London Home Show for first-time buyers: free advice on shared ownership, Rent to Save and Genie

The capital's top housing experts and financial advisers are coming together this weekend for the The London Home Show - the largest event of its kind for the capital's would-be first-time buyers.
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The London Home Show is the largest ever event dedicated to first-time buyers and promises to be packed with information on how to buy a starter home.

From shared-ownership developers to solicitors and credit experts, there will be first-rate free advice on hand. Mortgage brokers will also offer free one-on-one sessions to discuss finances and borrowing potential.

The average age of Londoners buying their first home is 37 and soaring rents mean that aspiring home owners have to save for eight years to be able to afford the average deposit for a starter home, according to data released by Post Office Money. So it's more vital than ever that those looking to get on to the property ladder do their research.

At Saturday's event, aspiring home owners can learn about new schemes, including A Home of Your Own, which allows buyers to purchase a share of homes on the open market (as opposed to only purpose-built shared-ownership homes) in certain boroughs; and Genie, which allows buyers to move into home ownership without a deposit or traditional mortgage - by making monthly payments to accrue shares in the property until they own it outright. 


These will be explained alongside more-established schemes such as Rent to Save, where aspiring buyers can rent at a lower than market rate to help them save for a deposit; shared equity, where first-timers can take out a loan for up to 95 per cent of the deposit, and pay this back alongside the mortgage, thereby owning the home entirely; and shared ownership, where buyers own a 25-75 per cent share of a home and pay rent on the remaining share.

"Shared ownership can give a big leg up to aspiring home owners, helping them get a toe on the ladder, offering much more security and often cheaper monthly outgoings than renting," says Hamptons International head of research, Johnny Morris.  

It considerably lowers the deposit required - a typical first-time buyer of a £250,000 home would need about £30,000 in deposit, stamp duty and fees. A buyer of a 35 per cent share in a £250,000 shared-ownership home would need roughly £12,000.

"However, the tenure is a big commitment - a slow second-hand market and restrictions on renting out your home mean that it can take a long time to sell your home, if you need to. Potential buyers should definitely be thinking about whether they want to live in the home and area for at least three to five years," says Morris.

A good benchmark for shared ownership is comparing it to the cost of renting. Morris advises: "When you’ve added up all the costs, such as mortgage, rent, service change and maintenance costs, are you paying less than you would be to rent the same home?  What would the difference be if your mortgage rate went up two per cent or three per cent?  If it does cost more than renting (which is rare) do you need the extra security?  Is it worth the extra to you?"

The London Home Show is taking place on Saturday September 26 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, between 10am - 5pm. It is a free event but you must register before the afternoon of Friday 25 September if you wish to attend.

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