Even “affordable” shared ownership is too expensive for many young Londoners trying to step on to the property ladder. Mortgage repayments and rent combined normally exceed £1,000 a month, and outgoings can easily reach £1,500 once service charges, council tax and utility bills are added.
A new housing tenure called “rent-free shared ownership” seeks to keep homes affordable by reducing monthly costs by up to £450 a month, or £5,400 a year. The deal is on offer in east London, at Stratford’s East Village, the capital’s self-proclaimed “newest neighbourhood” with 2,818 homes and its own postcode, E20.
Olympic legacy: shared ownership homes at East Village
East Village is a key “legacy” benefit of the 2012 London Olympics, with buildings designed by 16 world-renowned architects and a high-quality public realm of squares, parks and landscaped courtyards.
With conventional shared ownership, people buy a part-share, 30 per cent minimum, and pay rent on the remaining equity owned by a housing association. With the new tenure, 60 per cent is the minimum share that can be purchased but there is no rent to pay.
Buying 60 per cent of the cheapest one-bedroom flat, full value £270,000, would cost £905 per month, or £280 per month less than standard shared ownership. Bigger “savings” are possible when purchasing more expensive flats.
“This is a tenure for people who do not want to ‘staircase’ — buy all the equity, in stages — to outright ownership,” according to Triathlon Homes, affordable housing provider at East Village.
With rent-free shared ownership, the maximum equity that can be purchased is 80 per cent. A higher minimum deposit of 20 per cent is required (normally it is five per cent). Priority is given to first-time buyers earning less than £66,000. Visit triathlonhomes.com.
Shared ownership is the only way to buy at the site as all the other properties are for rent. This a classy new district, built to an exacting standard. Stylish, energy-efficient homes range from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom houses and are spread across 11 zones. There are 25 buildings in total, including a brand-new school and medical centre.
Last month, a new-style rental service called Get Living London started at the development. This offers fee-free tenancies, furnished or unfurnished, for up to three years, plus a package of extras on 1,440 new homes. Rents start at £310 per week. Qatari Diar, the on-site landlord, will maintain the homes, public and private spaces, shops, restaurants and cafés. Call 020 3701 7900.
Private rent, shared ownership and outright purchase are all available at the neighbouring Straford Halo development, while affordable “full ownership” is being promoted in Canning Town, part of Newham council’s “arc of opportunity” investment area, undergoing £3.7 billion of regeneration. In Hallsville Quarter, a new town centre next to Custom House DLR, Eddington Court, the first phase of 1,130 homes, has been unveiled. Flats and townhouses cost from £275,000. Call Knight Frank on 020 7718 5202.
A new affordable life in London
Straford Halo has 704 homes in five buildings including a 43-storey tower, and offers a gym, high-speed broadband, car club and concierge. Call 0800 954 1041.
Victoria Pindar, 28, moved there after renting in Islington, having realised she could get much more for her money in Stratford. She has been able to rent a brand-new two-bedroom tower apartment offering spectacular views across the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the city skyline, while spending less. Rents cost from £1,300 per month.
“I hope to buy here eventually,” says Victoria, who works in advertising for a West End-based publishing company. “Normally in London it’s hard to save and live the lifestyle, but here I can.”