First-time buyer urges 'try shared ownership'
FIRST-TIME buyer Claraine Walker wants to shout a big YES to
shared ownership after collecting the keys to her own part-buy,
part-rent home earlier this year.
Like a lot of younger people on lower incomes, 22-year-old
Claraine had just about given up hope of getting on to the property
ladder after many months of searching and frustrating knock-backs
from mortgage lenders.
Then she found out about HelpToBuy shared
ownership − and in February moved into her new home at
Cannock, Staffordshire, after buying a 50% share for around
£60,000. It's a cherished dream come true for Claraine, a
Moneymates Team Leader with Bromford Support, and she's already
saving hard to buy a bigger share.
Would she recommend the part-buy, part-rent route on to the
property ladder to other first-time buyers? "Yes, definitely,"
replies Claraine, pictured below, reeling off a list of advantages
LOWER deposits - in Claraine's case, about £6,000
SMALLER, more affordable, mortgage payments
OPTION to increase shares as and when she can afford it
INVESTMENT in the longer term for her money
SECURITY rather than "being at the mercy of a private
FREEDOM to decorate her own home as she wants to
And, last but not least: "I can still afford to go on holiday!"
Her light-hearted remark reflects the fact that so much time and
effort goes into making sure that each buyer's ownership share is
truly affordable − and, as Claraine and other first-time
buyers are pleasantly surprised to find out, the monthly housing
costs are typically cheaper than renting from a
"Shared ownership is definitely the most affordable way of
buying a house if you have a low income and can't afford the
deposit that lenders ask for on the open market," says Claraine,
who was promoted from Advisor to Team Leader with Bromford shortly
after moving into her new home and spends her working day helping
vulnerable customers to manage their financial affairs.
"Many of my friends − especially couples moving out of
their parents' home for the first time − go into renting as a
short-term solution, hoping it will give them time to save a bigger
deposit, but then find it too costly to do so.
"I always recommend that anyone like me should consider shared
ownership as the first option. It's quicker and easier to buy and
it can be cheaper on a monthly basis than renting from a private
landlord. I had rented before and wouldn't consider doing it again.
I was always waiting on the landlord, I couldn't decorate how I
wanted and it was so expensive I couldn't save. I decided not to
renew the lease and walked away with nothing to show for the money
I had paid in rent."
Claraine returned to live with her parents − still nurturing
the long-cherished dream of owning her own home.
"I'd been saving for a house since I was 18 and spent about a year
seriously looking looking to buy something. My biggest obstacle was
the fact that my salary alone wasn't enough to cover the mortgage
on an average-priced house and I started to believe that I would
never be able to do it alone," she recalls.
"After viewing tons of houses and visiting half a dozen
financial advisors I was left feeling so defeated that I virtually
gave up. Then one day − purely by coincidence − I was
driving past a new estate when it was holding an open day. I love
snooping around showhomes so I popped in and ended up walking away
with an application for shared ownership*. It was a real
Like a lot of young people, Claraine didn't know about shared
ownership until that moment. This lack of awareness has been in the
spotlight with a BBC online poll revealing last week that
three-quarters of 18 to 29-year-olds in the UK aren't aware of
part-buy housing schemes or don't know how they work and the wider
problem for first-time buyers highlighted by TV presenter Cherry
Healey in her BBC3 series Property Virgins.
"It's a real shame that more people don't know about shared
ownership and how it can help them to get on to the property ladder
at a price they can really afford," says Claraine. "My advice to
other first-time buyers is really simple: say yes to shared
ownership. Go on − give it a try. You've got nothing to lose
and everything to gain."
If you want to know more about Help To Buy shared
ownership, how it works and where we are building part-buy
homes, call us on 0845 60 10 878. You can also register for updates and follow us
on Twitter and on Facebook.
16 July 2013
* Claraine bought her shared ownership through a fellow provider
of affordable housing. We all operate under the same
goverment-backed Help To Buy umbrella aimed at helping first-time
buyers and other people who live in England and can't afford to buy
a home on the open market.