The trouble with some shared-ownership schemes is that the home "owner" can end up very much a minority stakeholder — owning perhaps a quarter of a flat and paying rent on all the rest.
A new scheme just launched in Bow turns the tables on all that, with the opportunity to purchase up to 80 per cent of an apartment in a buzzing east London area with great transport links.
The Base3 (base3bow.com) flats are being built on the post-war Leopold Estate, a drab site that is in the throes of a £62 million makeover planned by award-winning PRP architects.
There will be 480 new homes on the estate when the project is complete in 2019. The first tranche includes 60 shared-ownership flats, which will be move-in ready by May.
Some 33 of the flats are being sold as part of the last knockings of the Government's HomeBuy Direct Scheme. The remainder are being sold under developer Countryside Properties' own shared-equity scheme. Under HomeBuy Direct you can acquire 70 per cent of a one-bedroom flat from £133,000 or a two-bedroom flat from £171,500.
Under Countryside Properties' scheme you can opt to buy a little more — an 80 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat starts at £152,000, or from £200,000 for a two-bedroom flat. There is also an annual service charge of around £950 a year to factor in.
Bow is gentrifying fast but still has plenty of east end character, some interesting independent shops and good pubs and bars
This is a scheme perfect for first-time buyers who are priced out of the private housing market . The two schemes work in the same way and have the same key benefit — buying a percentage of a flat rather than the whole thing means first-time buyers don't need to raise quite such a large mortgage or such a big deposit.
When the property is sold, however, they will have to give the relevant percentage of the proceeds back, and after five years they will also have to start paying interest (starting at 1.75 per cent) on the part of the property they don't own. After the first year owners can also choose to start paying off the portion of the property they don't own.
"The idea is that this is a staircase to full home ownership," says Guy Lambert, a spokesman for Countryside Properties. The flats, which all have balconies, are well located just off St Paul's Way in Bow, with plenty of green space on the doorstep including Mile End Park, Bartlett Park and Regent's Canal.
Bow is gentrifying fast but still has plenty of east end character, some interesting independent shops and good pubs and bars — the Morgan Arms is something of a mecca for locals. Canary Wharf is just to the south, and the City is a mile to the west, so it is an excellent base for a commuter, although owners will have to be prepared for a level of local building disruption until the regeneration is complete in eight years' time.
Base3 is walking distance to three Tube stations: Mile End, Bow Road and Bromley-By-Bow, so there is access to the Central, Hammersmith & City and District lines. Devons Road Docklands Light Railway station is less than a mile away, and it is five stops to Canary Wharf.
"It is a young, vibrant place with a real diversity of people," says Lambert. "You have got lots of small shops selling specialist food, clothes and music, and lots of local amenities. You are only one Tube stop from Stratford and the Olympic Park and there's shopping at Westfield Stratford City. It is an area which is really being transformed."