First Time Buyer: A strict savings plan and shared ownership helped Maddy buy her ideal home
Community / People

First Time Buyer: A strict savings plan and shared ownership helped Maddy buy her ideal home

Words: Andrea Dean
Published: Summer '19

WHEN Maddy Smith, 30, started looking for a place of her own, she found the perfect pad literally on her doorstep. Using Notting Hill Genesis’ shared ownership scheme, she purchased a one-bed apartment at Woodberry Down in north London, the development where she’d been living in a flat share for a couple of years.

‘I liked the area and was very keen on the development, but felt it was time to have my own space,’ she says. ‘I looked into renting a one-bedroom apartment, but it was actually going to be more expensive each month than buying through shared ownership, so it was a no-brainer. ‘I did some investigating, registered on the Share to Buy website, and paid a visit to the London Home Show. That’s where I met the representatives for Notting Hill Genesis, who outlined plans for shared ownership at Woodberry Down — and, already living there, I knew it would be perfect. I put my offer in on a Saturday and was lucky enough to be allocated the apartment I had chosen by Monday.’

QUOTE: Maddy Smith

Shared ownership is offered to people who would otherwise be priced out of the property market, allowing them to part buy and part rent — and with a much smaller deposit than is usually required. They take out a mortgage on the share they buy — as little as 25 per cent of the value, and which can be increased over time — while paying discounted rent to a housing association on the balance. Annual household income can’t exceed £90,000 in London, or £80,000 outside it.

Maddy, who works in the music industry, bought a 35 per cent share in a one-bed apartment, having saved hard for a ten per cent deposit. ‘I had put money into savings for quite a few years, and decided to be really strict with myself for a year so I could save the rest of the deposit I needed,’ she explains. ‘I sacrificed going out and holidays and every month I put money aside the day I was paid.

‘If I was gifted any for my birthday or at Christmas, I would put that away as well as any large sums I received through bonuses at work. Shared ownership is a great solution for people who want to move away from the renting trap. My monthly outgoings are only a fraction more than I was paying while renting, but now I have my own home and space.’

Only one two-bed shared ownership apartment is left at Woodberry Down, a large-scale housing scheme near Finsbury Park, priced £146,250 for a 25 per cent share of £585,000, and a new phase of one and two-beds will be released next year. Notting Hill Genesis has one-bed apartments similar to Maddy’s, plus two and three-beds, at New Garden Quarter in Stratford, close to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Featuring handle-less kitchens and stone worktops, they start from £101,875 for a 25 per cent share of £407,500,