage. They also have to pay a monthly service charge.
However, unlike traditional shared-ownership schemes run by housing associations, they do not pay rent on the share of the property they do not own, cutting monthly costs significantly.
Chelsea Creek in SW6 is a 10-acre development close to Imperial Wharf station in Zone 2, which opened in 2009. On the London Overground, the station offers a crucial transport link to what was previously a poorly accessible location. There is an interchange on to the District line Tube at West Brompton.
One-bedroom flats are priced at £200,820 for a share of about a third of the property. The exact share depends on the size of the flat, and these homes range from 435sq ft to 492sq ft. The service charge will be between £5.50 and £6 per square foot, adding a minimum of £199 to monthly costs.
There are two key eligibility criteria for these apartments. Applicants, who need to live or work in the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, must register with the council. They must also earn no more than £57,377 as a household — putting the flats within reach of a single person earning a good wage, or a couple on about £25,000 to £30,000 each.
Fulham Reach, in W6, is three miles further along the Thames, close to Hammersmith Bridge. It is half a mile from Hammersmith Underground station in Zone 2, with its District, Circle, Piccadilly and Hammersmith & City line services, as well as Hammersmith’s excellent — and improving — range of pubs, bars, restaurants and shops.
The one-bedroom apartments are priced from £190,863 for a share of about 35 per cent, and buyers must earn less than £54,532 to be considered for one of these.
There are also a few two-bedroom flats, priced from £242,304 for a share of just under 30 per cent. The household earnings ceiling for these larger homes is £69,229.
Again, the service charge is linked to the size of the property, with one-bedroom flats starting from about £189 a month, and two-bedroom flats from about £309 a month. The homes at both developments will be ready to move into by the end of this year.
One of the biggest concerns about all affordable housing schemes is their exit strategy. Discount Market Sale buyers will initially need to offer their properties to people on Hammersmith & Fulham’s waiting list. An independent valuer will set the price.
If the property fails to sell within about six weeks, the vendor will then be free to put it on the open market.
Whoever the property is sold to, the owner will walk away with their share of any capital growth while the council will get the rest of the money, which it will be able to reinvest in other affordable homes schemes for the borough.