Shared Ownership Week 2015

As anyone who lives in London knows, the housing market seems like it has reached breaking point.

More and more people are moving to our amazing capital and in need of quality homes. In turn increasing property values. It is often described as a crisis and it is easy to see why.

For those unwilling to leave the area they grew up in or even their favourite coffee shop, are looking into alternative home ownership options. An increasingly popular one is Shared Ownership. The part buy/part rent scheme allows Londoners to own a percentage of their home, with the option of staircasing (buying more) up to full ownership when and can they are able to afford it.

As great as it seems on paper I took the opportunity to find out more at a roundtable organised by leading Housing Association, L&Q. They have developed over 2,000 homes in London and the South East last year and house a total of around 125,000 people playing a sizeable role in the housing market. They’re also committed to increasing this development pipeline to 5,000 units a year by 2020.

L&Q has a number of very distinctive Shared Ownership sites in and around the capital. One of the newest is the centrally located Thurston Point in Lewisham the site for our roundtable. I was joined by a number of other London based bloggers of varying ages and experiences with the housing market as well as Andrea Palmer, one of L&Q’s Sales Manager. Chris Osburn (@TikiChris) and Lindsay Keith (@OpheliaBottom) who were both long-term homeowners. Myself, and Mariette Immaculate (@Mariettei) who fears she will never be able to afford to buy in the city she was born in. The mix of opinions and experiences made for a very interesting chat – search #LQSOWeek2015 to see some of the conversations.

Although I have jotted down a few of my shared ownership learnings below.

The average deposit for a mortgage is now a staggering £70,000, whereas a deposit (10% of a 30/35% share) for a Shared Ownership property could be as low as £5,000. This alone makes it a viable option, but my concern was for families trapped in small homes, desperate to jump up to a three bedroom property. L&Q appreciate this need though, and is set to deliver 120, three and four bedroom shared ownership properties across London this year.

Thurston Point itself was really impressive. Located in zone 2, properties there are priced from £88,750 for 25% share, the 42 apartments at Thurston Point are ideally situated just a short stroll from Lewisham Station. Another of their developments and something close to my heart, given I am currently based in Greenwich, is Greenwich Peninsula.

As one of London’s largest regeneration developments, the project will transform 190 acres of marshland to deliver 10,000 new homes as well as new cafes, restaurants and shopping units. One and two bedroom apartments are available there from £90,000 for a 25% share, full value £360,000.

L&Q really knew their stuff and even the youngest of us (@Mariettei) had a lot more hope in her house buying future by the time we left. I’ll also be looking into it as a potential option for my own house buying endeavours.

What do you think of the housing crisis and Shared Ownership as a potential solution? Join the conversation on Twitter at #LQSOWeek2015.

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